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Five Nintendo games will be on mobiles by March 2017

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Nintendo reveals the next step in its smartphone game plan

Nintendo has announced that it will be launching five mobile games by the end of March 2017 with the first title to arrive by the end of this year. The news came out of Nintendo’s financial results briefing, which revealed yesterday that the company had finally turned an annual profit for the first time in four years. However, with just five titles planned over the next two years, it’s clear that Nintendo won’t be diluting its own dedicated hardware business any time soon. 

“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,” Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said.

Iwata hopes its new smartphone games will become a key “pillar” of the company, increasing its overall revenue in the same way as its range of Amiibo figurines have done. However, Iwata was keen to stress that Nintendo understands the differences between developing games for smartphones and its own handheld platforms and that the development teams will have to take this into account going forward. Iwata also announced that Hideki Konno, the man behind Nintendo’s Mario Kart series, will be taking charge of its new smartphone division. 

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“All of our IP can be considered for a smart device game,” Iwata said. “On the other hand, since the game business on smart devices is already severely competitive, even with highly popular IP, the odds of success are quite low if consumers cannot appreciate the quality of a game. Also, 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.”

Nintendo first announced it would begin developing smartphone games back in March. It will be joint venture with Japanese mobile giant DeNA, who will handle most of the back-end server support, while Nintendo handles the main bulk of the game development. 

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