Nintendo On Mobiles: Don’t Alarm Yourself

This morning included a blast of news about Nintendo’s future. Tons of surprise announcements were made, but out of all of them, the most surprising was that Nintendo IPs were heading to mobile platforms. Some were happy because they feel it’s time to see old Nintendo games on mobile platforms, while others believe it could be the end of Nintendo as a hardware company like SEGA before them.

No need to fear however, it was confirmed that only new games would be made for mobile devices and a new hardware console was announced in order to confirm Nintendo won’t be leaving that market. Still, this was a big surprise for everyone but it seems everyone is forgetting one small fact: this has actually happened before.

ps all starts island
Ads on an ad… Interesting…

Nintendo moving to mobile can be compared with Sony’s mobile games in the market (not to be confused with PlayStation Mobile, an online store for Sony’s phones and the PS Vita). For example, there is PlayStation® All-Stars Island, a game released in 2013 that included many of Sony’s IP such as Uncharted, inFamous, Gravity Rush and Little Big Planet. The game was designed to be a promotional game for both Sony’s franchises and Coke Zero.

Ratchet and Clank: Before the Nexus is another example (but this time with microtransactions), which offered a temple-run experience on rails that allowed players to win a bonus for the PS3 title Ratchet & Clank: Nexus. It both promoted the game and gave the owners more fun on the go.

Little Big Planet also had a free to play game with micro transtracions: Run Sackboy! Run!, an endless 2D platformer where you controlled Sackboy. It doesn’t feature connectivity like the previous game, but it was a good way to promote LittleBigPlanet 3. Before PlayStation®Vita Pets was released, a promotional game was launched which was called PlayStation®Vita Pets: Puppy Parlor, which included a few mini-games and the option to dress your pets. With just the title alone, you’ll notice it is promoting the game and the console.

Another important one is Fat Princess: Piece of Cake; despite it being a generic turn-based match 3 game, it was a great way to promote the PlayStation 3.  Reaching a certain level would give you a free copy of Fat Princess for the console. The last one I will mention is KNACK’s Quest, another match-3 game for mobile that had interaction with the retail game as well, promoting the PlayStation 4 and the launch title KNACK.

A free PS3 game by playing? I will take that...
A free PS3 game just for playing? I will take that…

There are a few more games that Sony made to promote their games, but they also made apps, something that Nintendo will work on too. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Related to the Grand Turismo franchise, Beyond the Apex offered a digital version of a booklet that was only available in the limited edition of Gran Turismo 6 (in Japan and Asia) plus an encyclopedia including over 1200 cars that were on the game. BEYOND: Two Souls also featured its own app, BEYOND Touch, which allows you to play the game using touch controls instead of the normal controller.

SingStar™ Mic, allowed the player to use their phone as a playlist and a microphone for their PS3 and PS4 game SingStar, thus being a handy application for those without a microphone accessory. Lastly, there is the PlayStation®App. This app allows players to interact with their PlayStation 4 through the PlayStation Network account, allowing them to buy games and DLC with their account, download content straight to their consoles, as well as chat with friends and other social activities. It also gave access to the system manual and the official blog, winding up as a really useful app for any console’s owner.

So what about this new Nintendo “platform”?

Well, it’s hard to compare it to anything right now. It could be the successor to Club Nintendo and probably Nintendo Network too; after all they have the intention of creating a a new membership program (possibly like Sony’s PlayStation Plus). An account unification is likely, where it won’t be limited to this generation’s consoles (the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U) but also for the next ones (Nintendo NX, the first confirmed next generation console, for example) and other devices, like PC, smartphones and tablets. Remember there is also the Quality of Life project that should be announced either this year or next; a simple idea could be using our phone as a pedometer and then it would become a bonus on a console game.

Only time will tell what we should expect, but remember, Nintendo will continue to create new consoles for the foreseeable future, and with that, more console games. Don’t expect a new SEGA situation just yet; Nintendo is here to stay – they’re just branching out a bit.

Eric Weichhart
When it comes to gaming, I don't choose a side nor the budget, but how much fun I will get from playing.