DeNA’s first Nintendo-licensed mobile game will launch this year

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Nintendo’s first officially licensed mobile game will premiere by the end of this year, with four additional titles expected to launch by April of 2017, DeNA West CEO Shintaro Asako confirmed at this week’s Pocket Gamer Connects event in San Francisco.

The five games will each be based on different Nintendo properties, and DeNA hopes to explore multiple genres across its initial slate of releases.

“We want to make sure out of those five IP that we can end up attracting hundreds of millions of people,” Asako told Pocket Gamer.

Asako highlights the differences in how both companies approach game development, and notes that a combination of Nintendo’s and DeNA’s expertise has the potential to “completely change the market.”

“Nintendo has by far the best gaming IP,” Asako explained. “DeNA’s expertise is definitely backend.”

Asako cites Glu’s Kim Kardashian: Hollywood as a successful mobile release resulting from a strong partnership, and hopes to replicate the same degree of success between DeNA and Nintendo.

DeNA’s past partnerships have produced licensed mobile games based on Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney properties, though Asako describes Nintendo’s ongoing licensing agreement as “the most crucial partnership” for the company to date.

Licensing corporation The Pokemon Company has produced several Pokemon-themed apps for iOS devices, including the upcoming free-to-play puzzler Pokemon Shuffle. Nintendo and DeNA’s partnership is part of a separate licensing agreement.

Nintendo has not named the properties it plans to license for DeNA’s mobile apps, and a specific release date for the company’s first mobile game is not yet known.

There is no word yet on what those five Nintendo franchises will be. Mario seems like a no-brainer, and Zelda is also likely. Beyond that it’s anyone’s guess. Metroid, Donkey Kong, Star Fox, Kid Icarus — what IP would you like to see?

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