Nintendo dropped a big bomb last week with the announcement to open up for iPhone and other smartphones.
The stock of the struggling video game pioneer soared last week as much as 36% after a simple announcement. Nintendo announced to adjust to the development of smartphone and tablets as the primary gaming platform. Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong can finally be played by fans on the iPhone and other smart devices this fall.
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While the market seems to be initially believing in the decision of Nintendo to enter the smart devices platform there are voices of concern that Nintendo will not be able to compete with the current mobile game bestsellers like Candy Crush and Game of War.
Here is why Nintendo will succeed and make a dramatic return. The so called 'Nintendo Generation' and their children will be all over Nintendo smartphone games. Parents who are born in the 80s and 90s have been addicted to Nintendo games. Today they will for the most part not own a Nintendo 3DS. Their kids might, but as with my kids they mostly play on the iPhone and iPad.
The interesting thing is that Nintendo's characters have an intense attraction for kids even today. I can see that every weekend in my home. My 6-year-old loves to play the Super Mario Bros. game on an old Wii. The one hour of Super Mario playing is much more engaging than any of the games he plays on the iPhone including all Lego franchises like Ninja Go and Lego Chima. We actually play the game together. I am a bit older than the Nintendo Generation, but Super Mario Bros. is also fun and challenging for adults.
My son has a high churn rate on games he plays on the iPhone that is why I keep for the most part to free games. Only when I see some long term value I allow an in-App purchase of another level.
Knowing how much he likes Mario, I will be rather easily pushing into a subscription for the announced Nintendo multi-device membership service. A membership service is a huge hurdle for me and it will be for others, but the popularity and the affinity of kids with Nintendo's characters is going to push parents over the edge.
The planned online service will also include existing Nintendo devices in your household. The Nintendo smartphone games will be newly developed and are not ports of existing Wii U or 3DS games. Which likely means that owners of current Nintendo games will not get discounts. The pricing model for the Nintendo mobile games will be important. The company could have a lot of success with higher game prices and avoiding the in-app purchase model that is very problematic for parents and their small kids.
I would consider paying up to $20 for an reasonable in-depth Super Mario game for the iPhone.
The launch of the Nintendo smartphone games will come this fall.
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