Nintendo To Release Approximately Five Smartphone Games By April 2017
Nintendo and DeNA are hard at work on their new partnership to bring Nintendo IP to smart phones. While there’s still no firm release window for the first of these (the partnership was just announced in March), we know about how many games to look forward to in the coming months.
At its most recent investor meeting, Nintendo discussed the partnership. “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,” said Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. “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.”
As we reported in March, DeNA is also working on a network that will connect a variety of devices. These include Nintendo consoles and handhelds (including the in-development NX), PCs, smartphones, and tablets. Nintendo is in the process of sunsetting its Club Nintendo loyalty program, which makes the announcement of a DeNA-powered new “integrated membership service” sound like a replacement.
This new service sounds like it will correct a long-standing criticism of Nintendo’s software licensing. Right now, games purchased for Wii U or 3DS are tied to the hardware. Iwata suggests that will change in the new structure.
“While we will announce the details of this integrated membership service at a later date, I can share with you at a high level the idea is that the consumer can access multiple devices using one common ID,” Iwata says. “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.”
For more on Nintendo's fiscal year 2015 finances, you can read our report from yesterday.
A move to an account-based licensing system is long overdue, but might also be a shot in the arm for Nintendo. The company has earned a reputation for being difficult to navigate when it comes to online play and ownership issues. Fixing this problem eliminates one of the largest legitimate criticisms the company has faced in recent years.