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Leave it to Nintendo to steal the show, even though it was supposed to be Apple and Sony’s day with their keynotes, with the announcement of Super Mario Run for iOS. The sight of Shigeru Miyamoto and Bill Trinen on an Apple stage showing off a Mario game for a phone stunned people. So much that they were still talking about it when Apple was trying to showing off the iPhone 7 for the first time. It also didn’t cease when Sony half-heartedly announced the PS4 Pro and Slim models later that day.
Even though the game controls like a more paced runner, the sheer fact that Nintendo was showcased on an Apple event (along with Pokémon Go’s developer Niantic, who plugged Nintendo further) proves that we’re dealing with a different Nintendo. One that needs to take what they’re doing and apply it to their next system, the NX. Here are some takeaways that the relationship between Apple and Nintendo can be used to make the NX a better device in the long run.
We’ve seen this a lot with Sony and Microsoft. Apple saw that Nintendo is the next big thing with mobile gaming, and did something or another to get timed exclusivity with the launch of Super Mario Run. The game is still coming to Android, but later on in 2017. This is not unlike the 30-day timed DLC exclusivity Sony paid for Call of Duty, or the marketing rights Microsoft got with games like Madden 17 and Final Fantasy XV.
Nintendo has done similar things like this too, but usually with whole games being exclusive, like the recent Monster Hunter games, Dragon Quest IX or Sonic Colors. Nintendo needs to see what Apple did to get them on stage, and do the same with Activision, EA, Bethesda, Take-Two and others who have abandoned the Wii U. With Mario characters/modes in EA Sports games, or Nintendo-only DLC for the multi-platform Dragon Quest XI (which is confirmed for NX), people will rather buy an NX version of these.
This has been successful in the past. The Nintendo version of Skylanders Superchargers sold better thanks to Bowser and DK being exclusives. I’ve seen people buy the GameCube version of Fight Night Round 2 and NBA Street 3 for the GCN version of Super Punch-Out!! and the Mario characters respectfully. Just do it more often with a wider array of games and publishers.
They’ve been doing this with Universal Studios making Nintendo theme parks and now with the mobile space with Miitomo, Pokémon Go and Super Mario Run; but Nintendo needs to continue making sure people talk about them. It’s been working well with 2DS’s flying off shelves thanks to Pokémon Go creating an appetite for the legit Pokémon games.
The first thing is get a cartoon based on one of their popular IPs green-lit. Mario, Splatoon and especially Animal Crossing make good choices. Heck, the Super Mario Bros. Super Show was a crucial factor of me becoming a Nintendo fan. We’ve seen the overlapping fanbase when a show also has a game like a licensed out Spongebob game, but vice-versa applies as well – with the most popular example being Pokémon. Kirby, Sonic and others have seen bumps in popularity, and sales, when their shows were in syndication.
That goes with whoever does their marketing too. Recently, Nintendo’s commercials have had a unified branding. The Nintendo logo starts it off with a sound effect of the game in question. See the following commercials for example. It’s clever how the beginning catches the watcher’s attention then gets into the meat of the contents:
That’s awesome! That right there needs to continue and be uniform from now on. Stupidly enough, commercials for games like Xenoblade Chronicles X and Pokken Tournament didn’t have these intros.
All of this unification of branding recently should go even further. However it’s all moot if the NX doesn’t benefit from it. This includes keeping the Nintendo brand in the NX’s final name. The system must don “Nintendo” somewhere, and by all costs avoid the Wii and DS names.
Exposure like this doesn’t come often, and ironically Nintendo has gotten their fifteen minutes of extra fame twice recently, the first with Pokémon Go and now with the Apple keynote. The NX is totally going to get attention. Having that extra bump of exposure recently allows them to create a plan to allow those folks beyond gaming to see what this device is and what it can do. It’ll make people think “Man, I have really seen Nintendo in the news lately.”