Nintendo is doing something radically new and out of character: it is responding swiftly to trends. The Japanese gaming giant, notorious for its snail-paced reaction times, has just announced a slight change in its mobile game schedule. Perhaps seeing more profits to be made in somewhat more popular franchises, Nintendo is delaying the launch of the mobile version of its Animal Crossing game. Though disappointing, it’s for a good cause, as it will be focusing its resources on the Android launch of Super Mario Run in March and, more importantly, the launch of the Fire Emblem Heroes mobile game on Thursday.
Nintendo has long had a rough schedule of what mobile games it plans to release and when, though nothing has really been set in stone. It named an Animal Crossing port and a Fire Emblem title as its next games following the somewhat lukewarm reception of Miitomo in the West. However, by September, it pushed back the dates for those titles from 2016 to early 2017 to make way for the unexpected Super Mario Run.
Super Mario Run ended up quite a hit, despite the criticisms of its pricing scheme. It seems that some gamers didn’t mind anyway, as it net Nintendo $53 million, around 5% of the games 78 million downloads. It’s peanuts, of course, compared to heavy hitters in the mobile gaming scene, but still better than what many make.
And so for the next few months, it seems that Nintendo will be putting its all into more popular franchises. Super Mario Run has yet to launch on Android, which will happen in March. But even before that, Nintendo will be bringing a Fire Emblem title to mobile in the form of Fire Emblem Heroes. Like Mario Run, this mostly strategy game will be “free to start” but with more traditional in-game perks similar to many mobile games.
It’s not that Animal Crossing isn’t a popular title, but it’s relatively young compared to Mario or Fire Emblem. Its simulation-type gameplay might actually make it more suited for mobile gameplay, but Nintendo doesn’t seem to be too keen on banking on that. It isn’t delaying the game indefinitely, though, and promises to finally launch it at the start of its next fiscal year, which begins April this year.
SOURCE: Nintendo (PDF)