Free to play really means free to download. Nintendo’s mobiles games will use in-app purchases, a common strategy for mobile titles. No details yet on how these in-app purchases will be implemented.
The games are being developed by Nintendo’s mobile partner DeNA. DeNA made Nintendo’s first mobile game, Miitomo. Miitomo was released in March and boasts over 10 million users. Many consider Miitomo to be more of a social media application with some mini-games. Miitomo allows users to spend real money on items.
Nintendo has confirmed that Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing “are pure game applications. Compared to Miitomo they have more prominent game elements.”
Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem have been popular franchises on Nintendo’s handheld platforms. Both have been well received on Nintendo 3DS. Fire Emblem Fates launched with dual versions earlier this year. The series combines chess-like combat with classic Japanese RPG story-telling.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf has sold over 10 million copies since its release in 2012. As mayor, players run an entire town. Its limit by a real-world clock seems especially well-suited for mobile gameplay. Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer was released last year to mixed reviews. Players decorated homes for animal villagers.
The mobile versions of Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem are expected this Fall for iOS and Android. Nintendo plans to release two more mobile games by 2017.