Fire Emblem Heroes becomes first mobile Nintendo title to break $1 billion in revenue

In a move that displays the raw power of anime chess, Fire Emblem Heroes has become the first mobile game from Nintendo to make over $1 billion from player spending in its lifetime. With a B. All for a mobile game. And people wonder how gacha is so lucrative. People shell out for the Gatekeeper, what can I say.

The game made $29 million in Q1 2022, almost twice as much as the runner-up in Nintendo’s catalogue (Mario Kart Tour). It accounts for a whopping 50.7% of Nintendo’s mobile revenue in that time, with 54% of player spending lifetime coming from Japan (32.4% comes from the US) since the game’s launch in 2017. It’s clear and away the runaway revenue hit, even though it only has the fourth highest number of downloads (17.8 million) below Super Mario Run (310.7 million), Mario Kart Tour (227.2 million), and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp (65.4 million). With some math we can determine the average spending per user per game — Super Mario Run’s is about $.25 a user (considering the game has a flat rate of $10 to play it all, that means only about one in 20 people did so), Mario Kart Tour’s is about a $1.25 per person, and Pocket Camp averages $4.33 per person. FEH? $58.82. That’s not even as much as I spent on the game for Hector (don’t ask) and I don’t even play it anymore.



So what did FE do right? Well, it’s easy to chalk it up to cute anime people (how else can Fate GO or Genshin Impact rake in more money than a federal reserve), but fellow anime Ninty title Dragalia Lost has only made $168 and is about to shutter. It’s clearly not purely about recognizable branding, as more prominent Nintendo names like Mario Kart and AC aren’t nearly as profitable despite bigger brand bases. A combination of having a wide cast of characters (good for gacha), already known brand recognition, and a game design that was well suited to the mobile format all contributed to FEH’s success. 

Now, FEH’s total is downright meek compared to Niantic’s Pokémon GO, which has made $6 billion over its lifetime (aka it makes as much as FEH has in total each year). But that game also achieved world peace for a fleeting moment of time, so it’s in a category all its own. There’s no reason to list Heroes as anything but a runaway success for Nintendo, and I guarantee we’ll be seeing Edelgard Alts long into the future.


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