Back when it became apparent that smartphones were going to be the next big thing in the consumer electronics industry, a lot of existing developers of console and PC games decided to give mobile platforms a chance. However, Nintendo was not one of them. Given how a large part of the company's revenue was generated by its portable gaming division, it wasn't surprising that Nintendo wasn't keen on developing mobile games. Back then, the Japanese entertainment firm firmly believed smartphones and tablets were competing with handheld consoles. However, as of this year, Nintendo finally gave in by releasing Miitomo and Pokemon GO, both to much success and critical acclaim. In fact, the Kyoto-based company is now so confident about its prospects in mobile that it even decided to launch Super Mario Run, a casual auto-runner with a premium price tag.
So, what prompted this radical strategy change? That was the main talking point of an interview Engadget recently ran with Reggie Fils-Aime, the President of Nintendo of America. For starters, Fils-Aime stated that the mobile games market finally became mainstream in the last few years, particularly in territories like Europe and South America where Nintendo's console business doesn't have a huge market presence. Because of that, the company decided to change along with the market and seize this newly presented opportunity. Nintendo's executive explained how certain markets like Brazil have incredibly high import taxes which make traditional console gaming extremely expensive for consumers. However, there are no such limitations on mobile games. This situation prompted Nintendo to capitalize on its popular IPs like Pokemon, Mario, Fire Emblem, and Animal Crossing, all of which will be available on smartphones and tablets by March.
Furthermore, Fils-Aime explained that in the past, Nintendo was worried about devaluing its franchises with mobile games, but today, the company is confident that it can craft unique experiences perfectly suited for mobile platforms. In addition to that, the Kyoto-based company now decided to promote its console business using mobile platforms, especially after seeing how Pokemon GO boosted sales of Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon, two recently released 3DS exclusives. However, Nintendo now opted for a different approach to consoles as the firm is looking to unite portable and console gaming with its upcoming Nintendo Switch. Fils-Aime concluded that mobile titles will help sell Switch because both offer the same IPs but radically different experiences, both of which Nintendo believes consumers will be willing to pay for.