Pokémon Go Is Driving Fundamental Change at Nintendo

Pokémon Go has been an unprecedented hit, a phenomenon that has exploded and awakened the child in all of us. With its release across Europe and Asia and now Canada, Pokemon has become the no. 1 game in terms of daily active users in the US (21 million), rushing past Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans. And on top of that it’s increased Nintendo’s value by $17 billion, despite Nintendo owning only a third of it. Now why wouldn’t that drive some change in the company that, up til now, has been reluctant to fully embrace mobile gaming?

Pokemon Go’s immersive experience has sent the numbers climbing beyond expectation. By certain estimates around 5.9 percent of all US Android users have it on their phones, 5% of all Canadian Android users have it on their phones (the latter was even before the game launched in Canada) and with the users in Europe and Asia, that brings it to a total of 10-50 million users on Android*. As for iOS, SimilarWeb sadly doesn’t have the number of installs on that.

Last year Satoru Iwata, the new CEO of Nintendo cautioned that though Nintendo was going into mobile gaming, they wouldn’t change their philosophy and would still remain a console company. He’s got to be singing a different tune now. Bring on Zelda, bring on Mario and Luigi, bring on Donkey Kong, bring on everything. Nintendo is already scheduled to release four games through the financial year to March. The next two are Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem. But the success of Pokemon Go might just prompt Nintendo to bring out the big guns like Mario or Zelda.

Nintendo’s strategy to never fully embrace mobile gaming won’t work any longer. If anything, people opposing this strategy will either be let go or be confined to a ceremonial position by the shareholders. Sorry, that’s how business works. If you have an opportunity that actually stands a chance at breaking the $4 billion dollar a year wall (yes Pokemon Go does), then it makes perfect sense to pursue the hell out of it.

“Over the last decade they never compromised on the software side. That’s why they’ll blow everybody out of the water once they start take iOS and Android more seriously than they do now…”

Serkan Toto, founder of Kantan Games (Japanese game industry consultancy)

Seth Fischer, founder and chief investment officer at Oasis Management, has been a loud shareholder at Nintendo, pushing for a mobile gaming revolution. He is undeniably happy at the success of Go. He believes that this will bolster his claims so he can make Nintendo utilize their 4000+ patents in mobile gaming and multiplayer gaming to generate $290 to $570 million a year from licensing deals.

Missed opportunities usually mean a slow and painful death in the tech world. Just look at what happened to Kodak and Nokia, the giants of yesterday. However, this is a rare instance when Nintendo’s death has been delayed by a last minute leap of faith. If they want to capitalize off it they better act fast, Pokemon Go may have caught on lightning fast but the word fad is just one letter away from the word fade.

*=taken from similarweb.com