If you were to tell me a few years ago that Nintendo would be making Apps for smart phones, I would have very quickly informed you that you must be mistaken, you see Nintendo only makes software for their own hardware. It’s what they do.
However I was wrong.
Nintendo currently has two Apps out on the App Store, both published by the Pokémon Company. I don’t think it’s any conscience either why the first two Apps too appear are from the Pokémon Company. They have been much more willing to embrace internet connectivity, social media and adding value to their existing brand by offering experiences outside of Nintendo’s proprietary game boxes. An example of this effort is the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online. If you are unaware it is a game you can play on your browser and can now download to your PC, which lets you buy, trade and play the Pokémon TCG online, with custom avatars and text chat, all without friend codes.
An online effort we have arguably not seen from Nintendo outside of the Pokémon Company.
However Nintendo has announced a Miiverse App and the ability to browse the eShop from your phone, which could be a browser or App.
The Miiverse App will likely let you login with your Nintendo Network ID and view your activity stream as well as see what’s new on the various game and franchise communities. It would also be possible to let users post to via text entry on the keyboard or draw a doodle with the smart phones touch screen. Hopefully Nintendo will go the full hog and enable these editing tools as I see this as a potential area to skimp out on, so only the true experience can only be found on their console.
The eShop App or mobile website is in really a much more interesting idea than I think most have assumed. You see in order to login in and buy a game from your phone for you Wii U or 3DS, surely you would need to link these purchases to this ID and not the physical hardware itself? Now it is possible to create a system that locks the purchase to pre-registered hardward so even if you swap your console you could not download games bought for the previous one. However that seems even more effort and thus will finally push Nintendo to do the right thing, even if for the wrong reasons.
Now I said before that the Pokémon Company seem to be the trend setters and are willing to takes risks I think that in the future they could take the Pokémon Online Trading Card game from website and PC downloadable game to the App Store. From a technical point of view that’s not much of a change but from market perception it’s huge, and as we have seen with the Pokédex app they have no issues with in-app purchase, so I think we will see the ability to buy digital packs of Pokémon cards with real money, a feature that is not currently available on the PC version but would generation a gigantic amount of cash. I would also expect to see this release on the Wii U eShop with a special NFC card packed into each physical pack to unlock that booster for free when swipe over the GamePad, however that is a discussion for another night.
Do you think Nintendo should focus more efforts in make mobile Apps? If so, what would you like to see and if not, why?