The new company, Nintendo Systems Co Ltd, will open in April 2023 in Tokyo, owned 80% by Nintendo, and focus on “the development and operation of services to strengthen the digitalization of Nintendo’s business.”
Nintendo first partnered with the Japanese mobile firm in 2015 and acquired 15% of the overall company. DeNA has released several mobile games under Nintendo’s supervision since, including Miitomo, Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Mario Kart Tour.
The Complete History of Mario Kart Games | VGC
However, Nintendo’s announcement of the joint venture notes that it will be focused not just on apps for smart devices, but “the joint development and operation of membership services for various devices.”
“Based on the expertise accumulated over the seven plus years and the experience of co-developing multiple services based on Nintendo Account, Nintendo and DeNA will advance their partnership and establish a joint venture company,” Tuesday’s announcement reads.
“With the objective to strengthen the digitalization of Nintendo’s business, the joint venture company will research and develop, as well as create value-added services to further reinforce Nintendo’s relationship with consumers.”
Despite a number of high-profile releases in the mobile space, revenue from smartphone games has failed to meet expectations.
The company reported on Tuesday that, for the first six months of its current fiscal year, mobile-related income totalled 23.5 billion yen ($160m), or just 3.5% of its overall sales.
In comparison, Activision and Take-Two – who own mobile game giants King and Zynga – reported this week that more than half of their overall revenue came from mobile at $932m and $730m.
To date, Nintendo’s mobile games have generated a combined sum of more than $1.8 billion from player spending worldwide, according to Sensor Tower data.
The vast majority of that mobile revenue has reportedly come from Fire Emblem, with the title’s gacha monetisation model proving fruitful, with the app having generated over $1 billion in player spending.
The next two highest-grossing Nintendo titles, as of June 2022, are Mario Kart Tour and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp.
Nintendo’s Mario titles have seen huge download numbers – Super Mario Run is the company’s most downloaded mobile game overall – but have fared worst in terms of mobile spend, according to Sensor Tower.