Nintendo has confirmed it will release its first smartphone game this year, with five titles in total set to land on virtual shelves by March 2017.
There’s no word on which characters will feature in them, although the Japanese gaming giant has promised that it will ‘carefully select appropriate IP’.
What we do know is that there won’t be any ports of classic titles.
The games Nintendo is working on will be all-new titles built with mobile developer DeNA and are intended to enable Nintendo to carve itself an opening in the fiercely competitive mobile-gaming space.
The idea of playing Mario on your mobile is all well and good.
And for years tech journalists have been claiming a move into mobile games would be a panacea for Nintendo's long-term financial woes.
But the question is, do mobile users really want it?
The boom in vintage games and ports suggests so. But surely Nintendo is being churlish by being so adamant about only working on original titles.
Game Boy or SNES titles would be great on mobile, even if they didn’t make much money for the company.
Nintendo says that it wants to create games that are properly optimised for mobile, with shorter levels and a more casual focus.
But it could do that at the same time as creating new games. After all, its new results show that it’s back in profit.
Mobile will not be its sole focus and with DeNA picking up much of the slack, it could afford to bring back on board gamers who fell out of love with its titles by giving them a slice of nostalgia.
It’s not like this hasn’t worked for other, non-Nintendo games.
The GTA titles which have made their way onto the iPhone are superb and offer hours of entertainment with a heap of memories thrown in too.
The original Sonic the Hedgehog was a blast to play on the iPhone.
By contrast, the new Sonic 4 titles were not. That must be a warning to Nintendo too.
New games from new developers are every bit as exciting for mobile gamers as old characters appearing in new ones from Nintendo.
Ustwo is just one example of a studio making creative and interesting games that are perfect for phones and tablets. Nintendo has a challenge on its hands to match such efforts.
It can’t rely on its brand name to do well.
Nintendo says that by only making five mobile games over the next two years, it’ll be able to pay better attention to making them better.
But it seems likely that iPhone, iPad and Android owners would far rather play a half hour session of Super Mario Bros than something that doesn’t hold many memories for them.
Only time will tell, but Nintendo’s mobile commitment seems half–hearted at best.