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Miyamoto: ‘Nintendo’s fixed-cost mobile games haven’t been a success yet’

Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo’s legendary developer, doesn’t think the publisher – or many other publishers – have got it right as of yet when it comes to charging players for mobile games.

Speaking at the Computer Entertainment Developers Conference on Wednesday, as reported by Bloomberg, Miyamoto said: “We’re lucky to have such a giant market, so our thinking is, if we can deliver games at reasonable prices to as many people as possible, we will see big profits.

“I can’t say that our fixed-cost model has really been a success,” he went on to say, “But we’re going to continue pushing it forward until it becomes entrenched. That way everyone can develop games in a comfortable environment.”

He added that by focusing on bringing games to as wide a range of people as it can, Nintendo could continue to boost its mobile business. One way it could do this would be to avoid both up-front flat fees and in-app purchases – instead opting for a subscription model. This would see players paying a regular, predictable, unchanging amount over a period of time – predictable income for Nintendo, and predictable outgoings for the player.

“It’s necessary for developers to learn to get along with [services like this],” Miyamoto said, “When seeking a partner for this, it’s important to find someone who understands the value of your software. Then customers will feel the value in your apps and software and develop a habit of paying money for them.”

While Super Mario Run’s performance – bringing in over $60 million (£47m) since its launch – is a positive, Nintendo’s in-app purchase approach from its other mobile titles has proven much more profitable, with the likes of Fire Emblem Heroes bagging north of $300 million (£234m) in a shorter time-frame than Mario’s phone outing.

Regardless of this, the company posted a positive outlook in its Q1 FY19 financials – and despite what Miyamoto said, Nintendo is still eager to make more money from its mobile offerings, like with the upcoming Dragalia Lost.

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