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Popular Nintendo characters are coming to mobile this year

But who?

Mario might be leaping to your smartphone sometime this year. In an article in Japanese newspaper the Mainichi Shimbun, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima, who was appointed in September, announced plans to release smartphone apps starring famous Nintendo characters by the end of 2016, though he didn't provide details which characters or franchises might make the shift to mobile.

Miitomo
Miitomo

Nintendo announced its plans to start making mobile games last year through a partnership with DeNA, but to date the company has only announced one title, the free-to-play social app Miitomo, which is expected to launch in March. However, that game doesn't star familiar faces like Mario or Pikachu, instead focusing on the player-created Mii avatars that were popularized with the original Wii console.

Former Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, who passed away last July, previously said that Nintendo wouldn't "do anything that may hurt Nintendo's brand image," when it came to adapting popular franchises for mobile. Nintendo is expected to launch four additional mobile games by March 2017, and the company is also partnering with The Pokemon Company and former Google subsidiary Niantic Labs on the augmented reality mobile game Pokemon Go.

Outside of mobile, Kimishima also re-iterated plans to further detail the company's mysterious Nintendo NX device later this year, which is widely expected to replace both the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. Previous reports claimed that the NX would be a mobile / console hybrid, powerful enough to compete with current-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft. Kimishima has previously said that the device would be a big departure from the Wii and Wii U, explaining that it would be "something unique and different."