Nintendo have had some hard times with their core business, developing consoles as a platform for their games is becoming a more and more unsustainable way to run themselves, and although hesistant at first Nintendo have made it more and more clear over the course of the last year that Nintendo on smart phones is a more and more feasible idea. While if implemented properly this is a truly excellent idea for Nintendo for a whole host of reasons, the key thing everyone has wanted to get their hands on is exactly what is coming and when it is coming, so that Nintendo fans without a Wii-U or 3DS (and even those with) can get their Nintendo fix.
First of all, the when. Satoru Iwata, the CEO of Nintendo recently gave us our first hint on the release date of the first games to come from their mobile partnership with DeNA, by giving us the information that the very first Nintendo smartphone game will be coming before the end of this year (2015). This date isn’t amazingly specific, but likely means Q3 or Q4 of this year, and also tells us the second game is not likely this year. The second release date we got was that the fifth title will have appeared by March 2017. This time line gives us a new Nintendo game every 3-4 months starting towards the end of this year, which is definitely something everyone can get behind.
So release date aside, what else do we know about the actual content of these games? We have word that they could make use of Nintendo IP, but would not be continuations of main franchises. So we can’t expect pokemon generation 7, or the newest Legend of Zelda game on smart phones any time soon, but we can expect use of these characters, or indeed the biggest (Mario and friends) to be inside some of these games. This is not to say we’re only seeing those sorts of games, as they are only going to be used in certain cases, and certainly not in the case of all 5 games.
Instead, we can expect some Nintendo properties to develop exclusively on smart phones, and to act as a beacon of “games done right”. This could fix a lot of discontent people have with various titles on the Google Play store, and increase Nintendo’s reach to people who have never owned a gaming console. They could then use these IP’s on their handheld or home consoles to drive sales of the devices, as well as other games. As well as this, looking to Sega’s large success in Sonic dash tells us that a transplant of a well known character into a reasonably working well known formula will work wonders too, meaning a turn based game like the Pokemon Trading Card game (already on iPads) or a simplified 2d platformer could do just great.