• Nintendo is reportedly telling co-developers of its mobile games to limit in-game purchases.
  • Nintendo might be having these discussions in order to maintain its reputation and image.


With a growing roster of free-to-play games, you’d expect Nintendo to strongly push for in-game purchases. Interestingly, it appears that Nintendo is doing the opposite with its mobile games.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo asked its mobile development partners to limit the number of in-app purchases in their games. Even though Nintendo has a hand in all of its mobile games, it co-developed titles like Fire Emblem Heroes, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and Dragalia Lost with other studios.

Nintendo is reportedly concerned that too many in-game purchases would tarnish the company’s image and reputation. Nintendo has held a family-friendly image for many years, so the company seems more than happy to miss out on revenue if it means the company isn’t seen as greedy.

When reached for comment, Nintendo didn’t confirm any specific conversations it may have had with its mobile partners. However, Nintendo told The Wall Street Journal that it talks with partners about “various things, not just limited to payments, to deliver high-quality fun to consumers.”

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Dragalia Lost co-developer CyberAgent Inc. was more forthcoming with its comments. When reached for comment, a CyberAgent official confirmed conversations with Nintendo regarding in-game purchases.

“Nintendo is not interested in making a large amount of revenue from a single smartphone game. If we managed the game alone, we would have made a lot more.”

The CyberAgent official also told The Wall Street Journal that Nintendo approached the studio sometime after Dragalia Lost’s release. Players had complained of how difficult it was to unlock certain characters through the in-game lotteries. As a result, CyberAgent altered Dragalia Lost to make it easier to get those rare characters.

From Nintendo’s point of view, these conversations make sense. Nintendo is in a unique situation in that the company is deeply entrenched in the home console market. The Nintendo Switch, along with the 3DS to a much smaller extent, helped turn around the company’s financials and reinvigorate Nintendo’s presence in the console market.

Nintendo is a company, so of course it’ll want some return from its mobile games. Unlike mobile studios, however, Nintendo doesn’t solely rely on its mobile games to make ends meet.

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