The Most Exciting Thing Nintendo is Doing Fits in Your Phone

By Alex Cranz on at

If you’re a working on an Animal Crossing rip off or a Fire Emblem clone, it is time to pack it in and give it up. You’re going to fail. Nintendo is finally dipping its toes into the iOS and Android app market and your two-person operation in Round Rock can’t compete.

Nintendo Chief Executive Tatsumi Kimishima held a news conference in Osaka earlier today to announce the release date for the Nintendo NX, the company’s next generation gaming console. It’s the follow-up to the largely unsuccessful Wii U, and will supposedly pose a challenge to the 4K console upgrades rumoured to be coming from Sony and Microsoft later this year.

There were no real details about the NX apart from the release date of March 2017.

But who cares? The real news isn’t the NX or the slow decline of Nintendo’s profits (the company hasn’t been raking it in since the original Wii). What’s really exciting is the games coming to a smartphone near you.

Nintendo has notoriously rankled in the past when people noted that iOS gaming was seriously cutting into its stranglehold on the mobile games market. Nintendo’s owned that area since the original Game Boy came out back in 1989, and it has laughed off suggestions that a stupid phone could ever compete with a system designed for gaming from the ground up.

But Nintendo has been softening its stance on iPhone gaming this year. It began a few weeks ago with the stupidly successful release of Miitomo for iPhone. The social networking app, which allows you to design a Mii avatar, has already been downloaded 10 million times since it was released in March.

Now Nintendo’s releasing Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem games for smartphones. The former is Farmville before Farmville destroyed your Facebook feed, and it’s great fun. The latter is a strategy game that’s already perfectly designed for the touch-only requirements of a smartphone. Both lend themselves well to the micro-transaction business model dominating the smartphone gaming landscape.

The games are expected to land in iOS and Android app stores between October and December of this year. Nintendo has not said if these will be remakes of current games, or whole new games specifically designed for mobile phones.

I could honestly care less what version of Fire Emblem I’m getting. I’m just stoked I can start leaving my Game Boy Advance at home. Now how long until I’m stuffing Mario and Zelda into my pocket? [Wall Street Journal]