We're pretty much at the midpoint of the year now, which makes it around six months since we pondered what the future might hold for Nintendo's advances into mobile. And so far in 2018 the resounding answer has been - not much at all, really.
There's been a couple of game announcements, but the whole Nintendo-takes-over-mobile story really hasn't played out. In fact there have been rumblings behind the scenes that the big N is still struggling to find a way to successfully monetize its mobile-gaming output. So if things were looking bleak at the start of the year, it's fair to say they're not looking much rosier now.
One of the biggest things Nintendo has done on mobile in 2018 was actually turning off one of its games. Well, I don't know if game is actually the right word here. Miitomo was a weird hybrid of a social network and a casual game, and it was Nintendo's first real foray onto the App Store.
But earlier this month it shut its servers for good. It's still available to download from iTunes for some reason, but there's not much point picking up a social networking app that you can't use to connect to people. Miitomo was an experiment, it's fair to say, but it was cursed by one of the criticisms that has been levelled at Nintendo in recent years.
Namely, it didn't really know what it was. While the Switch might have cemented Nintendo's place back near the top of the console world, the WiiU years were something of a barren waste. And that's because no one really know what the WiiU was for. That's a fate that has befallen Miitomo as well - here's an interesting thing for you to poke at for a bit, but we've got no idea where it's going after that.
None of Nintendo's releases are in the top 50 grossing games on the App Store. Even in Japan, you need to scroll down to number 20 to see the first entry in the list. It's Fire Emblem Heroes, if you're wondering. Mario, the company's mascot and wielder of the Nintendo torch, is nowhere to be seen.
In a way, Fire Emblem Heroes is the most traditional mobile game that Nintendo has released. It might not have the same spark of ingenuity that made Super Mario Run so enjoyable, but the character-collecting, casual-RPG feel of the game seems to have resonated more with customers.
And that poses an interesting dilemma. There's only really been one true Nintendo game announed for this year, and that's the mobile version of Mario Kart. Hardly a franchise that's perfectly shaped to appeal to the same sort of player that's spending money on Fire Emblem Heroes. And even though Super Mario Run was warmly received, plenty of people balked at the monetization style Nintendo chose to use for the game.
Don't get me wrong, Mario Kart Tour could well prove to be an amazing experience - I for one really hope it is, because the App Store has been lacking a great karting game for far too long – but it doesn't feel like the sort of release that's going to finally cement the systems and monetization options that Nintendo needs to use to succeed.
It feels very much like Nintendo is still playing the same hand it did with Miitomo, chucking things out there in order to see what sticks in a world it doesn't really understand yet. And because it's Nintendo, and there's such a large gap between games, that experimentation is getting a little bit long in the tooth.
At the start of the year I said that 2018 was going to be make or break for Nintendo in the mobile world, and I stand by that. But unless one of the experiments it's toying with manages to pay off in an impressive way, it's looking more and more likely that it's heading a break rather than make.