Nintendo is set to introduce iOS and Android versions of its Animal Crossing game in November, its fourth gaming app, as it seeks to boost its mobile business.
Previously it launched Miitomo, Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes but in 2016 Nintendo’s earnings from these apps was modest: they contributed JPY20 billion ($176 million) to total revenue of JPY489 billion.
In February 2017 Tatsumi Kimishima, president of Nintendo, admitted the number of consumers who purchased the full version of Super Mario Run, priced $9.99, had grown “relatively slowly compared to the overall growth in downloads”.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) quoted Macquarie Capital Securities analyst David Gibson as saying Animal Crossing would “earn JPY18.8 billion by March next year and JPY48 billion between April 2018 and March 2019”.
This could be partly due to the fact life-simulation games are suited to the smartphone interface.
The mobile version of the game, first introduced in 2001, is called Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and will enable players to build campgrounds. The game was first mentioned by Nintendo in April 2016. The WSJ report said developers apparently had to remake the game from scratch to ensure quality, which may have led to delays. Previous reports suggest the delay was so the company could focus on Fire Emblem Heroes and Super Mario Run.
Developers reportedly also had to prepare several limited-time events within the app to maintain user engagement, something which was lacking in Fire Emblem Heroes.
The company previously said it plans to release two or three mobile games every year: WSJ said it may be working on its role-playing game franchises, including The Legend of Zelda for smartphones.