Nintendo is aiming to increase its output of mobile games and it’s looking for mobile developers to help out, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
Nintendo already has a partnership with the mobile developer DeNA, formed in 2015, but according to The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo also recently had partnership talks with developer GungHo Online Entertainment. GungHo is the developer behind the Puzzle and Dragons series, which has games on smartphones and Nintendo’s 3DS line of handheld consoles.
GungHo denied to The Wall Street Journal that any such talks have taken place and did not respond to our request for confirmation. Nintendo declined to comment.
Since March 2016, Nintendo has released four mobile games, falling short of its original output goal of five mobile games by March 2017. The failure to meet this goal is likely what led Nintendo to start looking at partnering with new mobile developers, as well as the growth of the mobile game industry as a whole.
According to a recent report from digital data firm Newzoo, the mobile gaming industry is on a steady rise and is the largest growing sector in gaming, accounting for over 40% of the gaming industry’s worth in 2017 at $50 billion.
The fact that Nintendo may be looking to increase its output of mobile games is a surprising shift for the company which just a few years ago seemed like it would never branch out beyond its own consoles, let alone release an original Super Mario game on smartphones.
The company’s willingness to double down on mobile is even more surprising, considering Nintendo was pretty open about the fact that its second mobile game, Super Mario Run, didn’t meet Nintendo’s sale expectations. The game, though free to download, requires a $10 fee if players want to go beyond the first few levels.
Regardless, there is another side to Nintendo’s (possible) move into mobile: Nintendo may be looking to convert its mobile game players into Nintendo fans. According to The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo has seen a rise in sales of Animal Crossing games for 3DS since the release of its fourth mobile game Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp in November.