The Nintendo/DeNA Partnership May Not be so Exciting After All
Since the announcement on Tuesday that Nintendo and DeNA are going to start developing mobile games together, everyone’s gotten a bit overexcited. Will it be a disaster? Will it be amazing? Will the world end? Well, probably not. At least, I hope not. While Rob got quite excited about the possible games that this could bring, I feel a little more cynical about what’s going to happen.
I don’t think we’re all doomed by any means. First party Nintendo games on their respective consoles will continue to be awesome because, well, they always are. There’s no need to worry on that front. However, I’m not so sure that the Nintendo/DeNA meeting of minds will really come to that much worthy of note from a gamer's perspective. The more important part is the business and financial side of things.
DeNA are best known for freemium games like their collectible card game, Rage of Bahamut, and oddly distracting and compelling titles like Tiny Tower. Plus, there’s the dabbling in franchises like Star Wars: Galactic Defense and that awkward thing with Godus that no one really likes to talk about any more. They’re all reasonably well made games but are they the stuff that legends are made of? Nope.
Instead, I think this partnership will produce gateway games. Games that are there to highlight the potential of Nintendo to people who don’t normally game. A lot of smartphone owners dabble in games on their phones, but wouldn’t necessarily own a console. Introduce the concept of Nintendo to them and when it comes to considering a console, the name is already in their heads.
Is that a bad thing? Of course not. More people enjoying themselves with games is always a good thing. There’s no need for snobbery. Games have developed to the point that, much like cinema, there’s something for all tastes now. Whether you want a quirky indie darling or a mindless but distracting five minute session of a Match-3 game, you’re covered.
Nintendo won’t be coming up with revolutionary ideas through DeNA’s output, but they might just give you the chance to play a Match-3 game with the faces of Mario, Luigi, and co, or enjoy a card game made up of other familiar faces. Maybe we'll even get to see a Tiny Tower style game with a tower full of Nintendo characters? It'll be shallow but cute.
Regardless, these titles will be the tasty morsels while you’re out and about, before you go home and settle in front of your Wii U and play Super Mario 3D World. You never know, even if you have no interest in mobile gaming, such a deal might just help support your love of console games instead.