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.