In an earnings call today, Nintendo CEO and President Satoru Iwata announced that the company will launch its first smartphone game by the end of 2015 as part of its partnership with DeNA. The two games companies also revealed that they plan to release 5 mobile titles by March, 2017.
Internally, Nintendo is said to have made “several organizational and personnel changes in order to properly operate the smart device business” with more changes planned as Nintendo enters unchartered territory.
In its cross-platform deal with DeNA, it will make games for a range of devices including smartphones, tablets and PCs as well as Nintendo’s own hardware featuring some of Nintendo’s most popular characters.
In today’s call, Iwata again reiterated that games on smart devices will not simply be ports of current games but will instead be built from the ground up for the new platforms:
If we were simply to port software that already has a track record on a dedicated game system, it would not match the play styles of smart devices, and the appropriate business models are different between the two, so we would not anticipate a great result. If we did not aim to achieve a significant result, it would be meaningless for us to do it at all. Accordingly, we are going to carefully select appropriate IP and titles for our smart device deployment.
Regarding the number of the titles, you may want to know that we will release approximately five titles by the end of the next fiscal year, which is the end of March 2017. You may think it is a small number, but when we aim to make each title a hit, and because we want to thoroughly operate every one of them for a significant amount of time after their releases, this is not a small number at all and should demonstrate our serious commitment to the smart device business.
In what is a dramatic change in strategy compared to recent years, Iwata hopes that the new mobile game business will form “one of the pillars of Nintendo’s revenue structure”.
Are you excited to get Nintendo games on your smartphone? Do you think the new games will be as good as 3DS games or will they stick to DeNA’s tried and tested freemium model? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!