Following its financial results briefing for the fiscal year ended on March 31st, 2018, Nintendo published a transcript for the Q&A session in which President Tatsumi Kimishima and Shuntaro Furukawa (who will take over Kimishima-san’s role after his retirement) talked about the company’s mobile business following the announcement of Dragalia Lost, co-developed with Cygames.
Kimishima-san explained that despite the new business partnership with Cygames, Nintendo is very satisfied with its mobile business and with the various projects created in partnership with DeNA, so that will continue as well in the future.
Nintendo is trying to expand its lineup of mobile games, and Cygames had a plan for a title that was very deep. In order to make it available as one of Nintendo’s own mobile apps, they thought it was important to develop and operate it jointly, which is why the business partnership was created, and 5% of Cygames’ stock was acquired.
DeNA doesn’t just support Nintendo’s mobile applications, but also its Nintendo Account system with technology and development support. Even in that field, the partnership will continue. The business alliance with DeNA and Cygames are different, and if necessary, Nintendo is open to partner with other companies as well in the future, in other to expand its mobile presence.
Later in the conference, Kimishima-san explained that the plan for mobile apps has not changed. First of all, by using its IP in mobile apps, the company wants to spread awareness about Nintendo’s characters, and ultimately they’d like it to become synergistic with the console business. Secondly, they’d like to make mobile games one of the pillars of revenue.
To that end, it’s not enough to just expand dedicated internal development resources, so they have been looking for possibilities to do it externally as well. Nintendo thought that Cygames’ plan with Dragalia Lost was common ground for the companies, so they decided to partner with the Tokyo-based developers to strengthen its own development resources for smartphones. Again, this doesn’t change the partnership with DeNA. If a potential partner is found that has a strength that can’t be found within Nintendo, this could happen again.
Furukawa-san also added that one important factor to think about when managing a company like Nintendo is that its products aren’t daily necessities. Nintendo creates entertainment and fun. He thinks that the essence of its business will remain unchanged regardless of the changing of the times and the market’s environment. Yet, it’s a high-risk business, and there are times in which performance could be good or bad. About the kind of company he’d like Nintendo to be in the future, it will continue to bring specialized gaming hardware and software to the world. While the aim is to be successful every time, sometimes it will work out, and sometimes it won’t. However, instead of thinking “I can’t do this” he’d rather think “what can we do to continuously tighten our relationship with the customers?” and “can we ease the risk a little?”
If you’re unfamiliar with Cygames, they’re a Tokyo-based developer and publisher that launched successful mobile games like Granblue Fantasy and Shadowverse. They have also recently begun working on console games, including a partnership with Konami on Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner M∀RS for PS4 and PC, and with PlatinumGames on Granblue Fantasy Project Re:Link for PS4.