Nintendo Reconsidering Gaming Android Smartphone Plans: Report

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Nintendo is reconsidering its decision not to become a smartphone vendor and attempt capitalizing on the still-growing potential of the mobile gaming market, industry sources close to Taiwanese electronics components suppliers claim.

The Japanese entertainment giant has been reluctant to embrace contemporary handset platforms in the past and was relatively late to that segment compared to its rivals such as Sony, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and Ubisoft. The considerable strength of its franchises still ensured the firm managed to grab a sizeable portion of the Android and iOS gaming pie, especially after it hit gold with Pokemon GO commissioned to San Francisco developer Niantic Labs which released it in 2016.

While it didn't come close to repeating that success ever since, virtually every single mobile game it released over the following two years turned a profit, and some proved to be quite reliable money-makers in their own right, with Fire Emblem: Heroes being the obvious example. Super Mario Run and its premium business model did worse for Nintendo than its free-to-play projects, yet "worse" in this context is still a dream for the vast majority of other mobile game developers on the planet.

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Razer's case illustrates how caution is required

Besides Nintendo, Nubia, Vivo, and Xiaomi will be strenghtening their presence in the Android gaming niche in the near future, according to today's report. Regarding Xiaomi, it's presently unclear whether the company is working on such a gadget under the umbrella of its main brand but its subsidiary just announced the Black Shark 2 several hours back.

Nubia also followed up on its aggressively designed Red Magic phablet just several weeks back with the Red Magic Mars, a device that features a similar in-your-face design and is unapologetically flashy.

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Vivo remains the biggest mystery out of the mentioned Chinese trio; its newly established brand iQOO launched an eponymous Android smartphone earlier this month but only did so in its home country, and while recent reports indicate the value-oriented handset is meant to be released in India by May, it's presently unclear whether Vivo will attempt pitting it against its peers in other parts of the world as well.

Finally, on the other side of the globe is Razer that was recently on the verge of whether to pull the plug on the Razer Phone 3 but ultimately decided to do so, Taiwanese insiders claim. The handset may debut a small change in the American company's naming scheme by dropping the "Phone" part of its predecessors' moniker and launch simply as the Razer 3. Despite significant investments, Razer failed to make massive inroads in the mobile gaming segment, raising questions about the market's maturity and serving as an example of why Nintendo must proceed with caution.

Weak activity, albeit on numerous fronts

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As the same time, the Japanese company appears to be somewhat involved in Google's game-streaming project expected to be announced tomorrow at GDC as Chrome was updated with support for Switch's Joy-Cons last week, seemingly at random. In terms of actual mobile projects, Nintendo's only remaining confirmed release is presently struggling to make it to the finish line as the company recently confirmed Mario Kart Tour's Q1 2019 launch window was moved to later in the year.

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Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]

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