Nintendo announced on Tuesday that it will be developing games for smartphones, tablets and PCs. The company’s new partnership with Japanese game maker DeNA mean Mario and Zelda soon could be available on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Nintendo will purchase a 10% stake in DeNA for $182 million as part of a cross-shareholding deal, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Nintendo has long refused to license its properties for release on other platforms, fearing such a move would threaten its traditional, console-based business model. Over the years it has watched the mobile gaming industry grow into an estimated $25 billion market, and that was finally too big a financial pie for Nintendo to continue ignoring.
“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,” said Serkan Toto, a Tokyo-based game consultant. “This is about the most drastic, bold shift in strategy Nintendo could have undertaken.”
All of Nintendo’s intellectual properties are accessible for future app development said the companies in their statement.
Nintendo and DeNA will work to develop a “multi-device membership service for the global market,” which will be available by next fall allowing users to play games across smartphones, tablets, and PCs, as well as Nintendo’s own gaming consoles.
Games created for the new platforms will not be direct ports of existing console games, instead the companies will develop new titles optimized specifically for mobile platforms.
Information on upcoming game titles and platform availability will be announced at a later date.
While Nintendo has had success in the mobile gaming console market over the years, smartphones and tablets are the new mobile gaming platforms with consoles relegated mostly to the living room.
Nintendo’s current living room console, the Wii U continues to underperform, so the mobile device gaming industry will likely prove a boost to Nintendo’s lagging finances.