Nintendo has announced that it will finally be stepping into the mobile gaming market despite abstaining for so long.

The company has made a deal with DeNA, a Japanese mobile game publisher, to help develop games based on Nintendo’s existing intellectual property. As part of the agreement DeNA will receive a 1.24% stake in Nintendo in exchange for 10% of its own shares.

Successful franchises

Famed for its many successful gaming franchises; Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong to name just a few, Nintendo has historically had a monopoly on the handheld gaming market with its hugely successful Gameboy and DS console series. However, the rise of smart devices and the quality of portable games on iOS and Android has started to dent that stronghold, and it looks as though Nintendo has finally decided to bring its beloved characters to a mobile audience.

However, there will be no ports of existing titles, with ‘only new original games optimized for smart device functionality’ available. So while that does unfortunately mean no Super Mario 64 on iPad, it also means a welcome focus on good quality new content rather than cashing in on an extensive back catalogue for a quick buck.

Cross-platform service

Nintendo and DeNA are also partnering on a new cross-platform gaming service. The service is due to launch later this year and will be available to iOS, Android, PC and consoles.

So does this mean we’ll get a brand new Mario Kart racing experience for iPad? Or online Pokemon Stadium battles on the iPhone? Or will we just see a range of freemium puzzlers with Nintendo characters glued on top? Only time will tell, but Mario and Pokemon are the two best-selling game franchises of all time so it would be a big surprise for them to be missed out as part of this arrangement.

One thing is for certain – expect to see some familiar faces on the App Store pretty soon.