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Nintendo and DeNA announce plans for mobile gaming space; Club Nintendo successor planned


In a joint press conference held today at 5PM Japan Time, companies Nintendo and DeNA announced a Business and Capital Alliance in which Nintendo hopes to expand the reach of their IPs through DeNA, the Japanese mobile gaming company.

No specific software or plans were hinted at, outside of a brief summary by Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata and DeNA’s Isao Moriyasu on how the alliance came to be, and the subsequent goals of the joint venture.

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Notable bits include a replacement to the now defunct Club Nintendo program:

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Iwata: Nintendo, together with DeNA, will jointly develop a new membership service which encompasses the existing Nintendo 3DS and Wii U systems, the new hardware system with a brand-new concept, NX, and smart devices and PCs, and Nintendo will be the primary party to operate this new membership service. Unlike the Club Nintendo membership service that Nintendo has been operating, the new membership service will include multiple devices and create a connection between Nintendo and each individual consumer regardless of the device the consumer uses. This membership will form one of the core elements of the new Nintendo platform that I just mentioned.

Iwata also commented on Nintendo’s philosophy to approaching the smartphone market, acknowledging that the value of Nintendo IP was paramount to creating a “flash in the pan” product:

Iwata: For many years, Nintendo has shown results as a company which produces products that satisfy consumers with their high quality at the time of the purchase. For the content on smart devices, on the other hand, to be appreciated by consumers, they must provide ever-evolving services in addition to being high-quality products.

Iwata: Many content providers who are succeeding on smart devices are depending on single hit titles. One of my goals here is, now that we are challenging ourselves with this endeavor by making use of Nintendo IP, to produce multiple hit titles at an early stage after we start releasing our software on smart devices.

Additional comments were made in regards to the nature of planned mobile games being unique to the platform, rather than simply porting existing software and game design to smartphones:

Iwata: Please also note that, even if we use the same IP on our dedicated video game systems and smart devices, we will not port the titles for the former to the latter just as they are. There are significant differences in the controls, strengths and weaknesses between the controllers for dedicated game systems and the touchscreens of smart devices. We have no intention at all to port existing game titles for dedicated game platforms to smart devices because if we cannot provide our consumers with the best possible play experiences, it would just ruin the value of Nintendo’s IP.

DeNA’s Moriyasu summarized the intent of the alliance as such:

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Moriyasu: Our new business alliance, as Iwata-san discussed earlier, consists of two parts. One is to jointly develop and operate gaming apps that use Nintendo IP, for smart devices. The other is to build together Nintendo’s new online membership service.

For several years, Nintendo has maintained a stance as a company focused on making dedicated gaming hardware and games. Iwata commented on having underestimated the dedicated video game hardware market when transitioning between generations, and it appears that the course of action that Nintendo has decided to take is rooted in cooperation with another who understands the modern online ecosystem and mobile market.

Full translated text and accompanying slides available here: http://www.nintendo.co.jp/corporate/release/en/2015/150317/index.html