Report: Nintendo Will Be Releasing ‘Free Mini-Games’ On Phones

Report: Nintendo Will Be Releasing ‘Free Mini-Games’ On Phones

This year looks to be Nintendo’s toughest. Nintendo, however, is looking to change that. Respected Japanese newspaper Nikkei reports that within this year, Nintendo apparently plans to use smartphones to win back gamers. Well, kind of.

According to an unconfirmed Nikkei report, Nintendo plans to release trailers for new games on smartphones (presumably Android and iOS) as well as “free mini-games”. Until now, Nintendo hasn’t made any gaming content available on smartphones.

Note that the Nikkei does not use the Japanese word for “demo,” which is either “taikenban” (体験版) or “demo” (デモ). It explicitly states “muryou no mini geemu” (無料のミニゲーム) or “free mini-game.” Nikkei reports that the idea is that if players enjoy the mini-games, they can purchase the actual software for their Nintendo hardware. That sounds awfully like a demo!

Nintendo will apparently make a wide swath of information about its games available via smartphones — such as introducing the game’s story and characters as well as the release date and price.

Nintendo is expected to announce this plan later this week, Nikkei adds.

In the past, Nikkei‘s track record with Nintendo rumours has been quite good. Kotaku is following up with Nintendo and will update this post should the company comment.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has previously said that the company would use smartphones to help promote their games.

In October, addressing whether Nintendo handhelds were losing out to smart phones, he told company investors the following: “I feel that we should make an effort to take advantage of [smart devices’] existence. For instance, we already made it possible to browse Wii U’s networking service called Miiverse on smart devices. Starting with this attempt, we are discussing among us how we can expand the use of smart devices to help drive the business of dedicated gaming systems…. Twitter timelines filled with tweets about Monster Hunter and Pokémon can certainly help create awareness for the products, and we also know that many watch Nintendo Direct on their smart devices. Rather than simply viewing smart devices as competitors, we should consider ways in which we can use them for our business.”

Iwata had presented a vision in which Nintendo’s dedicated gaming hardware exists side-by-side with gaming on phones and tablets, with largely different types of games appealing to different kinds of gamers and different gaming appetites:

“I think it is natural that many people feel that it is more convenient to use smart devices, as opposed to dedicated gaming systems, to play games to kill a bit of time. That is to say, there are some areas in which dedicated gaming systems were once used that now have greater potential on smart devices. On the other hand, dedicated gaming systems are developed by considering the software that is designed to run on the hardware, enabling us to make unique propositions.”

任天堂、スマホ積極活用 無料ミニゲームで新規顧客掘り起こし [Nikkei]


  • Are Nintendo only just finding out that they can no longer ignore the internet, mobile gaming and Sony & Microsoft? They’re reminding me of Harvey Norman being stubborn as hell, calling internet shopping a fad and ‘BUY AUSTRALIAN’.

    I hope they’ve researched what people want and expect from mobile gaming. It’s not something people see as a demo. They want a full game experience on their phone either as pay up front or as a freemium model with microtransactions (at least that’s my observation of mobile gamers). They don’t want to download a game for 2-3 levels and then see ‘for the full experience buy HERE’, especially if they’re trying to peddle the Wii U on smartphones.

    • It will not be part of a game with “buy more levels here” because it is not a demo. A demo would play like shit on a phone.

      • Not a straight demo, but as Brian said:

        Note that the Nikkei does not use the Japanese word for “demo,” which is either “taikenban” (体験版) or “demo” (デモ). It explicitly states “muryou no mini geemu” (無料のミニゲーム) or “free mini-game.” Nikkei reports that the idea is that if players enjoy the mini-games, they can purchase the actual software for their Nintendo hardware. That sounds awfully like a demo!

        • Exactly. Good that they have actually not tried to shoehorn a game demo onto a smartphone. Companies need to realise that console games do not work on mobile if they need more than two buttons to play.

    • Except it says pretty clearly in the article that they aren’t doing anything like what you are saying. Right now, Nintendo would be insane to start releasing games on smartphones. So they won’t

      There’s no freemium and there’s no up front cost. They are essentially advertising for a game with some sort of mini game attached to get people to install it and read up on the story/characters/mechanics of the game.

    • Nah, I am people, (I think) and I don’t want Nintendo games on my phone, I want them on my dual screen, stylus driven device with real, tactile controls.

      The kids have started playing their DS a lot more lately, after they sat dusty and ignored for nearly a year after they bought an iPod. But they have been playing Zelda, and the new animal crossing and Professor Layton again, and have been commenting that they ‘forgot what ‘big’ games were like’.
      i.e. games with depth and longevity, rather than a quick twitch fix, pattern match or farming (CoC etc.) game on the ipod. They still play iOS games for a quick boredome fix, but the DS has been getting more and more love lately, and I had nearly given them away from lack of use.

      I think that Nintendo should continue to make great gaming experiences on gaming hardware, and this strategy of letting people access the Nintendo universe via their phones and pods and extend it sounds quite good to me.

  • That is how I read it, more of a mini simple game to let you know about the real game. Could remind a lot of people that the Ninty was their first love, and that maybe some make-up gaming was in order.

  • I remember on NSMB that I got on my DS, they had a whole bunch of minigames (no idea if they have done more for more recent games). They were brilliant. A lot of fun, very touchscreeny and relatively original. These are basically what I would expect if Nintendo start making phone games. I really don’t see them making a platformer without proper controls.

  • The games that are included in Nintendo Land are pretty much like mini games. Those games are pretty fun, especially Donkey Kong Crash Course. Games like them would probably work on a phone or tablet and I’d play them.

  • It’s interesting. Perhaps mini-games or short, animated features that serve as a prequel to the actual game on the 3DS or Wii U. Lots of possibilities.

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