If you’re like me and you grew up in the 80s or 90s, your first love in video gaming probably came about on a Nintendo console. Nintendo dominated the early video game market, pushing rival Sega out of business. It wasn’t until the massive success of the PS2 that Nintendo even saw a threat to its reign as king of video games.
That’s why it’s a sad state of affairs when a mobile game like King’s Candy Crush produces more revenue in a single quarter than all of Nintendo’s releases combined. To be fair, the Q1 2014 quarter was sparse for Nintendo in terms of both the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U, but this is what gaming has come to today.
Candy Crush grossed more money than all Nintendo games combined. Sure, that’s easy to rationalize by saying “Well Nintendo didn’t have any big releases and Q4 is where they make all their cash,” but the fact remains, that’s a mind-blowing thing to be able to report. They’re not ahead by a small margin either, King is making 56% more money than Nintendo. King has mentioned in the past that Candy Crush generates 2/3 of their revenue, so, that game alone is beating everything Nintendo did.
The low barrier beg for money as soon as you run out of time games that plague the mobile sector have become a much better profit generator than thoughtful, well put together games like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. It’s irritating to watch as a person who is interested in the industry and follows it daily, as it feels as though everything that makes games enjoyable is being dumbed down to chase this crazy free to play fad.
No matter how much market research is done that shows only a very small portion of gamers of those free to play games spend money, it’s insane to see publishers like EA and Ubisoft put micro-transactions in their $60 games like Dead Space and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.
Nintendo even dabbled in the micro-transaction business to dubious results, as Bravely Default offered a monetary way to acquire special points in the game. There’s no study on how successful that model is, but it’s a disturbing trend to see, nonetheless.
While King is currently the “king of mobile” with its hit Candy Crush, remember not too long ago it was Rovio who sat on the crown with its Angry Birds franchise and before mobile even came along, Zynga was pooping up the gaming space with its Facebook hit Farmville.
Hopefully Nintendo will fare better this quarter with the release of Mario Kart 8 and E3 news on the way.