Nintendo Making Mobile Games, Teases Next "NX" Console
After famously refusing for years to bring its popular gaming portfolio to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, Nintendo announced on Tuesday its partnership with Japan’s DeNA—one of the nation’s top mobile game publishers—to start making mobile games. In an interesting twist, Nintendo says that it will bring its popular intellectual properties to mobile platforms—but the games in which they’ll appear will be brand new, and not ports of older, popular titles.
“In order to create completely new game experiences for smart devices, all Nintendo IP will be eligible for development and exploration by the alliance,” reads the announcement. “As these consumers enjoy the unique kind of gameplay found only with Nintendo, they will have the opportunity to explore even more premium experiences on Nintendo’s dedicated video game platforms. Information on upcoming games and availability will be forthcoming.”
This is a really smart move on Nintendo’s part. While many investors have called Nintendo’s execs to the carpet for refusing to bring games to mobile devices, Nintendo’s iconic IP library is one of the few edges it has over its gaming competitors, which boast the latest and greatest hardware while bringing in third-party talent to develop exclusive games. While Nintendo’s hardware has been lackluster by comparison, its first-party games are usually the best the medium has to offer.
The problem, however, is that top notch software hasn’t been enough to translate into hardware sales. But Nintendo can’t simply bring its titles to other platforms, because then it loses one of the only reasons anyone would ever have to buy its consoles. Moreover, by not controlling the hardware, it loses the ability to provide the best gaming experiences possible.
This new arrangement—original titles starring its huge stable of characters and IPs—means it can bring customers into its ecosystem and whet their appetite for more in-depth gaming experiences on its consoles. The immediate financial result of the announcement was a huge jump in Nintendo’s stock value.
And on the subject of consoles, Nintendo teased its next console during the press conference that accompanied the DeNA announcement. According to TechCrunch, Nintendo has plans to release its next dedicated game system called the NX—though when that’ll happen, and just what it is, is still under wraps. The post quotes Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata as saying that the NX is under development with a “brand new concept.”
That might be really good! The Wii had a brand new concept—motion-based gaming—and it was one of Nintendo’s biggest hits ever. Or it could be really bad! The Wii U had a brand new concept—an oversized touchscreen controller—and has been something of a flop. Nintendo tries new and interesting ideas that sometimes work out great, like the Wii or the DS, or sometimes fall flat on their faces, like the Wii U and the pre-price cut 3DS.
Whatever the NX is, maybe Nintendo will give fans the console they truly deserve. Maybe Nintendo has been working on its own VR headset, just like Sony’s Project Morpheus or HTC Vive. Or maybe it’s some other crazy thing that we can’t even guess at.
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