Double Take is a series where we take recent announcements and occurrences in the gaming industry and offer our immediate thoughts on them.
Months after first announcing that they would be partnering with DeNA to bring games to mobile, Nintendo has revealed their first mobile game: Pokemon GO!, a game in which you use AR to search for and battle with Pokemon in the real world. A lot of interesting stuff can be gleaned from this announcement, as it is Nintendo’s first ever announced mobile game: indeed, it may just hint as to what else is coming from Nintendo on the mobile front.
The key thing is that Nintendo is not partnering with DeNA for Pokemon GO!, which means this is not part of Nintendo’s five big titles hinted at for the partnership. What does this show? Well, Nintendo has bigger plans than we thought. Whatever Nintendo’s plans are for DeNA – which will have Nintendo themselves developing the titles – this isn’t part of it. Nintendo is expanding beyond their initial five game plan early, and that’s noteworthy.
Now, this means that the Poemon Go! announcement doesn’t hint at what Nintendo’s DeNA games – the ones they themselves are developing – will be, but it does indicate what we might see beyond that initial deal (as well as lets us know there is anything beyond that initial deal at all).
First, Nintendo’s working with new development teams outside their normal sphere for phones. The developers of Pokemon GO!, Niantic, have worked exclusively on smartphones in the past on another virtual reality title. This is an interesting avenue for Nintendo to travel; they are reaching out to those specialized in mobile development for some of their games instead of just having their existing teams switch gears. This is both promising for us who don’t want too many of Nintendo’s resources focused on mobile, shows that they are wanting to work with those who are already veterans of mobile, and is indicative of Nintendo attempting to branch out to external partners more and more.
Second, there was the news that Pokemon GO! may connect to mainline Pokemon games. This is also noteworthy, because it shows that Nintendo’s phone games have a high likelihood of not just expanding Nintendo’s IP; they may directly point towards and interact with the console and handheld titles. This would encourage a broader audience to get involved with Nintendo’s more dedicated experiences.
So to recap: Nintendo has bigger plans for mobile than we initially thought. We also learned that Nintendo will be going to all new development teams and mobile specialists to help in this market instead of just sticking with their current studios. In addition, these phone games may connect to the main games in a very direct way. Definitely interesting stuff; hopefully we will soon see the full scope of Nintendo’s mobile plans.