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Mobile gaming is all about numbers, trends, and analytics, but Nintendo is skeptical of the value these will bring to its future apps.

Nintendo president and chief executive officer Satoru Iwata said that he recognizes that it’s important to know how gamers are using a free-to-play app and where they’re spending money. But he also said that he doesn’t want his development teams working backward from that data to create something that matches perfectly with the current trend.

“Even though this data may be an indicator,” Iwata said in a meeting with investors, “if we focus on such numbers alone as the basis of our thinking about what actions will be most effective, it means that we will analyze why certain game applications are selling well in order to make one with a similar structure. [And that] means we will end up copying exactly what is already happening in the market for smart devices.”

Iwata said that developers and publishers were easily able to make money in the early days of mobile simply by releasing a quality app. But he points out that isn’t the case anymore, and Nintendo isn’t going to enter this space by lazily cloning other successful ideas.


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“With intense competition, generating revenue on smart devices is no longer easy,” said Iwata. “I don’t think we can realize what we aspire to by simply imitating a past success formula.”

That is a departure from the typical strategy most large publishers in the mobile space have adopted. Companies like Electronic Arts, Square Enix, and others have tried to make their own successes by releasing their own takes on megahits like Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga.

But Nintendo doesn’t even want to attempt that. Its mantra this year, as Iwata emphasized in a public statement earlier this month, is to strive for “individuality.” And it is bringing that mindset to iOS and Android as well.

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