Upcoming Mobile Game ‘Mario Kart Tour’ Will Be Free-to-Start

Nintendo last week announced that its next mobile game will be "Mario Kart Tour," but with a launch date aimed at any time before the company's fiscal year ending March 2019, not much information is known about the game. Today, DeNA CEO Isao Moriyasu was reported as saying that Mario Kart Tour will be free-to-start (via TouchArcade and The Wall Street Journal).


The "free-to-start" terminology is somewhat vague, but when compared to Nintendo's previous use of the phrase it could suggest where Mario Kart Tour is headed. For example, Nintendo currently describes Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp as free-to-start on the game's website, while Super Mario Run's website explains that "you can download and enjoy a portion of Super Mario Run for free."


While far from a definitive answer, this suggests Nintendo might lean towards its recent trend and make Mario Kart Tour a game that's free to play, with in-app purchases that help with certain tasks. Out of Nintendo's four mobile games so far, three have followed this model (Miitomo, Fire Emblem Heroes, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp), while only Super Mario Run has used the pay-once price tier.


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Nintendo Working on ‘Mario Kart Tour’ Game for Mobile Devices

Nintendo this evening announced that a new mobile game is in the works, and this time the company is planning to bring a major fan favorite series to iOS devices -- Mario Kart.

According to Nintendo, a new Mario Kart game called "Mario Kart Tour" is in development. Little is known about the game at this time, but Nintendo says it will be released by March 2019.



Mario Kart is on of Nintendo's most popular titles, and a Mario Kart mobile game would follow successful mobile versions of games in the Super Mario, Animal Crossing, and Fire Emblem franchises.

Nintendo's other mobile games include Super Mario Run, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and Fire Emblem Heroes. The company's first game on iOS devices was Miitomo, which was released in March of 2016. Nintendo this week announced that it plans to shut down Miitomo on May 9, 2018.

Though Miitomo was not a successful venture for the company given its imminent termination, Nintendo's other games have done better. Nintendo's smartphone profits reached 11.2 billion yen this fiscal quarter, seeing growth thanks to the recent launch of Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. The game has generated an estimated $17 million globally.

Nintendo also said back in October that Fire Emblem Heroes is on track to meet its business and profit objectives. Unfortunately, Super Mario Run, Nintendo's one game that is a paid app rather than free-to-play, had not reached an "acceptable profit point" as of late 2017.

Nintendo says it has "learned a lot" about game development and deployment from Super Mario Run, however, and it is too early to tell whether the new Mario Kart game will be free-to-play or another game with an upfront purchase.

With more than a year to go before Mario Kart Tour launches, we'll likely learn more about it over the course of the next several months. Given the current example of mobile versions of Nintendo games, it's unlikely to be a full Mario Kart title, but fans of the series will undoubtedly be looking forward to the debut of a Mario Kart smartphone game.


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Nintendo Details Jump in Smartphone Game Profits Following ‘Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp’ Launch

Nintendo recently reported earnings for its fiscal third quarter of 2017, including data related to the company's two-year-old smartphone game business. In the report, Nintendo confirmed that its smart device and intellectual property related earnings increased from 10.6 billion yen (about $98 million) in the nine months ended December 31, 2016 to 29.1 billion yen (about $267 million) in the same period in 2017.

While this includes income from Nintendo's smartphone games as well as royalty income, Bloomberg reported that Nintendo's smartphone game profits specifically grew from 8.8 billion yen in the year-ago quarter to 11.2 billion yen this fiscal quarter. The only smartphone game that launched this fiscal quarter for Nintendo was Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, which is said to have generated $17 million globally and reached a download number of 22 million since its launch in November. The other major smartphone game to debut from Nintendo in 2017 was Fire Emblem Heroes.


Nintendo said it plans to get its players to continue returning to and enjoying previously released iOS and Android games through ongoing updates, not including the recently confirmed imminent shut down of its first iOS app Miitomo.
In our smart-device business, consumers not only continued to enjoy Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes, which became available for download during the previous fiscal year, but also had fun with Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, released globally during October and November. Smart devices and IP related income were up to 29.1 billion yen (172% increase on a year-on-year basis).

In our smart-device business, we will focus on operations that encourage more consumers to continue to enjoy playing the applications that they have downloaded
Although Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp are free-to-download apps, they're believed to net Nintendo more of a profit in the long run thanks to players who become enticed to spend money on in-app purchases. Alternatively, Super Mario Run is a free-to-start app where users can play a few levels and then must spend $9.99 to gain access to the full game.

At one point, Nintendo described the freemium model of Fire Emblem Heroes as an "outlier" in its overall smartphone game plan and that it prefers Super Mario Run's pay-once structure, but so far that's been the only app to go that route. Additionally, the company's previous earnings report mentioned Super Mario Run had yet to reach an "acceptable profit point" around 10 months after launch.

Otherwise, Nintendo's earnings report detailed a huge success for the company's Switch console, selling 12.13 million units from April to December 2017 and now totaling 14.86 million units sold to date. Upon this report, Nintendo increased its operating profit outlook from 120 billion yen to 160 billion yen for the year ending March 2018, and bumped up the Switch sales forecast from the already-surpassed 14 million units to 15 million units for the same period.


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Nintendo Announces Plans to Shut Down ‘Miitomo’ Two Years After Launch

Nintendo launched its first iOS mobile game, Miitomo, in March 2016, and this week the company has confirmed it will officially end support for the game on May 9, 2018 (via The Verge).

The company posted a notice [Google Translate] on its Japanese website yesterday, warning Miitomo users of its decision to "terminate the service" on Wednesday, May 9 at 12:00 a.m. (PDT). Ahead of that closure, the company has already ended the sale of "Miitomo coins" through in-app purchases as of today, but coins and game tickets will be given to players as a login bonus so they can shop for items until May 9.

In the lead-up to that date, Miitomo will hold "The Final Thank You Festival" with events that celebrate its fans through daily bonuses and sharing Miifotos on Twitter. Then, in the early morning of May 9 all of Miitomo's features will become inaccessible, including Miifotos, messages, and sidekick Miis. Head to Nintendo's website for more information on how to save some of the app's data before it closes.

Nintendo apologized to customers who are fans of the app, and noted that it will issue a refund of unused Miitomo coins purchased through IAPs. The refunds will appear after termination this May.
We recently decided to terminate the service on May 9, 2018 (Wednesday) on the application "Miitomo" for smartphones which started distribution on March 17, 2016.

We are sorry for the customers who have enjoyed it, thank you for your understanding.
As Nintendo's first game for iOS and Android devices, Miitomo was a social networking style game that allowed players to create their own Mii, dress them up, and answer questions to discover new things about their friends. In the proceeding two months after the game launched, many players were seen to abandon the app and conversations about it on social media appeared to die down. SurveyMonkey summed it up in a report by stating that players simply "didn't really get Miitomo."

Nintendo fared better in subsequent apps that were more gaming focused, following Miitomo up with Super Mario Run in December 2016, Fire Emblem Heroes in February 2017, and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp in November 2017. The company is now said to be looking for additional mobile software developers to stay more on schedule with its iOS and Android game releases, and the next major title is rumored to be set in The Legend of Zelda universe.


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Nintendo Looking for Additional Mobile Software Developers After DeNA Partnership Falls Behind Schedule

Nintendo is looking to hire more software developers to help it create mobile video games in the vein of Super Mario Run and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. According to people familiar with the matter speaking with The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo has decided to expand its roster of smartphone game developers after its partnership with DeNA "fell behind schedule."

Nintendo and DeNA first announced their partnership in March 2015, and then a few months later in May 2015 explained their schedule: the companies would release their first iOS game that year, and then five more before March 2017. By October 2015, the first Nintendo mobile app -- Miitomo -- was pushed back to 2016, marking the first delay of the company's long term smartphone strategy release plan.

Eventually, Miitomo launched in March 2016, Super Mario Run launched in December 2016, Fire Emblem Heroes launched in February 2017, and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp just launched in November 2017. Every mobile game released by Nintendo and made by DeNA, besides Super Mario Run, was delayed at some point.

Now, Nintendo is looking to introduce new collaborations with other software developers and "raise the pace of new titles" so that these games don't face as heavy delays as they did previously. While Nintendo took a 10 percent ownership stake in DeNA when it partnered with the company, sources knowledgeable of the new plan stated that it "isn't planning" to do that again with any new developer partners.
Nintendo reported less than ¥20 billion ($176 million) in revenue in the year ended in March 2017 from its smartphone games, including one featuring Mario. Some investors say the mobile revenue has fallen short of expectations, but Nintendo executives say that rather than try to squeeze out more mobile revenue—which could lead to a consumer backlash—they are focusing on converting those users to buy more expensive products.
Potential new developers include GungHo Online Entertainment Inc., which created the mobile game Puzzle & Dragons. For DeNA, company CEO Isao Moriyasu has previously said that the company "has more smartphone games in the pipeline" in partnership with Nintendo, and both companies plan to "continue the relationship."

Tags: Nintendo, DeNA

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Nintendo Looking for Additional Mobile Software Developers After DeNA Partnership Falls Behind Schedule

Nintendo is looking to hire more software developers to help it create mobile video games in the vein of Super Mario Run and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. According to people familiar with the matter speaking with The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo has decided to expand its roster of smartphone game developers after its partnership with DeNA "fell behind schedule."

Nintendo and DeNA first announced their partnership in March 2015, and then a few months later in May 2015 explained their schedule: the companies would release their first iOS game that year, and then five more before March 2017. By October 2015, the first Nintendo mobile app -- Miitomo -- was pushed back to 2016, marking the first delay of the company's long term smartphone strategy release plan.

Eventually, Miitomo launched in March 2016, Super Mario Run launched in December 2016, Fire Emblem Heroes launched in February 2017, and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp just launched in November 2017. Every mobile game released by Nintendo and made by DeNA, besides Super Mario Run, was delayed at some point.

Now, Nintendo is looking to introduce new collaborations with other software developers and "raise the pace of new titles" so that these games don't face as heavy delays as they did previously. While Nintendo took a 10 percent ownership stake in DeNA when it partnered with the company, sources knowledgeable of the new plan stated that it "isn't planning" to do that again with any new developer partners.
Nintendo reported less than ¥20 billion ($176 million) in revenue in the year ended in March 2017 from its smartphone games, including one featuring Mario. Some investors say the mobile revenue has fallen short of expectations, but Nintendo executives say that rather than try to squeeze out more mobile revenue—which could lead to a consumer backlash—they are focusing on converting those users to buy more expensive products.
Potential new developers include GungHo Online Entertainment Inc., which created the mobile game Puzzle & Dragons. For DeNA, company CEO Isao Moriyasu has previously said that the company "has more smartphone games in the pipeline" in partnership with Nintendo, and both companies plan to "continue the relationship."

Tags: Nintendo, DeNA

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Nintendo Launches First Holiday Event in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

Nintendo last week launched its newest iOS game, a mobile version of Animal Crossing called Pocket Camp, and it's already being updated with new content in the form of a special holiday event.

Typical Animal Crossing games feature special events that take place on a regular basis, and it appears Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is no exception. The new Christmas-themed event will allow players to earn limited-time clothing items and craft holiday-themed furniture.


To get the holiday items, players need to fulfill timed goals and complete quests for visiting animals to earn candy canes, so the holiday gameplay is essentially identical to standard gameplay, but with the ability to earn special items.

It takes a lot of candy canes to unlock items, but Nintendo's event will last from November 29 to December 25.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


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‘Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp’ Begins Early Worldwide Rollout on the iOS App Store [Update: Online Errors]

One month after its announcement during a Nintendo Direct in late October, Nintendo today has begun rolling out Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp onto iOS [Direct Link] and Android devices worldwide, following a limited soft launch in Australia. The game was announced to be coming out tomorrow, November 22, but it has begun appearing on the iOS App Store for some users in the United States, United Kingdom, Austria, and France, and potentially other markets where it is launching.

The new game is Nintendo's fourth mobile app created in partnership with developer DeNA and follows Miitomo (launched March 2016), Super Mario Run (December 2016), and Fire Emblem Heroes (February 2017).

Similar to the latter two games, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is a mobile-optimized version of its franchise's larger console games, and introduces a few new features into the traditional Animal Crossing gameplay to streamline certain actions for one-handed smartphone sessions. For example, both fishing and bug hunting are as simple as tapping on the screen, and the world that the player occupies -- centered around a campsite -- is scaled down from the villages of games like New Leaf and Wild World.

The main mechanic of Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp centers on convincing animal villagers to stick around at your campsite by foraging for materials and crafting their favorite furniture. Outside of the camp, there is also a beach, river, island, and other areas that are accessible through your camper, which you can also customize and decorate to your liking. Additionally, you can visit your real friends to check out their camps to give them "kudos" on their decorations and see what items they're selling in their Market Box.

Any time you visit Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, the game will reflect the time of day and current season of the real world, and Nintendo has said it will be launching seasonal events over the holidays with exclusive furniture, outfits, and item decorations for players to collect.

Images via Touch Arcade

Nintendo's latest smartphone game is free-to-play and uses optional "Leaf Tickets" as in-game currency, but our sister site Touch Arcade got hands-on time with the game in October and found very little reason to spend real money, thanks to gameplay systems that eventually reward players with the items they want if they put in the time to get them.
You can also spend Leaf Tickets to craft any furniture you might not have the materials for, but again, the first session of the game sprays so many of these different things at you that you're really going to need to play the game for a while before you're running low on anything.

There's other "cheater" items (and I'm saying "cheater" with the absolute most exaggerated air quotes imaginable) that you can buy with Leaf Tickets too like fishing nets and honey, which are used to catch loads of fish or bugs in one go- But, it seemed like if I wanted to invest the time I could just fish and catch bugs all day, so this seems like a real weird way to spend premium currency.
Players should note that Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp requires a "persistent internet" connection -- mentioned in the game's "digest" trailer -- which seems to be similar to the always online requirement of Super Mario Run. At the time of Super Mario Run's launch, Shigeru Miyamoto said that Nintendo's reasoning behind this move is to "support security" and prevent piracy.

Looking ahead, Nintendo's next mobile game is rumored to be set within The Legend of Zelda universe, although it's still unclear exactly what the gameplay would be for that app.

For more information on Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, head to Nintendo's website, and you can download the game on the iOS App Store for free beginning today [Direct Link]. For those playing on iPhone X, the game has been optimized to support the 5.8-inch display of Apple's new smartphone.

Read More at Touch Arcade: 'Animal Crossing Pocket Camp' Beginner's Guide: Free Leaf Tickets, Getting K.K. Slider, Choosing a Personal Style and More

Update 5:27 a.m. PST: Some users attempting to play the game have been met with multiple communication errors, and it's unclear at this time what might be the issue, although it could be related to a large amount of people trying to start the game following launch.


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Nintendo Sets ‘Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp’ Release Date for November 22

Nintendo on Twitter today confirmed that the company's upcoming iOS game, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, will launch worldwide on November 22. The confirmation of a release date comes nearly one month after the game was first unveiled in late October, after which it soft launched on the Australian iOS App Store and climbed to the top of the charts there faster than either Super Mario Run or Fire Emblem Heroes.

When it launches later this week, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp will be a miniaturized version of the main games in the series, allowing players to visit and manage a campsite in lieu of a full village. At the camp, players can decorate the location with furniture to attract certain animal characters, as well as go fishing, hunt for bugs, shop, and more to complete quests and craft items to further deck out the camp.



Just like the other games in the series, time passes in real time so when you open the app the game will reflect the time of day in the real world, subsequently affecting certain bug and fish spawns and allowing for upcoming seasonal events. There's also a social aspect that allows players to visit the camps of their friends to get inspired by their designs, and sell or exchange items with them.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp will be free-to-play, and uses optional "Leaf Tickets" so players can bypass long wait times when they build structures, purchase the materials needed to craft furniture, and more. If you're interested in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, visit our sister site Touch Arcade to read some first impressions on the game ahead of its release on November 22.


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Nintendo Says Super Mario Run Has Yet to Reach ‘Acceptable Profit Point’ Nearly One Year After Launch

Nintendo yesterday held its quarterly earnings report [PDF], launching off with details of its "Smart-Device Business" and telling investors how things have been going for Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes, while detailing the upcoming launch of Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. Although Fire Emblem Heroes is on track to meet the company's "overall profit objectives," Super Mario Run appears to be a disappointment in the iOS App Store for Nintendo, which stated it has "not yet reached an acceptable profit point" for the game (via The Verge).

The difference between the two apps lies in their payment structure, with Fire Emblem Heroes a free-to-download title with micro-transactions, and Super Mario Run priced at a fixed $9.99. The company noted that Super Mario Run has now hit the 200 million download mark, and Nintendo was even able to launch the app in countries "not previously reached by our dedicated video game platform business."


Unfortunately, after about 10 months on mobile devices Super Mario Run still has not made the amount of money that Nintendo predicted for the title, which was its first foray into a mobile app built around one-time payments. Still, the company said that it has "learned a lot in terms of game development and deployment," which it plans to "take advantage of moving forward."
Although we have not yet reached an acceptable profit point, we have learned a lot in terms of game development and deployment that we want to take advantage of moving forward.
For Fire Emblem Heroes, Nintendo said that it "listened to the voices of our consumers," leading to continual updates to the app since its launch in February. This game is on track to meet Nintendo's business and profit objectives, and new in-game events will be added soon, as well as Traditional Chinese text. The game will then expand to five more countries and regions: Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macao, Thailand, and Singapore.

Nintendo's newest iOS game Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp will follow in the footsteps of Fire Emblem Heroes, bringing in-app purchases to the free-to-download game in the form of Leaf Tickets. For the mobile version of Animal Crossing, Nintendo said that "our objective is to offer a service that allows even consumers who do not normally play games on a regular basis to have a little fun each and every day."

Nintendo's first iPhone game, Miitomo, also uses a free-to-download payment structure with in-app purchases, but the company made no mention of that game in its newest earnings report.

Earlier in the year, a senior official at Nintendo reportedly told Nikkei that the company prefers the pay-once strategy of Super Mario Run, and called the freemium aspects of Fire Emblem Heroes an "outlier" in the grand scheme of its mobile gaming plan. Even then, Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima -- who presented this week's earnings report -- admitted that Super Mario Run "did not meet" the company's revenue expectations.

To entice old players to return and new players to download, Nintendo updated Super Mario Run in September with a new mode, new characters, and a 50 percent price drop. Nintendo's earnings report charts are vague, but the company noted an uptick in weekly users thanks to this September update. Prior to that, its weekly users had been dropping precipitously since April.

Ultimately, Nintendo still aims for Super Mario Run to be the "definitive Mario application for smart devices," so players can likely expect ongoing updates to the app in the future.


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