5 Mobile Games Nintendo Should Make After Pokemon GO

How Nintendo could become a mobile gaming behemoth.

Pokemon GO has become a smash hit for Nintendo, and a reason for them to consider a mobile-first strategy. Nintendo is already working on mobile apps with DeNA, but how could they fully capitalize on mobile with their popular intellectual properties? Here are 5 ways that they could do so.

01
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A Pokemon MMORPG

Twitch Plays Pokemon
Screenshot of the original Game Boy playthrough of Twitch Plays Pokemon. Twitch Plays Pokemon/Nintendo

Now that Nintendo and The Pokemon Company have seen how well a taste of a Pokemon game on mobile could do, it seems like the next logical step is to make a more traditional Pokemon game for mobile. While the real-world social component of Pokemon GO has made for an interesting phenomenon, the actual gameplay of Pokemon GO has been lacking for some people. It's clear that there's an audience for a real Pokemon game on mobile, and if Nintendo/The Pokemon Company made it, the game could be extremely popular and incredibly lucrative.

Now, while a more traditional Pokemon game could do well, mobile would be the perfect platform for the oft-wanted Pokemon MMORPG. Giving people a device where they could carry it around constantly might be the secret to making the game work. And of course, mobile would make free-to-play quite possible for Nintendo. Pokemon GO not only got millions of downloads, but it made millions of dollars per day at launch, the more important part. It might make sense for this to launch at some point when the Pokemon GO long-tail has been entered.

There's also an interesting secondary factor to consider here with accessibility to Pokemon GO. There are people who can't play the game because they lack mobility – say, people with disabilities or those in hospitals. In fact, a meme went around encouraging people to use lures at children's hospitals. But there's plenty of people who live in suburban or rural areas that can't enjoy this game because of the geolocation aspects. And time will tell if Pokemon GO maintains its popularity in colder months in the northern hemisphere, and especially after the initial craze ends. A more traditional Pokemon game, albeit with the social elements that have helped make Pokemon GO so popular, might be a key part of Nintendo's future. 

While online modes have been part of more recent Pokemon games if Nintendo wants to test the waters with an online experience, why not an officially-sanctioned Twitch Plays Pokemon game?

02
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Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing New Leaf Screenshot
Screenshot of Animal Crossing New Leaf on 3DS. Nintendo

This one has been announced, but there's no clue just what it will be. But a real Animal Crossing game, albeit one likely with free-to-play elements, is a perfect fit for mobile. This game's initial entry on the GameCube presaged many of the more recent entries that were about managing a town of your very own. And the most recent 3DS entry has perhaps been the most acclaimed game in the series, with ​both portable versions of the franchise being top sellers. And overall, this game makes perfect sense for mobile, where people could check in on their villages and inhabitants from wherever. Games that use similar town-building and customization aspects are proven hits on mobile. Animal Crossing is a proven hit. Combine that with the Nintendo bump from a known intellectual property, with the unique artwork and appeal that Nintendo could provide to a game like this, and the potential for a hit is high.

03
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Re-releases of classic Nintendo games

Super Mario Bros.
Screenshot of Super Mario Bros. for NES. Nintendo

People are already emulating classics such as Super Mario Bros. Why not give them the opportunity to do so legally? The main issue would be touch controls for many games, but NES games would work okay, along with many Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games. As well, the presence of controllers on mobile means that many of these games would work well in some way. Nintendo might have to loosen up on their branding, but Android controllers in modern times have more standardized layouts. And Nintendo going mobile would likely mean that they have compromised on some of their values.

Or of course, while it wouldn't make a huge difference on sales, partnering with someone like Christian Whitehead of the fantastic Sonic the Hedgehog ports for some optimized and remastered versions would be fantastic for players. But regardless, people want classic Nintendo games. There was loads of excitement for the mini NES system. A third-party system sourced from the original NES chips has sold out of preorders. Sell Super Mario Bros. on Google Play, and it's likely a perennial top 10 paid game at any reasonable price. It's basically free money.

04
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Super Smash Bros. meets Marvel Contest of Champions

Super Smash Bros. Wii U Character Select Screen
Super Smash Bros. Wii U Character Select Screen. Nintendo

The appeal of Smash Bros. is that there is an entire lineup of Nintendo characters, from the obscure to the well-known, to fight as. It's a similar core formula that has worked really well for games like Injustice, and Marvel Contest of Champions. It's one that could do gangbusters for Nintendo as well. There are countless characters for the series to rely ​on that could be introduced in a character-collecting fighting game. Not to mention, the countless variations on many of the characters that exist could help give a limitless supply of characters for years of updates. Nintendo could easily have a major hit on their hands with this sort of game. The concern would be if fans would revolt against a free-to-play Smash Bros. game to the point that it poisons the well of hype.

But Pokemon GO hasn't necessarily suffered from that, and Smash Bros. is simple enough that a mobile version could keep enough of the main franchise's fighting without feeling overly simplified. It will be worth keeping an eye on the reaction to the Skullgirls mobile game. That's a fighting game meant for hardcore fighting game players, and how its mobile version is accepted by existing fans is worth monitoring. Smash Bros. has a huge fanbase, even in the competitive field – Super Smash Bros. Melee was the game that aired before the Street Fighter 5 championships at Evolution 2016. Albeit, it was Super Smash Bros. Melee, and not the latest version of the game – the fans are particular about that particular version of the game, and perhaps they would be loathe to get attached to a mobile version. Though, that didn't hurt Injustice or Mortal Kombat X's mobile games in any appreciable way.

05
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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Screenshot of the upcoming Zelda game. Nintendo

 Nintendo could make a massive splash by releasing their newest full-fledged Zelda game on mobile platforms. The controls would likely be a challenge, but the game could be console-and-controller-first while mobile functions are there for operation's sake. But think about it: a full-fledged console game that hits mobile, with few compromises. And at a full console price. So many console games are cheap when released on mobile, but if any company could have the standing to release a full console game on mobile-powered platforms without compromising on price, Nintendo would be that company. It would be bold, but we see companies like Square Enix suggest that high-priced games and free-to-play games are the way to go on mobile.

Perhaps going with a full-fledged game on mobile at first shot would be crazy. Trying out high-priced ports of earlier games might be a good canary in the coal mine to see if people are receptive to spending big money on Nintendo games on mobile up front. They're willing to do so after release, but up front is a good question. But if they are, perhaps Nintendo could manage to both capitalize on free-to-play demand while also mollifying the concerns of console players who enjoy their games packaged in a certain way.