Nintendo reportedly looking for new help with mobile games after falling behind schedule

Super Mario Run on iPhone

For years, Nintendo was against putting any of its iconic video game franchises onto mobile devices. That all changed in September 2016 when the company announced Super Mario Run at an Apple reveal iPhone event.

To develop Super Mario Run, Nintendo enlisted long-time China-based smartphone game maker DeNA, the first of a multi-game partnership. Nintendo even acquired a 10 percent stake in DeNA that at the time was valued at $182 million USD.

Now, however, the Japanese gaming giant is apparently looking for help with mobile games elsewhere.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo is seeking other mobile game developers after falling behind schedule with DeNA. Originally, the two companies had said they would introduce five smartphone games by March 2017. So far, though, only three were released within that period — Super Mario Run, Miitomo and Fire Emblem: Heroes — while their fourth title, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camplaunched last month.

Nintendo and DeNA’s mobile efforts have seen mixed results over time. Back in October, the company revealed that while Super Mario Run has been downloaded 200 million times, the game has “not yet reached an acceptable profit point.” On the other hand, Nintendo said Fire Emblem: Heroes fared better and is “on track to meet our overall business objectives, including our profit objectives.”

Going forward, the WSJ reports that Nintendo has “held discussions” with a variety of other mobile game makers, including GungHo Online Entertainment, the Tokyo-based developer of the hit Puzzle & Dragons smartphone games. A GungHo spokeswoman told the WSJ that talks between the two companies did not take place.

It’s worth noting that GungHo has a history with Nintendo, having previously released versions of Puzzle & Dragons for the Nintendo 3DS. GungHo was also given license to use Mario characters in the 2015 game Puzzle & Dragons Z + Super Mario Bros. Edition. 

In spite of these reports, it seems that DeNA will continue to work on Nintendo mobile games. CEO Isao Moriyasu said at an earnings news conference in November that the company is working on currently unannounced smartphone games based on Nintendo properties. Nintendo has not yet commented on these reports.

In other Nintendo news, the company recently announced that it has sold ten million Switch systems since March 2017.

Source: The Wall Street Journal