Why is Nintendo's new mobile push for Mario such a big switch?



Nintendo offers many titles compatible with mobile devices, said Carl Livie, general manager at AppLovin, including Dr. Mario and Mario Kart. Dr. Mario fits the Candy Crush model as a puzzle game, while Mario Kart is perfect for the 5 to 10 minutes of play needed for a mobile gaming experience. Dr. Mario reflects the style of Candy Crush game, but he also brings the brand name and recognition of a video game legend, which will allow him to quickly gain a large audience, especially with women over 25 years old, said Livie. Once considered a peripheral population, women aged 25 to 65 catapulted Candy Crush for an income of more than $ 1 billion in 2018.

Nintendo has a strategic problem that some of its major competitors do not have: the console remains its financial engine, while huge technology companies have developed the game as one of many commercial efforts and that niche game developers do not do not count on the console to generate revenue. Microsoft and Epic have released game titles for console games, Minecraft and Fortnite, on mobile, with huge success, but van Dreunen said he did not think that popular Nintendo console titles, such as Legend of Zelda, would be on mobile in the next few years.

The competition for control of the gaming platform of choice continues to grow. Netflix and Hulu have already changed the role of mobile devices in streaming content by allowing users to stop watching a movie or show on their home TV, mobile device and laptop. The game is going through a similar evolution. Microsoft's new xCloud will allow users to play Xbox games on Android phones, and Stadia, Google's new Google-based streaming game service, has the same goal. Apple launches Arcade, a gaming subscription service for personal, mobile and in-lounge PCs. Amazon is also at work on a streaming service.

Adam Bankhurst, editor for IGN, a publication in the video game industry, said part of Nintendo's strategy is to offer companion games for mobile devices that can be paired with consoles. Bankhurst believes this is both an opportunity to prepare development teams to potentially transfer their more complex titles to a mobile and create a seamless gaming experience that allows players to unlock characters and missions only from mobile gaming Bankhurst cites the example of Nintendo's Animal Crossing and suggests seeing a Dr. Mario console game coming out soon with similar features.

"While cloud computing makes it possible to play more and more advanced mobile games, the opportunity for Nintendo to add more complex titles to mobile is increasing, but competition is also increasing in the gaming sector. on mobile. "

Guilherme Fernandes, an analyst at Newzoo, said that the partnership between LINE and Nintendo to co-develop Dr. Mario and other projects "clearly indicates the company's strategy for mobile telephony for the future" .

The question for Nintendo in the future is what part of its IP address is ready to put on the mobile and what success can we hope.

"Nintendo may be slow to play, but when they get there … they will kill him," said van Dreunen.

By Christopher Chutko, special for CNBC.com


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