Nintendo's early success in the smartphone space isn't really surprising if you think about it. After all, Nintendo is one of the most iconic video game brands in the history of electronic games, and it's arguably the king of mobile gaming with a string of popular handheld system launches dating back to the original Game Boy released in 1989. When viewing things from that perspective, Nintendo certainly has the experience to make a run at smartphone gaming.
Investors have taken notice and they like what they see. Nintendo's shares rose more than 8 percent to close at 16,515 yen in Tokyo on Tuesday. That's impressive on its own, but it also represents the largest jump in Nintendo's share value since February 15. Simply put, Nintendo's mobile effort is reinvigorating the company.
"They didn’t even have to use Mario to get 1 million downloads, a testament to the power of Nintendo’s content," omoaki Kawasaki, an analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities Co., told Bloomberg. "The next question is how to monetize."
Nintendo has time to figure out that out. Miitomo is brand new and only available in Japan. It features the Mii characters that debuted on the Wii U, though the twist here is that you can take a selfie and have it generate a personalized Mii. You can also tweak your avatar from a wide variety of facial features.
As for the Wii U, Japanese-language newspaper Nikkei says Nintendo plans to end production of the console by the end of the year. That likely means that Nintendo will focus its efforts on its forthcoming NX system, which we know very little about.
While the Wii U will continue to be sold after the end of the year, it's never going to catch up with the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 in popularity. As of the end of December last year, Nintendo had only sold 12.6 million Wii U consoles, a disappointing figure considering it's been on the market for more than four years.