Nintendo wants you to spend less...
In the grand scheme of the company, Nintendo's decision to publish mobile games is really quite recent. It was only in 2015 that the late Nintendo president announced a partnership with DeNA to pursue mobile development, finally calming the clamor from investors who were looking to see Nintendo explore new revenue streams. There are aspects of the mobile market that Nintendo is still not comfortable with, however, and they seem to be telling their partners to hold their horses on likely money-makers.
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Nintendo has prevented partners from going too far with certain revenue models to prevent players from spending too much on their games. Nintendo's chief concern appears to be maintaining brand image and worrying that pursuing whales, a popular term for players that spend exponentially more money than most users, will make Nintendo look craven rather than their normal family-friendly reputation.
In the report, CyberAgent Inc., parent company of CyGames which co-developed Dragalia Lost with Nintendo, confirmed that Nintendo has been preventing them from using tactics they know will make more money.
"Nintendo is not interested in making a large amount of revenue from a single smartphone game," a CyberAgent official told WSJ. "If we managed the game alone, we would have made a lot more." The official also confirmed that Dragalia Lost is performing under expectations in revenue per player, adding that Nintendo asked the company to alter in-game lotteries in response to players complaining it was too difficult to unlock rare characters.
Nintendo themselves have indicated that most of their smart phone offerings are not performing well on their own. Shigeru Miyamoto admitted that the fixed-cost model for Super Mario Run did not produce what they would call a success, but cautioned even then to avoid exploitative pricing models at all costs.
Similarly, or perhaps conversely, Nintendo has seen quite a bit of success with the gacha-like Fire Emblem Heroes, which seems to be their biggest mobile success story. Their next mobile game, Mario Kart Tour, has been delayed into the summer. Nintendo hasn't detailed the monetization model for that game yet, but they have referred to it as "Free to Start," which aligns with Super Mario Run's model.
[Source: Wall Street Journal]