Earlier this week, Nintendo made the surprise announcement that they would be releasing games on smartphones and tablets. The company explained that they would be working with free-to-play app maker DeNA to bring some of their most "iconic" game characters (such as Mario, Zelda and Link) to mobile devices, and that these games would be new developments and not ports of Wii U and 3DS titles. Nintendo's decision seemed to go against their previous comments that they would not get into the smartphone market and that Nintendo would "cease to be Nintendo" if they did so.
But so far their new strategy is paying off. After the company made the reveal, Nintendo's stock prices saw a massive increase in value. The combination of the mobile game announcement, DeNA's capital alliance (Nintendo and DeNA are buying shares from one another) and the talk of a new Nintendo console led to a 30 percent value increase on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which is a record high for the company in 2015.
With stock prices jumping so high, it makes sense that Nintendo would want to launch these mobile games as soon as possible. The company's President and CEO Satoru Iwata has now suggested that Nintendo's first mobile games will be released as soon this year:
"Regarding the individual video game titles, when it will be launched, we will be making the announcement when each of those games are ready. At least, however, we believe that there is no mean of collaboration [sic] if we can’t launch anything, at least once, or some sort of output within this year. Also, per game title, regarding the roles of each companies will differ depending on games."
Iwata's words echo a statement from Nintendo saying that they want to "produce multiple hit titles at an early stage". If Nintendo managed to release some mobile games in fall, it would be excellent timing. Players could download the adventures of Mario & Co. on their smartphone in October and they'd still have the chance to buy a Wii U or a 3DS in time for Christmas. That's the ideal goal for Nintendo as sales of these two consoles are falling seriously short of expectations.
Launching these mobile games in fall would also be a great way for Nintendo to increase sign ups for its online membership service. Not much is known about the platform but Nintendo has said that it will build on DeNA's expertise and so it could be similar to Mobage, which is DeNA's own social gaming platform. Unfortunately, Nintendo isn't ready to make any announcements about which franchise will be turned into a mobile game first but their annual E3 event takes place in June and so we'll probably hear more then.
Are you excited for Nintendo's mobile games? Are you more interested in their new games console?