Nintendo Finally Goes Mobile, Announces Plan for Smartphone Games

Nintendo has been surprisingly wary of entering the mobile gaming market over the past decade, despite how lucrative it’s been for pretty much every major publisher and developer.

That all changes today though, with the announcement of a new partnership with DeNA, one of Japan’s biggest mobile gaming companies. A press release was sent out just moments ago, and it sheds light on some very ambitious plans.

So, Angry Birds: Nintendo?

We don’t have too many specific details just yet, but we do know that the games will feature Nintendo’s roster of characters, and won’t be straight ports.

The press release states that pretty much every Nintendo game franchise is up for grabs though, so expect a ton of Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon:

In order to create completely new game experiences for smart devices, all Nintendo IP will be eligible for development and exploration by the alliance. 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.

Additionally, Nintendo and DeNA will be collaborating on an online membership service that will link mobile devices, PC, and Nintendo consoles (both the 3DS and Wii U were specifically mentioned). The press release is light on the details, but it sounds like it could be a way to link data between the mobile games, and their console/3DS counter-parts.

How big a deal is this for the average gamer?

Despite the connotations that “mobile gaming” brings with it, it’s clear that Nintendo isn’t just dipping their toes into this venture, they’re diving in head first.

As part of the deal, Nintendo has acquired nearly 10% of DeNA’s total outstanding stock, while DeNA has in turn gotten 1.24% of Nintendo’s. That’s the equivalent of over $180 million dollars, and a huge investment in each others’ respective companies.

The two of them are clearly banking on this deal, and it’s not hard to see why. Bringing Nintendo’s IPs to a mobile market has been the wet dream of many a developer for a very long time, and unless this whole membership service goes terribly wrong, I can’t see this being anything but a huge cash cow.

And best of all, Nintendo is finally letting someone else handle a component of their online services. I love that company, but seriously, the eShop is just awful.

When will we be seeing all of this?

There’s no word yet on specific game releases, but the Nintendo/DeNA online service will launch this fall.

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