The Nintendo And DeNA Merger: What Features We Want For The NX, Mobile Games And The New Club Nintendo Service
Yesterday, Nintendo announced a new partnership with mobile games giant DeNA to bring not only a new console into existence some time in 2016, but to launch a new cross-platform membership service to replace Club Nintendo.
Details are few; the console is called NX, the two companies will not port any existing games onto smartphones, only original games; and DeNA does free to play really, really well. The room for speculation and desires are quite high.
Let's run down a list of things we hope to see come from this new partnership, especially with regards to how they will handle the next iteration of their membership service. Most of these can be summed up with 'convenience' and some heavy, heavy streamlining, but here are the specifics:
The biggest thing we want is the one that has already been announced: cross platform accessibility. Wouldn't it be nice to be hanging out at and realize, 'Hey, I really want to download that Mario Bros game!' All you have to do is fire up your phone or computer and voila, you can have the download starting immediately. Sure, the new games may only just be for mobile, but a new mobile app that lets you update your profile, manage your games and add friends at any time is a must have in this day and age. Fold the eShop, Virtual Console and Club Nintendo pages into themselves to create one, single unified and easy to navigate site and app.
Taking a page from Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo coud boost brand loyalty by introducing a rotating crop of free tiles (similar to the monthly ones offered by the other two). Nor am I just talking about the sheer amount of F2P titles that will hit the mobile markets, but games for the NX (and Wii U and 3DS). Every now and then a free title pops up in the current eShop or Virtual Console, and while I want you to keep your own Nintendo-ness intact, giving us something to look forward to each month is great. They don't have to be the biggest games in the world, because...
No tiered system. What I love about the Wii U and 3DS is that you can play online without having to pay for it, it creates a more tight-knit community because there are no haves and have nots, divided like the Gold and PS+ members for the other guys, there are just 'Nintendo players'. Given the nature of DeNA and its social platform Mobage, which relies heavily on freemium microtransactions, we'll see if the House of Mario can scoot around a walled approach to internet community.
I am not against microtransactions on a whole, but be reasonable about them. They can work, and work well, when applied correctly. Remember, you're Nintendo. That means you don't have to go nuts with them, but also: people will buy what you are selling because you're great at making new content.
The NintendoID was a step in the right direction in terms of social interaction. No longer held down by the constrictive friend codes, players could now play with not only their real world friends - and who has those anymore? - but with the random players they met online. The NintendoID still doesn't let you import you friends list from 3DS to Wii U; and considering the 'cross platform connectivity' of it, that would be a nice touch for us old geezers.
I think it's safe to say that Wii name brand isn't working. Come up with something new, something exciting and something that doesn't sound like an add-on for a system over 100 million people already bought.
As for the mobile games themselves, it's easy to guess what they'll try for. A new Dr. Mario match 3 puzzle fighter game similar to Candy Crush, a Mushroom Kingdom builder like The Simpsons: Tapped Out; a Zelda-esque Clash of Clans knock off. And card games. Card games galore!
Finally, a new Animal Crossing title with the option to murder Mr. Resetti because you know he's going to be a thorn in your side always telling you to buy more of this, buy more of that. The satisfaction alone will be worth all the grief that mole put us through over the years.
Everything is awesome and nothing is awesome about the new deal between the two companies. We can't wait to see how they will enter into the new market together. What are some other things you hope to see from both the NX and the emphasis on mobile titles and the membership service?