Despite its initial reluctance to bring its properties to smartphones, Nintendo has been slowly expanding its reach into the mobile market. The company has a couple of new smartphone games on the way this year, including the recently announced Dr. Mario World. But while mobile games will remain a component of Nintendo’s business, it seems the company doesn’t want players to spend too much on them.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Nintendo has had its development partners adjust their mobile games so that players don’t spend an excessive amount of money in them. Like many other smartphone titles, most of Nintendo’s mobile offerings are free to download and feature optional in-app purchases, but WSJ reports that Nintendo is wary of being perceived as greedy for these microstransactions and potentially tarnishing its brand.
Nintendo’s most recent smartphone venture is Dragalia Lost, an action RPG co-developed by Granblue Fantasy studio Cygames. The game launched back in September and has proven to be a modest success, surpassing $75 million in revenue worldwide according to Sensor Tower. However, Cygames parent company CyberAgent has had to cut its earnings forecast–the first time it has done so in 17 years–because the title has underperformed.
Dragalia Lost features a gacha summoning system, through which players can acquire new characters and other items by exchanging in-game currency, which can most easily be obtained by spending real-world money. After the game’s release, however, players complained that it was too difficult to acquire rare characters, prompting Nintendo to approach CyberAgent to adjust the game.
While this philosophy is undoubtedly beneficial for consumers, it has affected the bottom line of Nintendo’s partners. “Nintendo is not interested in making a large amount of revenue from a single smartphone game,” WSJ quotes one CyberAgent official as saying. “If we managed the game alone, we would have made a lot more.”
Nintendo has two new smartphone games announced for this year. The aforementioned Dr. Mario World, which is co-developed by LINE, is slated to launch early this summer. Meanwhile, Nintendo’s mobile Mario Kart game, Mario Kart Tour, was originally scheduled to release in March but has now been delayed to summer.