If any of you grew up in the ’90s, or any time when mobile video games were being created, for that matter, then you’re certainly ware of the fact that Nintendo, simply put, owns the mobile gaming industry. And when I say “mobile” I mean “handheld.”
All of the Pokémon games speak to their handheld prowess, and they’ve had great success with a plethora of mobile titles, because they’re really damn good at creating content for the gamer on the go. So, when Nintendo released Super Mario Run on iOS and Android there was only one thing that crossed my mind; when will they release a mobile Zelda title?
“The people familiar with the matter said the Animal Crossing smartphone app is likely to be released in the latter half of 2017, and The Legend of Zelda would follow that, although they cautioned that the timing and order of the releases could be changed,” the WSJ reports. “Nintendo is developing the games with Tokyo-based DeNA Co.”
If there’s anything that Nintendo does extremely well it’s ensuring that their flagship properties survive and thrive in an ever-evolving gaming climate. So, whether this game, if it actually sees the light of day, will be free to play or a premium game like Super Mario Run remains to be seen. But it really seems like Nintendo are aiming to dominate mobile gaming and rightfully so. In Q1 of 2017 alone, mobile game revenue grew 53% to $11.7 billion. However, the viral launches of Pokémon Go and Super Mario “showed signs of decline” in Q1.
It should be mentioned, though, that NIntendo’s second mobile game, Fire Emblem Heroes, made the top 10 for revenue on Google Play with $2.9 million brought in on the first day of its worldwide release. Sure, 75% of its overall revenue in Q1 came from Japan, but that figure is nothing to scoff at. In fact, despite having a fewer number of downloads, the Fire Emblem title brought in more profit than Super Mario Run.
Now, let’s imagine for a hot second how mobile gamers around the world would react to a Zelda title…
Pandemonium is the word you’re looking for, isn’t it? Alright, maybe not pandemonium, but fans are in full Zelda swing with Breath of the Wild and the fanbase is extremely loyal, so Zelda on a smartphone would be a massive draw. Plus, it wouldn’t be something that Niantic puts together, so they’d be taking in full revenue instead of the fraction they currently get from Pokémon Go.