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Nintendo doesn't want to see players spending too much on its growing roster of smartphone games, and has even asked its development partners to adjust games to stop people from splashing inordinate amounts of cash.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Nintendo fears massive amounts of player spending will damage its reputation and brand image (the company is seen by many as the friendly face of the games industry), and is happy to miss out on revenue to avoid coming across as greedy.
CyberAgent Inc, which co-developed the free-to-play RPG Dragalia Lost with Nintendo, has confirmed as much. "Nintendo is not interested in making a large amount of revenue from a single smartphone game," said a company official. "If we managed the game alone, we would have made a lot more."
The studio also confirmed that Dragalia Lost's revenue per player has fallen short of initial expectations, and that Nintendo actually told it to alter the game after players complained it was too difficult to unlock rare characters through in-game lotteries.
Although Nintendo wouldn't confirm any specific conversations, it did tell the WSJ that it chats to its partners about "various things, not just limited to payments, to deliver high-quality fun to consumers."
In the past, the company has also outlined its hope that mobile titles like Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes, and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp will introduce new players (including those in emerging markets) to some of its biggest franchises, eventually driving them towards their console counterparts.
"Certainly it's about getting an American child who's ten to have a great Super Mario experience," said outgoing Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime back in June 2017.
"But it's also about getting that adult in India who's never had access to a Nintendo platform but has heard about this thing called Super Mario, to get them engaged. China, Korea, all of these markets that historically have not had great access to our content now have access to our IP. That's a key part of our mobile strategy."