Nintendo announces new mobile platform, mobile gaming… and a new hardware device

Nintendo announces new mobile platform, mobile gaming… and a new hardware device

At a snap announcement in Japan, Nintendo announced a new business relationship with DeNA, a company involved in the provision of  mobile services. It is intended that, through this partnership they will create new mobile gaming applications featuring Nintendo IP. This will result in a number of new titles to be released on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, which can include characters from any of Nintendo’s IP.

As part of this relationship, DeNA will help Nintendo to develop a global multi-device mobile service – with a single sign-on and presence across devices. Devices mentioned included 3DS, Wii U, smartphones, tablets, PCs (functionality undefined), and what was referred to as the “NX” – a new next generation platform. While this may be exciting news for some, Nintendo’s President Satoru Iwata mentioned that they would uncover more on this in 2016. From Nintendo’s perspective, of course, the goal would be to touch a much wider audience on mobile and guide players to more dedicated home gaming devices. Iwata actually compared the new endeavour to Nintendo’s foray into TV and video games in the 1970s in terms of the cultural impact of mobile.

The new mobile platform is intended for release within this year – targeting a release in Spring 2015 (cited in the announcement as Fall 2015, of course), with at least a single initial game title also to be released this year. Iwata mentioned that it would be remiss of them to make an announcement and not follow up on this promptly.

During a lengthy question time, further details were unveiled, but much of the rhetoric was light on specifics. It was mentioned that the partnership will not necessarily be exclusive to DeNA, but it would be expected that the relationship with DeNA would be unique, in that they will be provide many of the server-side functions and analytics – although Nintendo will own and manage all of the data. More details will be revealed throughout the year, but I expect specifics around the “NX” project will be light until 2016.

Interestingly, DeNA’s largest stock holder is Sony at 13% – clearly this makes no impact on the decision as Sony is not a controlling shareholder, so don’t expect Zelda on your PS4 any time soon.

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Proud dad, retro collector, and Japanophile. Voracious consumer of all forms of media, and generally time poor. Actually, just generally poor - all of this costs money! Loves gaming in all its forms, but just not very good at it. Still - practice makes perfect. Long-term interest in video games, music, comics, TV, and movies, with recent interest in anime, manga, and tabletop games. No time like the present.
  • Two hours ago I was really excited about this. But hearing Sony stopping Playstation mobile service, I wonder if this is Nintendo being three years late by going, oh shit, mobile gaming is a thing? Better get onto that.

    Yeah yeah, Mario on a mobile sure, but has anyone tried to play a platformer on a mobile? It generally sucks. Rayman Fiesta is ok, but that only works because the game takes the moving part outv if the equation for you.

    Pokemon could work on a mobile platform, and if anything, that’s where Nintendo could make their money from this endeavour. Just as long as it’s not micro transaction plus.

    • Greg Newbegin

      Who’s to say, really? It could be great, or it could fizzle – Nintendo even said something along these lines in the announcement. But I wouldn’t compare what Nintendo is doing to what Sony did – Sony’s mobile platform was underdeveloped and undersupported, so it made them no money. I think Nintendo will put more effort into it. The games, though? That remains to be seen.

      I think the most important announcement here, though, is the online service they will be putting into place – it will likely be something to (finally) compete against Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network, and a single, persistent service across multiple devices could be good for Nintendo. But it’s all conjecture until something tangible is shown/released…

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