DeNA and the future of Nintendo


This morning, Nintendo made two major announcements, one was their partnership with Japanese Mobile App developer, DeNA, pronounced DNA. The next was revealing a codename of a new piece of Nintendo hardware called NX.


So what is this partnership with DeNA about? Nintendo has given the rights of their IPs accessible to DeNA. Meaning that DeNA can make mobile versions of Mario, Zelda, Metroid, or any other Nintendo franchise onto Android and iOS platforms.

Is this a bad thing? Not really. It was obvious that Nintendo has been struggling since the end of the original Wii’s life cycle and the Wii U flopping on it’s release back in 2012, Nintendo had to do something; and that was to get onto the mobile market.


Something that is obvious is the rise in mobile gaming. These days I see people playing games on phone and tablets rather than PSPs and DS systems. The other day I was in a Subway restaurant and there was a kid at the next table from me playing the mobile version of Minecraft on his Dad’s tablet. At the same time I notice a little girl clutching her Mother’s iPhone playing Candy Crush. It’s pretty obvious that gaming has migrated from the portable consoles to mobile devices. This is more of a thing in Japan, where daily commuters have replaced their PSPs and DSes with smart phones. It’s a shame, but the portable gaming industry in Japan is pretty much dead, with only Monster Hunter being its only saving grace; and that’s not enough to keep the industry valid.


To be honest, as much as this was a shock for me, I really should have noticed it. Not only did Nintendo do a joint-venture with Gung-Ho to make a Mario edition of the famous Japanese iOS game Puzzle and Dragons. There was a rumour going around a few months back mentioning how Nintendo was going to release Game Boy games onto Android and iOS. It was simply a slow on-going process that for us, the consumers, didn’t really notice until today.

Nintendo giving out their IPs to other companies isn’t new. Back in the early Nineties when Nintendo fell out with Sony after a slightly dodgy contract agreement, Nintendo went over to Philips who at the time, released the CD-i. Nintendo gave Philips the right to use their intellectual properties to make CD based Nintendo games on the Philips CD-i, and well, we know what happened with that right? Three terrible Zelda games and an awful Mario title. As much as Philips really messed up their Nintendo based games on the CD-i, I really hope that DeNA doesn’t do the thing with Nintendo Mobile games. Hopefully DeNA will give the Nintendo properties some respect, or at least know to use it better than what Philips did!

Nintendo has made, some, efforts into making mobile games. This would be the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online for iOS. The other was a Pokemon Rhythm game to promote a new season of the Pokemon anime in Japan. But it’s clear that Nintendo themselves do not have the right people to do a lot of mobile development, so their partnership with DeNA will get more Nintendo software onto Android and iOS.


So what’s this whole, Codename NX, thing? Nintendo announced that they’re going to do a new Membership service that sounds a lot like PlayStation Plus that’ll be available on many formats featuring PC, Phone, Tablet, 3DS, Wii U, and a new system that Nintendo is calling NX. It seems crazy that Nintendo has already announced a new console considering that the WiiU has only been out for 2 and a quarter years. This might very well be the case that the WiiU was a flop in the gaming market that not only do they need to get games onto mobile devices, but they need a new console too. Lots of people on Twitter have been speculating that NX might be a portable and TV console hybrid, which sounds feasible; but that would make the DeNA partnership a bit pointless. I have a feeling that this will be a console that you use a phone or tablet with to play your mobile Nintendo games onto a big screen TV with proper controllers. Personally it’s a little too early to really know what’s going on with NX, but I hope it won’t just be a typical games console. I want it to be different like how the Wii and WiiU was different to its competition.

So what do you think about Nintendo’s partnership with DeNA? Would you buy a Nintendo Mobile game? What are your theories on NX? Tell me in the comments below!