After many years of facing constant threat from smartphones, Nintendo Co. has finally decided to move forward by entering an alliance with Japanese mobile game company DeNA Co. to develop games for mobile devices. This happy news announced on Tuesday means Nintendo’s trademark games like Super Mario and Pokemon could soon be played on smartphones and tablets.
The companies announced that they would buy $181.4 million worth of share from each other company as part of a capital and product tie-up. Through this, Nintendo will acquire 10% stake in DeNA and DeNA will acquire 1.2% stake in Nintendo.
The gaming apps, that includes Nintendo’s iconic game characters, development and operations would be a joint effort of both the companies. The launch of the gaming apps are expected this year. Along with it, an online membership service accessible on mobile devices and Nintendo’s existing 3DS portable system and its Wii U console are also expected.
“This will allow us to build a bridge between smart devices and gaming console,” Nintendo President Satoru Iwata told reporters. He also stated, it does not imply that smart devices will kill the gaming consoles but would create a new type of demand.
Analysts have suggested Nintendo long back to target on mobile devices after its loss of customers to both smartphone gaming app and console competitors like PlayStation maker Sony Corp and Xbox maker Microsoft Corp.
Despite, all this Nintendo had been resisting such pressure on the hope that its ‘Mario Kart 8’ game would become a hit. But apparently, the game was not a hit and it halved its operating earning target for the fiscal year through March to $169 million, citing weak sales of its 3DS handheld device in the year-end holiday season.
Similar to Nintendo, DeNA which grew from a start-up launched in 1999 to a major online gaming company, has also lost its momentum in the last two years as its users moved to other gaming apps. DeNA specializes on games played on browsers. Now, as a result of the capital alliance, Nintendo will become the DeNA’s second largest shareholder next to its founder, Tomoko Namba, who has 13.1% stake.
Super excited to be able to play Super Mario on phones soon!