Nintendo isn’t ready for the metaverse, but will the metaverse ever be ready for Nintendo?

Can the metaverse be fun enough to be attractive to Mario and Bowser and Yoshi? Wario?
Brad Bergan
A man using a VR headset (left), and "Mario" in the original "Mario Bros." game.1, 2

Love them or hate them, NFTs are burning through every cultural institution on Earth.

But they may have just hit the motherlode.

Nintendo, the video game and console manufacturer that turned home gaming into a global sensation in the 1980s, has expressed "interest" in both the metaverse and NFTs, as soon as the entertainment superpower finds a way to make it fun, according to a Q&A session shared on Twitter.

If Nintendo could roll out something like the Mushroom Kingdom in the metaverse, and monetize it, it might make Disneyland look like a traveling circus.

Seeking the "Nintendo approach"

This Q&A session came on the heels of Nintendo reporting the third-quarter financial results of the fiscal year ending in March, which were announced to stockholders on Thursday.

The Q3 report also confirmed that the Switch gaming console had surpassed the Wii — Nintendo's previous platform — to claim the throne as its new best-selling system.

But the subject of the metaverse came up during the session, when someone wanted to know how it might relate to a game like Animal Crossing.

"The metaverse is attracting the attention of many companies around the world, and we believe that it has great potential," read a translation of the official answer on VGC. "In addition, when the metaverse is mentioned in the media, software such as Animal Crossing is sometimes cited as an example, and in this sense, we are interested in it."

But precisely how the metaverse could fit into the multiverse of Nintendo franchises remains a mystery.

"On the other hand, it is not easy to define what kind of surprise and fun the metaverse can provide to customers...If we can find a way to communicate our 'Nintendo approach' to many people in an easy-to-understand manner, we may be able to consider something, but we do not believe that this is the case at this time," concluded the answer from Nintendo. 

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Super Nintendo World. In the metaverse?

But while gaming enthusiasts, art collectors, entrepreneurs, and financiers may experience strong feelings about this development, it's important to take a step back, and look at the context.

Other gaming leaders, like EA's CEO Andrew Wilson, have expressed interest in the future of NFTs, but with no active projects beyond monitoring the emerging technology, according to an Input report.

In form, this is no different than Nintendo's position, at least, on NFTs. And other gaming publishers, like Team17, have aborted NFT partnerships because of the backlash.

On the other hand, Konami and Ubisoft are surging ahead, having already debuted their proprietary NFT ventures, but only the future will tell how their projects turn out.

The idea of a Mario-themed Super Nintendo World showing up in the metaverse, where users could alternate between playing platforming VR games like the Mario series, and meeting and hanging out with friends in the Mushroom Kingdom, is a slightly intoxicating one for lifelong fans.

You could spend a lot of time in there, living in a literal dream world, fighting Bowser, saving the princess, and taking Yoshi home.

Surely in the metaverse, there's no shortage of ideas for Nintendo to implement and monetize. The biggest mysteries might be: how and when.

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