‘Tis that time again, when Nintendo makes an announcement and wild speculation begins and absurdity unfurls. While Nintendo themselves have revealed only a little of their plans, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to infer what will most likely come of Nintendo’s new partnership with DeNA (pronounced D.N.A) to make mobile games.

The Facts

Before delving further into this article, lets get some quick facts on the partnership with DeNA:

  • Both DeNA and Nintendo will buy 10% of each other’s shares
  • Games will be joint ventures
  • All of Nintendo IP’s will be up for grabs
  • Only new games will made for phones, no ports
  • One of DeNA’s strengths is creating infrastructure for games and commerce
  • Mobile Games and other Nintendo platforms will be linked by some system

Stages of Commitment

Using the facts stated above, my theory of what Nintendo is trying to do is to create an entry way into Nintendo platforms by providing games to the mobile market. Right now, for you to enjoy Nintendo games, you must own a Nintendo platform.  The problem arises when trying to get those who never grew up or owned a Nintendo platform to purchase one. Those of us who own Nintendo hardware now, were exposed to it on some level before. The NES was literally the revival of the game industry, everyone had one and everyone who played games played an NES. This is no longer the case; phones dominate the current day entry-game experience, so for Nintendo to get people interested in the rest of their products they need an entry point.

This is where phone games come in, to give you a taste of what Nintendo can offer. After playing Mario Bros. Android and having a good time, why wouldn’t you want to play Super Mario 3D Land on a 3DS and eventually 3D World on Wii U? By making sure to not offer direct ports, this allows Nintendo to create a reason to purchase its consoles and become part of their ecosystem.

Their breakdown of products and ecosystem would look something like this currently:

      Entry Commitment———–>Medium Commitment———–>Full Commitment

Android              3dswiiu


The two final bullet points I listed earlier shows that the existence of these platforms will be about more than simply games or IP’s; it shows they will be linked together through some account system. This would explain the removal of Club Nintendo; it simply wouldn’t be compatible with any type of in/cross game reward system that Nintendo seems to be going for now. By not only providing a taste on the entry level commitment but also creating a reward system that benefits those on all levels, further incentive is created from those on all levels to play or purchase any of the other products.

Say, for example, that you play Super Mario Android.  Upon completing the game, you are given an achievement flagging your account for completing the game. You go play Super Mario 3D Land and a new level is available (perhaps a re-creation of the other version’s level) for completing Super Mario Android. You can see how this would be appealing; not only do you get to enjoy the game, but there is further incentive for you to commit further with Nintendo consoles through content. This is really just an extension of what Amiibo’s do now, just done on an account level across multiple platforms… just like Amiibo’s. Not only could content be unlockable through this new system, but (much like Club Nintendo did) it could provide rewards, such as unlocking games or exclusive items only available to members who earn enough points(coins).

If this is indeed Nintendo’s strategy, the new goal here is to get you into the Nintendo ecosystem, and keep you there by offering more content and bonuses the further you delve in. The difference now would simply be that both Nintendo consoles and smart phones would now be linked through the different games they offer, but the rewards would effect everything you own or play. Not only would you get a taste of what Nintendo can offer, but you would get additional benefits beyond those that come with just owning their products. The bonuses provided in this system can be endless, from special levels in Mario, unique Pokemon, new skins, new weapons, new characters, etc; the list can just go on and on spreading from one level of the ecosystem to the other.