Nintendo seems unconcerned by its declining mobile profits, with the company recently going on record to state that its mobile games aren't meant to make money in the first place. The Japanese gaming giant shared its comments on the matter shortly after shutting down Dragalia Lost in late November, which was the third mobile game that it discontinued in the last four years.
Nintendo spent years resisting the allure of mobile development before Miitomo and Super Mario Run finally marked its first forays into the segment in 2016, following significant pressure from investors. Its track record with smartphone and tablet games has been somewhat hit-and-miss, at least relative to the company's mass-appeal standards. The size of its mobile catalog has also been stagnating since 2018, since Nintendo shut down as many mobile games as it launched.
And while Nintendo's mobile business has even become less profitable over the course of this year in spite of continuing its modest turnover growth, the Japanese conglomerate has now waved away these concerns. In a recent statement provided to Axios, Nintendo said that its mobile games still primarily exist as marketing tools, whereas their revenue-generating potential is just an added bonus. The company consequently measures the success of its mobile games by their global outreach and not the amount of money they made. Doubly so in countries where the Switch isn't officially available, as the idea is to use Android and iOS titles to familiarize potential customers with Nintendo's core intellectual properties, a company spokesperson said.
Nintendo talked about the promotional potential of mobile games in the past, but this is the first occasion on which the company suggested that its Android and iOS projects prioritize maximizing marketing over monetary value. What's more, the newly discontinued Dragalia Lost doesn't seem to adhere to its stated strategy, seeing how that title was an original IP that never made its way to the Switch. And though the 2020 allegations that Nintendo is done with making mobile games turned out to be incorrect following the 2021 release of Pikmin Bloom, the company's overall prospects in the segment remain unclear.
On the other hand, with nearly $2 billion in mobile revenues since 2016, Nintendo's efforts are still way ahead of those from its main rivals, as neither Microsoft nor Sony have given original mobile games much thought until recently. Xbox Game Studios hasn't yet gone beyond experimenting with some casual releases like Microsoft Solitaire and Wordament, while Sony announced its first serious foray into mobile development just several months back, following its acquisition of Germany-based Savage Game Studios.
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