Nintendo, in collaboration with Japanese developer DeNA, will soon begin creating original games for mobile devices using their plethora of first-party characters. The mobile games will not be ports of existing Wii U or 3DS titles as many have hoped, but instead be brand new games using Nintendo’s licensed characters. No specific characters are mentioned, but Nintendo emphasized that every intellectual property will be “eligible for development.”
Specific details on games or release dates were also not disclosed, with Nintendo only stating that this information “will be forthcoming.”
Nintendo’s plan with their mobile strategy seems to be primarily to reach a broader audience. As Iwata stated:
By tapping into the smartphone we can increase the number of Nintendo fans. No company in any industry can survive if they fail to adjust to changing market environments.
The move comes just months after Nintendo announced that the popular mobile Puzzles & Dragons would be getting its own Mario makeover with a new Mario Bros.Edition releasing in Japan this April. Other than this toe in the water, Nintendo has been mostly hesitant to approach the mobile market, often citing that their games are made specific for their hardware, so a transfer isn’t as simple as many gamers imagine.
DeNA’s mobile library mostly consists of licensed “freemium” games, where the game itself is free, then in-game purchases are required to advance or advance faster. They have partnerships with Transformers, Star Wars, Marvel, Dungeons and Dragons, and Final Fantasy as well as several first-party IPs that they plan to continue working on even with this new Nintendo deal in place. Nintendo will reportedly be handling the actual development of the games, while DeNA will handle the “technical side of things.”
Nintendo’s new mobile strategy falls right in line with what they’ve been doing on home consoles with their recent loosening grip on their first-party characters. In the past few years they have loaned out The Legend of Zelda to be made into a Dynasty Warriors style game with Hyrule Warriors, and a new Pokémon fighting game, Pokkén Tournament, is also slated to hit Japanese arcades later this year.
Also announced during the press conference were some very small bits of information about their next upcoming console, codenamed ‘NX’. Nintendo didn’t reveal much about the console, only stating that they are indeed working on the successor to the Wii U, and that they “hope to share more information” next year.
The full 77-minute press conference can be seen below.