Nintendo Mobile Games Have Raked In $1 Billion, Mostly Thanks To Fire Emblem Heroes
Nintendo's branching out into mobile is paying off.
In past years, as mobile gaming started to take off, Nintendo refused to release its franchises or create new ones for mobile. That changed as of 2016's Super Mario Run, and Nintendo's shift to mobile has been a huge success from a business perspective.
SensorTower reports that Nintendo's six mobile games have together generated more than $1 billion in worldwide revenue across iOS and Android. The six games have collectively reached more than 452 million downloads globally.
A whopping 61 percent ($656 million) of Nintendo's mobile revenue came from a single title--Fire Emblem Heroes. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp (12 percent; $131 million) and Dragalia Lost (11 percent; $123 million) followed as the next highest-earning mobile games.
What's incredibly impressive for Fire Emblem Heroes is that the game has only had 18 million downloads, but has generated the most money. That works out to an average revenue-per-download of $41 for the free-to-play game.
Mario Kart Tour made up eight percent ($86 million) of revenue, while Super Mario Run--which remains Nintendo's most-downloaded mobile game ever with 244 million installs--amounted to seven percent ($76 million) of total revenue. Dr. Mario World was the least popular game in terms of revenue, attributing just 1 percent ($4.8 million) of the $1 billion figure for all Nintendo mobile games.
Nintendo made most of its mobile revenue from Japan (54 percent; $581 million), with the US following in second, with $316 million, or 29 percent.
The late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata maintained that whatever short-term benefit Nintendo might get from releasing its franchises for mobile devices wasn't worth the risk of harming its longstanding policy of offering its franchises exclusively on Nintendo devices. The executive said in 2014 that Mario was designed for Nintendo consoles, "so if we transfer them into smartphones as they are, customers won't be satisfied."
Following Iwata's death in 2015, Nintendo's new management team announced a plan to develop smartphone games.