Most of us by now are acutely aware of the smashing success that is "Pokémon GO," but what many are not truly aware of is what this success means for Nintendo.
The global domination of "Pokemon Go" to me means simply that Nintendo has just begun "show us its hand" and prove its relevancy to us once again with a franchise, Pokémon, that most of my contemporaries and I had long since abandoned or become disenchanted with. Much to our surprise and delight it has seemingly shot straight back to the fore-front of our consciousness overnight, with a well placed gambit by Nintendo and Niantic. They have done this so far with original 151 Pokémon, or the "Kanto" region, which a number of GO-ers may even be too young to remember as their debut. Although Pikachu will always be the poster-mon for the franchise.
My consoles are dusty, my shins are achy, and yet I have the insatiable urge to keep forging on and hunting more Pokémon. I have made a dozen trips this week alone for hunting purposes, now hunting some of the rarer and more obscure Pokémon, which has been made more difficult due to a recent shift of Pokémon spawning patterns. Nest swapping if you will.
What this success signals to me is that somewhere deep in the sub-conscious mind of gamers, and some non-gamers, lay dormant a deep affinity or connection to Nintendo and its respected franchises. With a throwback to the future we are reliving our childhoods with the technologies of adulthood, while some are still living their childhoods and commit these experiences to memory. Nintendo stands to make an immense amount of money on the monetization of its past franchises with the current mobile technologies. Can you imagine an augmented reality game based on Super Mario Bros. wandering about an "AR" version of the Mushroom Kingdom, or a side-scrolling platformer requiring the user to search real life locations for portals to new and unexplored worlds within the Mario Universe while collecting power-ups and coins based on your GPS location?
Side-stepping the implications of a new Mario mobile game, the possibilities are still endless. What about Link: The Legend of Zelda, with a mobile incarnation or possibly a mobile/console hybrid game? Lest we not forget Donkey Kong, Kirby, Starfox, Metroid and Animal Crossing, the latter would most certainly make for an amazing augmented reality mobile game building and traversing your own town/city with an Animal Crossing version mirroring on your mobile screen. You're welcome for the idea Nintendo, you can send the check to my PayPal.
Notoriously hesitant to enter the mobile gaming market, Nintendo broke out of the mold at the urgency of Seth Fischer, the Chief Investment Officer of Oasis a Hong Kong investment firm giant, by way of a letter to the late Satoru Iwata in 2014 he urged Nintendo with a multiple stepped approach and meticulously projected gross revenue figures to venture into the Mobile Market with apps and mobile ports of existing games. Almost one year to the date, late in 2015, Nintendo partnered with Japanese game developer DeNA, and will subsequently release five mobile games by March of next year. I fear we may have seen two, if we're counting the underwhelming Miitomo thus far, leaving 3 to be seen.
What could this means for the "Big N?" it means a myriad of possible outcomes, first being that they could potentially recoup some of the money they lost on the lackluster performance of the "Wii U" and make the "NX" the system that Nintendo fans and loyalists deserve, and need. If rumors and tech reports are correct this mobile foray could work in collusion with this hybrid console. Restoring Nintendo to the "Wii" glory days, perhaps.
Would you like to see some more Nintendo franchise mobile games? Are you impatient for the new Zelda? Would you like the "NX" to be the success it needs to be? Share your thoughts and comments below!