Mario Gets Mobile: Nintendo Confirms It's Making Games For Android / iOS

News Richard Goodwin 12:34, 18 Mar 2015

After years of will-they-won’t-they back and forth, Nintendo has now confirmed it is working on games for iOS and Android

There is a god, apparently, and he/she has seen fit to work their magic on Nintendo execs in persuading them to bring their creative efforts and characters like Mario, Donkey King and Zelda to Android and iOS. Yes – that’s right: Nintendo is now actively developing bespoke gaming content for Android and iOS. 

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, told journalists: "This will allow us to build a bridge between smart devices and gaming consoles. It doesn't mean smart devices will eat away at gaming consoles, it will create an entirely new type of demand."

But these games won’t just be ports of existing titles like Mario Kart and Zelda; no, they’re going to be “completely new game experiences,” according to the company. Nintendo is partnering up with developer DeNA for the initiative and is looking to bring all of its best-loved characters and games to mobile. 

“To ensure the quality of game experience that consumers expect from this alliance of Nintendo and DeNA, only new original games optimised for smart device functionality will be created,” Nintendo said in a statement. But it’s not just mobile Nintendo is targeting. No –– the company is looking at all platforms and its planning on bringing them all together via the magic of social gaming. 

"Nintendo and DeNA also plan to develop an online membership service that is accessible from smart devices, PC and Nintendo systems, such as the Nintendo 3DS portable system and the Wii U home console. The membership service, which is targeted to launch in the fall of 2015, will be built on DeNA's extensive experience and capabilities in online membership services."

Neither company has mentioned any specific details of what titles we can expect or when, but it is very likely we’ll see a slew of games announced throughout 2015/16, featuring characters like Mario, Zelda and Donkey King. However, reports suggest the first titles could be with us by the summer, meaning mobile users could be playing an entirely new, mobile-friendly version of Mario by the time the clocks go back. Other titles we can’t wait to here more about are Zelda and Pokemon. Ditto for a remake of Star Fox, a game that would be perfectly suited to handheld devices. 

“Premium experiences” will, however, remain on Nintendo’s console, meaning these titles are likely to be stripped down affairs similar to titles like World of Goo and Angry Birds. But this doesn’t mean they won’t be any good. They’re just likely to be more casual compared to what you get on the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS

Damien McFerran, editorial director of Nintendo Life and KYM contributor, had the following comments on the news that Nintendo would soon begin releasing content for iOS and Android: 

“While it might seem like a massive U-Turn for Nintendo, bringing its IP to mobile is a very sensible move, and one which will benefit the company as a whole. It has already experimented with smart devices via its Pokemon franchise, and games on 3DS - like Pokemon Shuffle and Steel Diver - show that the company is exploring free-to-play concepts.

“With all of this in mind, moving to mobile was a logical next step, but it's not something to be nervous about. Just as Microsoft gave smart phone users Halo: Spartan Assault without impacting the core console Halo series, Nintendo can give mobile gamers a whole host of games based on its IP but still maintain the dedicated console approach it has used for the past few decades.”

Nintendo and DeNA will also create an online “membership service” that can be accessed on smart devices, PCs and Nintendo consoles, reports Wired. The service will launch sometime this autumn and will use "DeNA's extensive experience" in developing gaming platforms.

You now have permission to start getting very excited. 

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