Nintendo confirms free to play mobile game strategy

NintendoNintendo has steered clear of the smartphone market for years, keeping its immensely valuable IPs for its own range of standalone handheld gaming systems. But now the Japanese powerhouse, responsible for franchises such as Mario and Zelda, is going to start making mobile games, all of which will be based on the free-to-play business model in the short term.

This is according to the Wall Street Journal, which reports that one of Nintendo’s mobile development partners has said that free-to-play is the route which is going to be taken. And this fact is likely to be controversial amongst fans, since while the games will be free to download and use, micropayments may be required to make the most of all the features on offer, potentially leading to high costs for gamers.

Nintendo does already have one mobile game on the market – a Candy Crush clone called Pokemon Shuffle. And while it is free-to-play with in-app purchases available, it has been designed in such a way that regular reminders that payments are optional pop up to keep players happy.

There is little doubt that a version of classic Mario titles appearing officially on the iPhone 6s would make untold millions for Nintendo, but the free-to-play approach may make some users cautious.