Nintendo’s mobile games top $1 billion in revenue

Nintendo's mobile games have collectively made $1 billion.
Image: Nintendo

The future of gaming is currently up for grabs. Between powerful next-gen consoles, accessible mobile titles, and lightweight cloud gaming, the industry is up for grabs. While it will never become attached to just one platform, the growing popularity of mobile games certainly can’t be understated.

Nintendo, one of the world’s most popular video game companies, is making a splash in that market. Its collection of mobile titles recently broke the $1 billion revenue milestone. That surge is led by its strategy RPG “Fire Emblem Heroes” and the arcade-style “Super Mario Run.” The figures come from Sensor Tower, a data analysis firm.

Nintendo Goes Mobile

When Nintendo released its first mobile game (“Super Mario Run”) back in 2016, the reception was far from enthusiastic. In fact, many were unsure whether or not the company would ever release a second title. However, it should be thankful that it did release “Fire Emblem Heroes” in 2017.

Build your hardware projects with today

That title alone has accounted for 61 percent of Nintendo’s mobile game revenue by bringing in an astonishing $656 million. The strategy RPG utilizes a “gacha system” in which players make in-app purchases that randomly unlock new characters and items. Thanks to seasonal items and regular updates, “Fire Emblem Heroes” has become a source of recurring revenue for the gaming giant.

Across all of its titles, Nintendo has amassed an impressive 452 million downloads worldwide on both Android and iOS. Notably, “Fire Emblem Heroes” accounts for just 4 percent of that figure. Yet, it has an average revenue-per-download of $41. That nearly puts it in line with some of Nintendo’s Switch titles.

Meanwhile, “Super Mario Run” has acquired the most downloads throughout its lifetime with 244 million. It’s worth noting that the game operates on a different payment structure than several of Nintendo’s other mobile offerings. Rather than making repeated in-app purchases, players must cough up $10 to access all but the first few levels. It has generated $76 million in revenue.

Awaiting the Next Big Hit

Interestingly, Nintendo’s latest mobile release, “Mario Kart Tour,” doesn’t stand out as the smash hit it was expected to be—at least not yet. The racing title received mixed reviews at launch but is a fun, frantically-paced game overall. It has been downloaded 147 million times and raked in $86 million.

It’s worth noting that “Mario Kart Tour” is the youngest of Nintendo’s mobile titles by far. “Tour” works on a gacha system similar to “Fire Emblem” and has the potential to be a lucrative offering if it is able to retain players. In just a few months, it already passed “Super Mario Run” in terms of revenue and will only keep growing in the days to come.

Other titles include “Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp” with earnings of $131 million and “Dragalia Lost,” which brought in $123 million.

With revenues topping $1 billion, it’s obvious that Nintendo has figured out how to capitalize on the growing interest in mobile gaming. It will be interesting to see how much it pursues the area moving forward. Thanks to its portfolio of beloved characters and its timeless brand, Nintendo should be able to continue producing mobile hits that pad its bottom line.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here