Nintendo will release first smartphone game this year, improve online services

Nintendo logoNintendo fans won't have to wait too long to see the company's first mobile effort. In a follow-up to yesterday's financial results, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata revealed that the first of five upcoming mobile games is due for release by the end of the year. The remaining four are due to arrive by the end of March 2017. Nintendo outlined its plans back in March, announcing that it would be partnering with Japanese mobile developer DeNA to produce games. While it's not yet clear how the two companies will be dividing up development duties, a report from Japanese business outlet Sankei (translated by Siliconera) claims that Hideki Konno, producer of the Mario Kart series, would be involved.

Nintendo also revealed a few details about its other upcoming project, the mysterious "integrated membership service," which was announced alongside the next-gen NX system. Iwata said:

I can share with you at a high level the idea is that the consumer can access multiple devices using one common ID. For us to be able to bridge the gap between smart devices and dedicated game systems, we will offer advantages to consumers who use one ID across multiple devices. So far, the members input their Club Nintendo ID to use the services. With this new service, our members will be able to visit Nintendo’s website and log in with one ID, and they will receive various services including the ones based on their past purchases and gameplay records as well as services that will be an improved version of the current loyalty program. With this new membership, we are planning to deploy services that will make playing Nintendo games with their game pals more fun regardless of which platform they are accessing.

Nintendo will release first smartphone game this year, improve online services

That sounds a lot like PlayStation Network and Xbox Live and would finally bring Nintendo's online services in line with the rest of the industry. Still, it's wise not to rule out any of that Nintendo magic (or madness, depending on your point of view), and the company may well come up with something unique to differentiate itself from competitors.

Another interesting tidbit to emerge from the presentation was Nintendo's plan to revitalize 3DS sales in Japan by trying to appeal to female consumers. The 3DS has recently seen a downturn in sales in Japan, which is traditionally where Nintendo's handhelds have enjoyed high sales. Unfortunately, the company didn't go into too much detail about how it intends to win over a female audience, simply saying that it plans "to release titles that offer high potential to appeal to female consumers, and we would like to further strengthen our approach to reach a female audience covering wider generations."

Finally, Nintendo revealed just how well its Amiibo line of NFC-enabled figurines has been selling. The company has sold 10.5 million of the things since launch, with 5.7 million of them shifted in 2014 alone. Interestingly, most of those sales have come from outside the company's home country of Japan, with the US and Canada accounting for 66 percent of sales and Europe 20 percent versus Japan's 11 percent. Those robust Amiibo sales—which are pretty amazing when you think about what Amiibo actually do in games—are likely to strengthen Nintendo's plans to branch out from the core gaming hardware and software market. Most recently, the company revealed that it was partnering with Universal Parks & Resorts to create Nintendo-themed attractions at Universal's parks.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: computer games, Nintendo

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