Nintendo Animal Crossing

Nintendo’s Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem series will be making the jump to mobile this fall, the company announced today.

While not as popular as the Mario or Zelda franchises, Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem are fan favorite series that could transition well to smartphones. Animal Crossing in particular, with its cutesy vibe, could do very well on a platform that is still dominated by casual gaming. Both series have been very successful on Nintendo’s 3DS handheld console.

Animal Crossing is a community simulator of sorts, featuring anthropomorphized animals. The player controls a cute village inhabited by animal characters, with various activities, upgrades, and interactions being available.

According to Nintendo, the Animal Crossing smartphone game will tie in with the console experience, though it’s not clear if this refers to existing Animal Crossing console games or a new title.

Fire Emblem is a long-running series of role-playing games where the player controls characters across a miniature battlefield. Nintendo reportedly characterized the upcoming mobile game as “more accessible” than past titles, which implies that gameplay will differ from console titles.

fire emblem

It remains to be seen how Nintendo chooses to monetize these games, but there’s a good chance they will be free to download with in-app purchases. After all, Nintendo has partnered with IAP master DeNA to develop its mobile games and the IAP model fits the franchises very well – Animal Crossing in particular.

Nintendo’s first mobile game, Miitomo, is doing surprisingly well, despite mixed initial reactions. The Japanese company announced that ten million users now engage with the social network/simulator hybrid. Asked about Miitomo revenue, Nintendo CEO Tatsumi Kimishima refused to offer exact figures, but said that revenue is not far from the $280,000/week estimate of SurveyMonkey.

Nintendo has previously said that it would release five smartphone games by March 2017. More details about the new games will probably be revealed at the E3 gaming conference in June. The questions is, will the remaining two titles be part of Nintendo’s top franchises?

On a related note, Nintendo revealed today that its next-gen console, the NX (at one point rumored to be running Android), would be launched in March 2017. With Wii and 3DS sales tapering off, the pressure is on for Nintendo’s mobile games to shore up revenues over the next year.