Nintendo has announced today that it has entered into a business partnership with Japanese firm DeNA to create mobile games and apps for smartphone devices. While Nintendo has largely stayed clear of the smartphone market, which has seen exponential growth over the past five years, this new arrangement will see the company develop games specifically for such devices.
Nintendo did however make it clear that the new games will not be ports of previous games but rather titles that have been specially developed and optimized for smartphones. DeNA will have access to all of Nintendo’s intellectual property though, meaning that players could soon see games from some of their biggest franchises, such as Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Pikmin, Donkey Kong and Pokemon arrive on their mobile devices.
The announcement also revealed that both Nintendo and DeNA are also working on a cross-platform service that will operate across Nintendo’s various consoles as well as smartphones, PCs and tablets, and let users access their accounts and manage their memberships.
DeNA is a Japanese based company that operates one of the most popular smartphone gaming platforms in Japan, known as Mobage. It also provides e-commerce technology and websites to other companies. This move appears to make sense then, with Nintendo partnering with a firm with plenty of experience in creating and launching mobile games as well as managing online accounts. The new partnership will also see Nintendo purchase a 10% stake in DeNA and DeNA will receive 1.24% of the total shares of Nintendo in exchange.
The press conference also saw Nintendo chief executive Satoru Iwata ease fears that the company would be giving up hardware development by explaining that a brand new console with the codename of NX. “Of course, the challenge of asking our consumers to purchase dedicated video game hardware has become harder now that smart devices have widely spread,” he stated. “However, we recognise that our business model of producing both video-game hardware and software is effective even today, and we do not share this pessimistic view of the future for dedicated video-game systems.”
“As proof that Nintendo maintains strong enthusiasm for the dedicated game system business, let me confirm that Nintendo is currently developing a dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept under the development codename NX. It is too early to elaborate on the details of this project, but we hope to share more information with you next year.”
Although Iwata stated that more details would come next year, Nintendo could also reveal some information at this year’s E3 that will take place in June.