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Nintendo’s next big smartphone game embraces the freemium business

Nintendo’s next big smartphone game embraces the freemium business
[Illustration: courtesy of Nintendo]

Nintendo is bringing another one of its hit games to iOS and Android on November 22 with Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. But after last year’s Super Mario Run failed to meet sales expectations, the company is trading premium pricing for the free-to-play model that currently dominates mobile game spending.

Like other Animal Crossing games, Pocket Camp has players create their own living spaces and befriend other animal characters in a cartoonish setting–this time in a campground. The biggest new feature–and the main driver of microtransactions–is a crafting system for items and furnishings. As IGN notes in an early review, players can buy “Leaf Tickets” to cut down the amount of real-world time it takes to create new items, and some characters from the console games require those tickets as well.

Although Nintendo has dabbled in freemium mobile games with Fire Emblem Heroes, Animal Crossing is a much more popular series, with 10 million unit sales of the previous game on Nintendo 3DS. The freemium model could prove lucrative, and if Nintendo were to announce an Animal Crossing game for the red-hot Nintendo Switch, it could help promote the company’s dedicated game hardware business as well.JN