Back in January of this year, Nintendo officially stated they were bringing an end to their long-standing Club Nintendo program after six years. Club Nintendo was a loyalty-based system where fans could upload the registration codes of different Nintendo products purchased and receive points. After March 31, Nintendo ceased the ability to register any game or hardware, and stated on the official Club Nintendo website, “In order to focus on planning for a new customer loyalty program for our fans, we’ve decided to wind-down the Club Nintendo program.”
Rumors swirled to exactly what this new system could entail, especially with Nintendo recently taking a stance in the mobile gaming industry. In their recent financial report, president Satoru Iwata offered an explanation as to the future of what Club Nintendo could evolve into. He went on to explain that Nintendo was always looking for a comprehensive way to tie all of their products together with both internet-based services and palpable hardware.
Iwata states that it was the introduction of mobile phones that may have thrown them for a loop, since at the start of production for these products the mobile gaming world was in its infancy. Iwata says, “at least five years ago, we could not foresee that smart devices would have increased in significance to be the dominant window through which consumers connect with one another and society.”
“At least five years ago, we could not foresee that smart devices would have increased in significance.”
Rather than hire a systems integration company, Nintendo will work exclusively with Japanese mobile company DeNA, which has provided portals for many websites based in Japan. DeNA also owns Mobage, one of the most popular cell phone gaming platforms in the country. It would make sense for Nintendo to team up with a company that has both Japanese roots and a proven success record in the industry. Nintendo has made it abundantly clear in the past that they do not bother developing a new idea if they believe it will not be successful. Iwata states, “We concluded that, even though this is something Nintendo cannot execute with its own internal resources, we can achieve it if we work with DeNA.”
Iwata acknowledged that he hasn’t publicly revealed many details about this project, even refusing to speak about it at this year’s upcoming E3 conference in Los Angeles, California. As for the future of Club Nintendo, he hopes that instead of rewards on products purchased, there will be interaction based on the actual product, and achievements during gameplay. This may sound fairly similar to the current system of Xbox’s Achievements and Playstation’s Trophies, however it would be quite a feat if Nintendo would also remain on par with physical rewards.
With all of this news, it would seem almost definitive that Club Nintendo will eventually evolve into a fully integrated mobile system, perhaps becoming an app that players can download on their smartphones. Nintendo’s newest venture is an exciting one and we look forward to the gaming giant presenting their final product.