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Nintendo won’t milk kids for mobile money

2 min read

Young whale

Nintendo is entering the mobile space. While they need to make money and thrive, Satoru Iwata doesn’t like the model of finding a whale. Rather than turn into a modern day Ahab, he wants to reach a wide range of people on mobile, and get everyone involved and excited. While I don’t know how well it will work, his words make me incredibly happy.

Following Nintendo’s earning call, Iwata-san made some comments during a Q&A with investors about the company’s plans.

As we at Nintendo aim to reach all consumers around the world, we have no intention to analyze and follow successful examples in the Japanese smart device market. My understanding of how to succeed in the Japanese market now is to find a limited number of generous consumers who are willing to spend a lot and analyze what encourages them to spend. However, if we did that, I don’t think that we would be able to entertain hundreds of millions of consumers all around the world or to produce large and long-lasting achievements.
[…] We have had various discussions internally, I have challenged the developers with this issue and they have had many active discussions on the topic. We already have some specific ideas and will announce them in due course. Above all, as Nintendo is a family brand, we do not intend on changing the situation where parents and guardians can give Nintendo products to their children with peace of mind. In that sense, we want to pay very close attention to how we receive money.

Nintendo is trusted as a family-friendly brand and fills that space in the market. While gaming has grown up and is an awesome activity for millions of adults, products also need to be created for the next generation of gamers. On mobile, too many children fall into the trap of micro transactions, leading to tons of family dramas. Nintendo’s ethos makes me much happier and will be a big relief for parents. Don’t worry about your little ones buying extra lives for Mario with real money – Iwata-san is promising a model that won’t milk your kids for cash, but will still offer all of us fun mobile experiences.

I really hope that they find some kind of new model. The current ones are so dependent on whales and cause so much despair for the people who fall victim to them. Perhaps Nintendo can lead us in a new and wonderful mobile direction.

Last Updated: May 15, 2015

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