Nintendo's New iOS 'Game' Performs Well In Japanese App Store


Miitomo, a free messaging-based application, reached No. 1 among social-networking apps in Japan on Apple Inc.’s iOS devices on the day of its release, market researcher App Annie said on Friday. Line, the country’s most popular instant messenger, fell to second place.

Nintendo is seeking to bring back players who migrated away from games on company’s dedicated hardware, such as the Wii and handheld DS devices.

I really couldn’t care less about Nintendo’s social networking app but I hope its success in the App Store means the company will dedicate more resources to mobile going forward. Quality games with top-tier IP (Mario, Pokemon) and Nintendo would easily become one of the biggest game publishers for iOS. I also have little resignation in believing that Apple would willingly help Nintendo establish itself as an iPhone and iPad game maker.

For all the talk about the App Store being unsustainable, the iOS games industry is big, big, business. Nintendo expects profits to top $300 million for the year. A handful of top iOS games make that same money in one month. Nintendo could do well with any pricing model. If it decides to employ a freemium model on these titles to maximise income, then so be it. I’d rather the company follow a somewhat-slimy business path than experience a principled demise. I think Pokemon is the obvious choice to translate to a freemium monetisation scheme. There are so many elements of a Pokemon game that could include real-money purchases (even if it would upset purist gamers, myself included). That becomes the company’s new cash cow.

In regards to their console efforts, I would drop the handheld line. The dedicated TV games console market is still penetrable. Nintendo can keep making hardware there, if you want, for a few years at least. Cede the mobile hardware to smartphones and tablets.