Mobile Games Hotspot: Nintendo Titles Surpass $1B Milestone; New 'Monster Hunter' Spinoff Incoming

Mario Kart Tour Game Still 2 - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Nintendo

Elsewhere in gaming on-the-go: Battle League launches on 'Pokemon Go' and Valentine's Day brings the romance to 'Mario Kart Tour.'

Mobile Games Hotspot is a curated weekly roundup of the top stories in gaming on-the-go.

Nintendo reached a new milestone this month as it surpassed $1 billion in lifetime player spending through their mobile gaming initiative, according to a new report from analytics firm Sensor Tower. The stat covers monetization efforts across six titles over a roughly four-year period, starting with the company's release of Super Mario Run in 2016.

2017's Fire Emblem Heroes continues to dominate as Nintendo's main source of mobile income, accounting for 61 percent ($656 million in profit) of all spending within Nintendo's slate. Further down the list is 2017's Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp with $132 million and 2018's Dragalia Lost with $123 million. The three Mario-focused entries follow with last year's Mario Kart Tour claiming $86 million and Nintendo's first mobile offering, Super Mario Run, sitting at $76 million. 2019's Dr. Mario World quietly rests at the bottom with $4.8 million. 

Despite Super Mario Run and Mario Kart Tour boasting high download numbers in the early days of each game's respective launch (particularly Mario Kart Tour with its 129 million downloads in its first month), both titles struggled to match installs to profit. Of the 452 million downloads Nintendo has amassed over the years, Super Mario Run accounts for 54 percent, or 244 million installs, but falls far short of the revenue generated by Fire Emblem Heroes, a game that accounts for just 4 percent of the total download number.

Here's what else is happening in the world of mobile games:

More Monster Hunter on Mobile

A new Monster Hunter spinoff game is coming to iOS and Android: Monster Hunter Riders. As translated by Gematsu from the game's Japanese App Store page, "the story is set on the continent of Felgia, where humans and monsters live in union. Gather, raise, and combine familiar monsters from the Monster Hunter series with a unique ensemble of riders to form your own party and take on quests." Although details on gameplay are scarce, it seems to deviate from the standard Monster Hunter formula and will instead feature a "refreshing command battle system." As a free-to-play game, launch is planned for this winter, but only in Japan. No word yet on a release in any other region.

Separately, a new Monster Hunter-themed event kicked off in Draglia Lost where a Rathalos can be added to your team. The event is currently live and will end on Feb. 17.

Valentine's Day Races Into Mario Kart Tour

A pink-themed tour kicked off this week as last week's Ice Tour draws to a close. The Valentine's Tour does not feature any new tracks but instead offers a revised version of Paris Promenade, originally released during the Paris Tour. Baby Peach (Cherub) is this week's new spotlight driver while next week will see the return of Shy Guy (Chef). Outside of a few new karts and gliders, this tour also sees the addition of Pink Shy Guy as a new playable character.

Battle League Launches on Pokemon Go

First unveiled last year, the GO Battle League mode for Pokemon Go is starting to roll out to players, specifically those with a higher trainer level. Global matchmaking will allow users around the world to duel and rise through a new ranking system. Before Season 1 begins, a preseason will allow players to test out the system and help developer Niantic determine the specifics of season length and the ranking system. Rewards, like the Pikachu Libre avatar items, can be earned and every two weeks the league version will change. For players who do not wish or can't complete the minimal walk distance required to join a battle, PokeCoins can be used to instantly gain entry.