Nintendo finally commits to making mobile games with new partner DeNA

Nintendo finally confirmed today it will be making the leap to mobile game development as part of a new partnership with DeNA.

According to a statement released by the companies today, new Nintendo IP will be developed for smart devices and specifically optimized for this platform. In other words, rather than porting games created specifically for the Wii U or the Nintendo 3DS you can expect entirely new titles on mobile.

“In order to create completely new game experiences for smart devices, all Nintendo IP will be eligible for development and exploration by the alliance,” reads the statement. “As these consumers enjoy the unique kind of gameplay found only with Nintendo, they will have the opportunity to explore even more premium experiences on Nintendo’s dedicated video game platforms.”

Nintendo and DeNA are now planning the development of an online membership service accessible from smart devices, Windows PC and Nintendo systems. The membership service is slated to hit later this fall.

Nintendo makes plans for an online membership service

It was only last year that a high-profile hedge fund manager in Asia, Seth Fischer, argued in a letter to Nintendo president and CEO Satoru Iwata that the company is “well placed” to enter the mobile gaming market.

“We believe Nintendo can create very profitable games based on in-game revenue models with the right development team,” Fischer said at the time. “Just think of paying 99 cents just to get Mario to jump a little higher.”

Fischer added that consumers no longer require a physical product.

“Nintendo needs to embrace this thematic change in consumer demand, behavior and expectations to stay relevant,” Fischer wrote.

In early 2014, Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata rejected the notion that the struggling company will release its existing games for rival hardware platforms, but said that the company will release “engaging” mobile experiences that aim to market Nintendo games.

“We feel that simply releasing our games just as they are on smart devices would not provide the best entertainment for smart devices, so we are not going to take any approach of this nature,” Iwata said. “Having said that, however, in the current environment surrounding smart devices, we feel that we will not be able to gain the support of many consumers unless we are able to provide something truly valuable that is unique to Nintendo. Accordingly, I have not given any restrictions to the development team, even not ruling out the possibility of making games or using our game characters.

“However, if you report that we will release Mario on smart devices, it would be a completely misleading statement. It is our intention to release some application on smart devices this year that is capable of attracting consumer attention and communicating the value of our entertainment offerings, so I would encourage you to see how our approach yields results.”

Iwata added that that they are examining the use of other services on “smart devices” to improve gamer experience.

“This is to say that we will no longer spend an equal amount of resources toward providing the same service both on and off device, but will instead concentrate on the one that has greater purpose as well as room for improvement,” he said. “The environment in which our users can download paid software is one example of where we should aim to make more off-device improvements than on-device ones.”

Back in 2013, however, Nintendo of America head Reggie Fils-Aime said that the company is “constantly thinking about how to leverage mobile as a marketing vehicle.”

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