Nintendo mobile games monetization limited by the company, frustrating its partners

Nintendo, apparently in a bid to protect its brand, has stopped mobile games partners from excessively monetizing their games. Nintendo mobile games like Dragalia Lost and Fire Emblem Heroes feature microtransactions, but the company wants to ensure their games aren’t being too exploitative.

A report from the Wall Street Journal (via Nintendo Life) suggests Nintendo has adopted a more consumer-friendly approach to their mobile games. CyberAgent, the parent company of Dragalia Lost developer CyGames, is supposedly unhappy with Nintendo’s approach to monetization. One CyberAgent employee reportedly said, “Nintendo is not interested in making a large amount of revenue from a single smartphone game. If we managed the game [Dragalia Lost] alone, we would have made a lot more.”

Dragalia Lost, and especially Fire Emblem Heroes, have generated hundreds of millions of dollars for their creators. CyberAgent, it seems, is frustrated that it can’t monetize their games further resulting in what they see as a loss of profits. Microtransactions can see players dump hundreds of dollars into games, with kids accidentally spending their parent’s money in-game.

The Journal report condensed Nintendo’s stance with “the company is concerned it might be criticized for being greedy in smartphone games.”

Nintendo’s mobile games have had a mix of microtransactions over the years. Fire Emblem Heroes, developed by DeNA is monetized heavier than Dragalia Lost and as such has made a lot more money. DeNA’s Super Mario Run, meanwhile is free to download and has a single $10 purchase to unlock the rest of the game. Games like Animal Crossing Pocket Camp can be played without spending real-world money, but can be grindy or otherwise frustratingly slow to play.

Nintendo is currently working on Dr. Mario World and Mario Kart Tour with a number of mobile partners. How those games will be monetized is still unknown, but the free-to-play with microtransactions model appears to have won out. Both games are set to release this year.