Your favorite 1980s entertainment pastime could be coming to your smartphone.
Nintendo on Tuesday announced a $182 million deal with Japanese game provider DeNA, finally paving the way for new game apps featuring Super Mario Bros. and other Nintendo characters, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“By tapping into the smartphone we can increase the number of Nintendo fans,” Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said. “No companies in any industries can survive if they fail to adjust to changing market environments.”
The announcement came after years of Nintendo rejecting mobile platforms for its gaming system, consistently disappointed investors. Stakeholders pounced on the potential opportunity moments after Tuesday’s announcement, causing Nintendo shares to close 28 percent higher than normal the same day.
“The company seems to have totally changed its mind-set, after having resisted against mobile game development, publicly complained about the low quality of content in mobile and played down its role in the game world overall,” Serkan Toto, a Tokyo-based game consultant, told the Wall Street Journal. “This is about the most drastic, bold shift in strategy Nintendo could have undertaken.”
Iwata said the company is plotting to reach millions of new users on the mobile platform. While Nintendo will design its own games, DeNA will handle the technical aspects of bringing them to handheld devices.
In 2014 alone, mobile games generated about $25 billion worldwide, an increase of 42 percent from the previous year, according to the international games market research firm NewZoo. The firm said in October 2014 that mobile gaming was then on track to replace traditional console gaming systems.
But Nintendo isn’t saying goodbye to its traditional consoles just yet; the company is still very much vested in the older platform as another means for revenue. The Journal reported it is currently developing a new console system even while it is in talks with DeNA to develop a new mobile platform.
But could consumers decide to play only on their mobile devices as opposed to playing on consoles? It’s possible, but another idea that could also be in the works is a system based entirely online in which players can switch between consoles and smartphones, allowing them greater accessibility, and a chance to compete with the likes of X-Box and Playstation.