Investors have been begging Nintendo to embrace more of the mobile side of gaming when it comes to their brands and popular titles, and a new report indicates that Nintendo could be following the advice of investors with another of their big franchises.
Wall Street Journal [via Kotaku] is reporting that multiple sources from Nintendo revealed to them that there is a new Legend of Zelda game in development for mobile devices. The game is supposedly scheduled to launch either around the time of Animal Crossing for Android and Apple devices or arrive at some point after the game releases.
Supposedly, Animal Crossing is scheduled to release during the latter half of 2017, leading to speculation that The Legend of Zelda for mobile devices may arrive at some point during the early half of 2018.
Nintendo had mentioned previously that they would be focusing more on mobile games, but a lot of people aren't sure if this newest Legend of Zelda title will be a smaller port of Breath of the Wild or if it's going to be a completely new game in the series, similar to how Super Mario Run was an all new entry focused entirely on the mobile gaming concept.
One thing that has some people wondering about the new entry is whether or not the game will feature microtransactions or if it will be a buy-once sort of deal like Super Mario Run.
Investors were hoping for more microtransactions and were disappointed that Nintendo didn't focus more on the cash shop with Super Mario Run. Nintendo, however, countered by saying that they didn't want to diminish their brand worth by focusing heavily on pushing games solely for the sake of selling in-app purchasers.
Ultimately, they wanted their mobile games to help introduce casual gamers to their more established brands and products, such as the Nintendo DS line or the recently launched Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo's strategy actually makes a lot of sense given that you don't see many brands lasting long in the mobile space. The majority of the big sellers are popular for a short time, making gobs of money and then become over-saturated or lose brand worth, similar to what happened with Rovio and Angry Birds.
It's a tough market to crack and Nintendo seems to be edging into the mobile space with reserve. They did release the Fire Emblem Heroes title recently, and it does feature the microtransactions that investors love so much. However, the game is still a far cry from the traditional Fire Emblem series, and is designed more-so as an introduction to the franchise rather than as a full blown game.
In the case of The Legend of Zelda, there are high quality expectations from the community with each new Zelda entry, and Nintendo absolutely needs to be careful so that they don't diminish the value of the brand, similar to what happened with a series like Halo, which was once the biggest property in gaming for a while but has fallen quickly in appeal and brand worth. We'll likely find out more about this new mobile Zelda game at E3, or, possibly, later on at the Tokyo Game Show.