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Nintendo says it will bring two popular franchises to mobile

Key Nintendo franchises will become mobile apps as the company tries to expand its audience.


Dennis Scimeca

Internet Culture

Published Apr 27, 2016   Updated May 26, 2021, 9:22 pm CDT

Nintendo lives or dies by exclusive franchises running on its unique hardware, but in the face of an evolving casual gamer demographic, the company is changing how it does business.

Nintendo announced on Wednesday that Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing are coming to mobile platforms this fall. The Fire Emblem app will “offer the great value of a role-playing strategy game,” the company said, while the Animal Crossing app will “be connected with the world of Animal Crossing for dedicated gaming systems,” which strongly suggests a second-screen experience.

“Both of these are pure game applications,” Nintendo said in its announcement. “Compared to Miitomo, they have more prominent game elements, and the game content will tie closely into Nintendo’s dedicated games business.

Miitomo is Nintendo’s mobile social app, released in Japan on Mar. 17 and in the United States on Mar. 31. The company also said Wednesday that Miitomo had attracted 10 million unique users worldwide, and it unveiled a 10-day promotion for Miitomo, from April 29 to May 8, to celebrate the milestone.

Nintendo’s announcement about its new mobile plans followed a flood of other major game news on Wednesday, including the delay of the new Legend of Zelda game until 2017 and the release date for its new console, code-named NX.

Nintendo has historically been wary about expanding into the mobile industry. Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata expressed concerns in March 2015 about the idea of creating mobile versions of previously released games, stressing that any move by Nintendo to branch out into mobile would be designed to draw new people to its traditional platforms.

Tapping franchises like Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing for new mobile apps reflects the company’s strategy of leveraging its unique intellectual property, which Iwata also mentioned in March 2015.

Nintendo’s move to mobile is something the company’s investors have been repeatedly clamoring for in the face of year-after-year losses. Nintendo said Wednesday that its Fiscal Year 2015 financial report showed a 60.6 percent drop in earnings from FY 2014. Investors are no doubt hoping that its expanded mobile offerings will provide an earnings boost.

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*First Published: Apr 27, 2016, 12:55 pm CDT