Following its first annual profit in four years, Nintendo CEO and President Satoru Iwata told a group of investors that his company will release its first smartphone game later this year, and that four more games will follow by the end of 2017.
“You may think it is a small number,” said Iwata to investors. “But 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.”
He went on to add, “even with highly popular IP, the odds of success are quite low if consumers cannot appreciate the quality of a game.”
Indeed, for those that enjoy the quality of Nintendo’s games, it appears the company doesn’t plan to simply port its previous efforts to mobile devices. “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,” he said.
That Nintendo is the process of developing mobile games is a result of a partnership it announced in March with Japanese game publisher DeNA. The two companies each invested $181 million into one another, and agreed to co-develop games for the mobile market.
Nintendo has also said that it’s working on a successor to its Wii U home console, which has underperformed when compared to Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One. During the same briefing, Iwata said he hoped the company’s upcoming smartphone games would encourage consumers to check Nintendo’s more premium experiences.