Will ‘Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp’ Be the Killer App Nintendo is Hoping For?

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: Nintendo)

Nintendo is releasing another in its ongoing series of mobile games this week, with the debut of Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp.

All things considered, this foray into mobile gaming hasn’t exactly gone particularly well for Nintendo itself thus far.

Yes, obviously, Pokémon GO was the biggest game of the summer of 2016, but that title wasn’t actually developed by Nintendo. It was instead made by Niantic, a third party studio that gained the license to make a Pokémon themed mobile game as part of a deal with Nintendo that saw Niantic actually earn the majority of the revenue collected from the game’s in-app purchases.

Nintendo’s other mobile offerings, including Super Mario Run and Miitomo, have proven somewhat less successful.

Yes, Super Mario Run grabs many players’ attentions, but it was hardly the enormous hit that Pokémon Go turned out to be.

Super Mario Run
Source: Nintendo

Mario’s business model, relying on a $10 fixed price to unlock all of the game rather than smaller purchases, is decidedly more honest than the majority of free-to-play mobile titles, but for some reason audiences were less happy spending $10 all in one go than they are to spend over $20 a day at a time.

The mobile gaming scene is really weird.

Nintendo’s newest game, based on the Animal Crossing series that have found a solid home on its handheld systems, hopes to take the concept of adorable cartoon animal life simulation, and apply it to the smartphone sphere.

To a certain extent, this is a pretty perfect fit. There have always been daily tasks to perform in Animal Crossing games, such as pulling weeds or digging for treasure, that can only be accomplished once a day. The game can fit snugly around a person’s daily life, and there’s no end-game, or objective; you simply play the game for a couple of hours a day to relax without the need to conform to any set of rules of play.

As such, it’s likely that Pocket Camp is going to find a pretty dedicated niche fanbase with ease. Plenty of existing fans of the franchise will jump on board, for the convenience of playing a version of a beloved game on a device that they’ll carry with them all the time.

Animal Crossing
Source: Nintendo

Pocket Camp therefore holds a little more appeal than some on Nintendo’s offerings, but let’s be fair – there’s no way this will be as popular as Pokémon. The brand appeal just isn’t there for this niche franchise.

At least this new game is a step in the right direction, if handled correctly. Nintendo’s not going to take full control of the App Store again any time soon, but their new game will at least offer enough to make their existing fans very happy.