Pokemon Go Drives Nintendo Shares Up

Pavel Alpeyev and Yuji Nakamura, reporting for Bloomberg:

The company has added more than $7 billion in market value since last week’s debut of a new smartphone app for its Pokemon fantasy monster character franchise. The game, which lets users track down virtual monsters in their vicinity, has topped the free-to-download app charts for Apple in the U.S. and Australia since its release on July 7, according to market researcher App Annie.

Nintendo’s shares responded with their biggest intraday jump since at least 1983, when the stock started trading in Tokyo, climbing as much as 25 percent on Monday. Investors are taking Pokemon’s early success as a sign of things to come for a company that has yet to commit the most popular characters from its Mario or Zelda franchises to mobile gaming apps.

Top-grossing app in the App Store, and the topic of the week (lighthearted topic, at least) on social media.

I’ve been advocating for Nintendo to fully commit to making games for mobile since 2013 (parts one and two). I just re-read both pieces and they both hold up really well. I hate to say it (OK, I love to say it), but it looks like I was right. A few highlights:

Another common refrain I’ve heard this week is that Nintendo’s games are utterly dependent on hardware controls. No argument here that some games are better with real D-pads and physical buttons. (I can’t recall ever once truly enjoying a D-pad style game on the iPhone.) But there are other types of games that are better without D-pads and buttons.

Pokemon Go is a perfect example of this. It’s nothing like a DS game. It’s perfectly native to the phone. Nintendo is the perfect company to take the features and limitations of phones and redefine what mobile games can be.

And:

A kid asking “What’s a Nintendo?” may sound preposterous to the ears of an adult weaned on Mario and Zelda, but trust me, put an iPad Mini and a 3DS on a table next to each other, and most kids today will reach, if not jump, for the iPad. If you don’t see that as an existential threat for Nintendo, there’s nothing I can say that will change your mind. A Nintendo that doesn’t make games for iOS is a Nintendo that doesn’t reach today’s kids; a Nintendo that doesn’t reach today’s kids is a Nintendo with no future.

Keep your eyes open for teenagers and pre-teens using a DS rather than a phone. You’ll have a hard time finding one.

Monday, 11 July 2016

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