Nintendo is finally about to release its first mobile game

The company had been resisting going to mobile for years, and had seen its business suffer

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
October 28, 2015
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When Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata passed away from cancer earlier this year, there was one aspect of his legacy as the head of the company that was hard to ignore: how he faltered when it came to mobile.

As the gaming community moved away from their consoles and toward their phones, Nintendo was slow to evolve, and the company has been suffering for it. It was only earlier this year that the company finally around on the idea.

Now Nintendo is about to release its first smartphone game, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. The game will be unveiled on Thursday by CEO Tatsumi Kimishima, who took over the job in September.

The game is a result of Nintendo's partnership with DeNA, which is revealed in March, to set up a mobile game platform, as well as plans to develop smartphone games with Nintendo characters, including Super Mario. This was Iwata's last major act as CEO of Nintendo.

The companies said they would release their first game by the end of this year. They plan to have five in total by March of 2017. No details of the new game are known yet, including which of Nintendo's franchises it will feature, though Super Mario Bros. seems like an obvious choice, as it is their most well-known and beloved franchise.

Considering the fact that Super Mario Brothers just turned 30 years old, and yet the franchise is still going strong, indicates that it may not be too late for Nintendo to stay afloat in an ever-changing gaming ecosystem.

The company has struggled in recent years, though, as it went up against the rise of mobile gaming, an area that the company, and Iwata, were extremely late to catch on to.

The honest truth is that Nintendo needs mobile if it wants to remain as a viable gaming company going forward. In 2012 the company saw its first annual loss in over thirty years and it just yesterday reported an operating profit for the first half of its fiscal year for the first time in five years. 

Nintendo recorded an operating profit of ¥8.98 billion (or $74.6 million), as compared to a loss of ¥215 million a year earlier. Analysts had been expecting an operating profit of ¥14.4 billion.

Still earnings fell short of analyst expectations, as momentum for the company’s aging consoles, including the Wii U and 3DS hand-held devices, have begun to sag. The Wii has sold more than 101 million units in all, while Nintendo DS models have combined for over 154 million units sold, which makes it the best selling handheld game console of all time, but both have been on the market now for years.

In addition to the mobile game, Nintendo is also said to be developing a new console, something that Kimishima might also talk about on Thursday.

VatorNews has reached out to Nintendo for comment on this report and we will update this story if we learn more.

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