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Nintendo's mobile future unclear despite “tripled” revenue

In light of Nintendo's recent financial report release, the company's commitment to its mobile endeavors becomes clearer, though not without a level of complexity that adds uncertainty. While the financial picture appears positive at first glance, there are some important nuances that cast a shadow of doubt on the mobile landscape the Japanese giant is navigating.

At first glance, this quarter's figures present a strikingly optimistic outlook, showing a remarkable 190.1% year-on-year rise in overall sales within its mobile and intellectual property (IP) business, reaching ¥31.8 billion ($223 million). To provide context, during the same period in 2022, Nintendo had generated slightly less than ¥11 billion ($77 million).

Nevertheless, the key factor causing ambiguity in the mobile sales data is the category labeled "IP related income." This category encompasses royalties and external income originating from other Nintendo content. This implies that earnings from Nintendo LEGO and, more significantly, The Super Mario Bros. Movie are included in this classification. Given the global triumph of the Mario movie, it's plausible that it contributed a considerable portion of the ¥31.8 billion, making it challenging to definitively determine whether mobile revenues have genuinely surged over the past year.

Adding complexity, alterations in Mario Kart Tour, such as the removal of its primary earnings mechanism, the gacha system, raise questions about how earnings could have risen so substantially. Conversely, Nintendo's report highlights that the movie's success had a favorable impact on sales of Mario titles for the Switch console, suggesting a potential trickle-down effect on mobile games like Mario Kart Tour and Super Mario Run. The immense influence of the Mario franchise cannot be denied, as evidenced by the soaring success of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the highest-selling game for the Switch. The movie's kart-related segments could have facilitated cross-media promotion, thereby supporting the mobile game.

Interestingly, the most significant surge in sales was observed in The Americas during this quarter when considering the amalgamated mobile and IP data, surging nearly fivefold from roughly ¥5 billion ($35 million) in the 2022 period to approximately ¥25 billion ($175 million) in the latest quarter. In contrast, Japan and Europe experienced only marginal improvements in quarterly revenue.

Despite acknowledging mobile gaming as a marketing tool rather than a primary revenue generator, Nintendo's focus on dissecting revenue streams between mobile and the Mario movie might be excessive when speculating about the future of its mobile gaming ventures. This sentiment is upheld by the fact that Nintendo's most successful mobile game, Fire Emblem Heroes, has already surpassed $1 billion in earnings.

Source: Aaron Astle, Staff Writer at PocketGamer

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