Screenshot from Fire Emblems Heroes

Nintendo’s mobile games top $1bn lifetime revenue, 61% of which was generated by Fire Emblem Heroes

Nintendo’s six mobile games have generated $1 billion (£768m) in total lifetime revenue.

In a new report by analysts Sensor Tower – which does not include Nintendo Switch Online nor social app Miitomo – a whopping 61 per cent of that income, $656 million (£504m), was generated by strategy RPG Fire Emblem Heroes. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, was the second highest-grossing Nintendo title with 12 per cent of all user spending, whilst Dragalia Lost came in close on Animal Camp’s heels with an 11 per cent share.

Although Super Mario Run remains Nintendo’s most-downloadable mobile game, it contributed a much smaller share of overall revenue at just 7 per cent. Mario Kart Tour took 8 per cent of the revenue, and Dr. Mario World generated less than 1 per cent.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Nintendo is most successful in its home market of Japan, where it generated $581 million (£446m), 54 per cent of its overall mobile game revenue. The US came in second with $316 million/£242m (29 per cent), even though there’s a higher number of Mario Kart Tour and Super Mario Run in-game spenders there. 

Though Nintendo’s highest-grossing title, Fire Emblem Heroes, has only accounted for 4 per cent of the total of it’s 452 million mobile game downloads. Super Mario Run holds the crown with the most – 244 million – while Mario Kart Tour’s 147 million installs represents 32 per cent of the share.

“Nintendo has been experimenting with various monetisation strategies since it first entered the mobile market in mid-2016,” the analysts said. “While its 2016 earnings from Super Mario Run amounted to a modest $26 million, it was in February 2017, with the hugely successful launch of Fire Emblem Heroes, that Nintendo found its mobile footing. Despite being lower ranked in terms of downloads share, the financial success of Fire Emblem Heroes—which boasts average revenue-per-download of $41—suggests that Nintendo has hit upon a winning formula with the gacha model.”

In other Nintendo news, a complaint against Nintendo’s digital sales practices has been dismissed by German courts. German and Norwegian consumer advocates took Nintendo to court for preventing consumers from cancelling pre-orders. The complaint, which was first lodged in early 2018, said that preventing customers from changing their minds about a pre-order contravened European consumer law.

If you thought Pokémon Go’s best days were behind it, think again. In another recent report by Sensor Tower Store Intelligence, Niantic’s fan-favourite augmented-reality game has just had its biggest year to date, generating an estimated $894 million (£688m) in gross player spending last year, making 2019 the company’s most successful year to date.

In comparison, when it launched in 2016 the game grossed $832m (£640m). Overall, Pokémon Go generated a staggering $3.1 billion (£2.3bn) in lifetime gross revenue.

According to the analysis, two of its best months ever for revenue came in August and September 2019 following the introduction of Team Rocket, and most of its revenue is generated within the United States, where it picked up $335 million (£257m), or 38 per cent of all user spending. Japan fans were runner-up for revenue with $286 million (£220m), or 32 per cent of the user spending share.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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