Nintendo has long resisted the call of mobile gaming, but today it entered the space in a big way. The company has announced that it will team up with DeNA, a major Japanese mobile gaming company, to make smartphone games featuring Nintendo characters. The two companies "intend to jointly operate new gaming applications featuring Nintendo IP, which they will develop specifically for smart devices," according to a Nintendo statement.
"Only new original games optimized for smart device functionality will be created."
Although the games will leverage Nintendo properties, they won't be straight ports. "To ensure the quality of game experience that consumers expect from this alliance of Nintendo and DeNA, only new original games optimized for smart device functionality will be created, rather than porting games created specifically for the Wii U home console or the Nintendo 3DS portable system," says DeNA in a statement.
To further emphasize the point that Nintendo isn't giving up on dedicated games systems, president Satoru Iwata said at a press conference in Tokyo today that Nintendo is working on a new console, codenamed NX, with a "brand-new concept." No further details were revealed, and NX will be some way off; Iwata says the company hopes to announce more next year.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata
Nintendo and DeNA will also develop a cross-platform service that runs across smartphones, tablets, PCs, and Nintendo's own devices; this is set to launch in fall of this year. Nintendo is taking a 10 percent stake in DeNA, while DeNA is buying 1.24 percent of Nintendo.
Nintendo has flirted with mobile gaming before. In a tie-up with GungHo, the company will release a Mario-themed version of Japanese mobile smash hit Puzzle & Dragons for 3DS next month, and recent experiments like Pokémon Shuffle have adopted similar free-to-play business models.
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