So apparently pigs have wings. And I may have to eat my hat. And Nintendo has announced their intention to team up with major Japanese mobile gaming development firm DeNA to create smartphone games starring your favourite Nintendo characters.
It’s been a long time coming.
There have been flirtations with mobile gaming in the past, but overwhelmingly Nintendo has demonstrated an aversion to mobile gaming. By refusing to license their beloved characters for mobile use, Nintendo has been motivated by a fear that doing so would lessen the value of their console-based titles. Since taking this stand, sales of game consoles and hand-held devices have done nothing but decline… so much so that it is expected mobile gaming will all but replace them in 2015.
Have no fear, Nintendo hasn’t completely abandoned their antiquated way of thinking; president Satoru Iwata has assured us that they have not given up on dedicated games systems. Though few details are known, the next Nintendo-branded console (which has been codenamed ‘NX’) promises to be a brand-new concept (which is a good thing following the poor performance of their last system).
So how do they successfully do both? Instead of creating direct ports of existing games, Nintendo and DeNA plan to develop all-net, unique applications filled with familiar characters. Using this strategy, mobile gamers will have the chance to fall in love with Nintendo stylings such that they may feel persuaded to also embrace a console.
To support their development initiatives, Nintendo and DeNA are also developing a new membership service and game distribution platform that promises to be entirely cross-platform. This secondary project is expected to launch in the fall of this year, which we hope means their first mobile gaming titles will drop around that time too.
Not much else is known just yet but given their love of the bottom line, it’s unlikely these new Nintendo-branded games will be free to play –especially when they have spoken out so loudly against in-app purchases as a means to generating revenue. That may not be such a bad thing though when young people are included among your target demographics.