Nintendo Will Handle Planning For Their Smartphone Games, DeNA Will Operate

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Nintendo and smartphone game developer DeNA have teamed up to develop games for smart devices using Nintendo IP, the two companies announced today. During a joint press conference where the two outlined their goals for the partnership, they also shared a few scant details on how these games will be developed.


For starters, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata stated that no Nintendo IP would be off-limits to DeNA. That having been said, smartphone games require services that are constantly adapting and changing, and this will require a considerable combined effort from both Nintendo and DeNA. As a result, the two companies will narrow their focus to some extent, instead of releasing an extremely large number of titles.


Regarding the design of these games, Iwata stated that some smartphone games have a “notorious” reputation for overcharging consumers or being inappropriate for children due to their monetization schemes. Nintendo, he said, wish to avoid doing this and will make an effort not to indulge in unfair practices. In fact, Nintendo will be handling the planning and design for their smartphone titles. Meanwhile, DeNA will handle server development, daily operations, and user analysis, since those are the company’s strengths.


The revenue split between Nintendo and DeNA for their smartphone games will vary from title to title, Iwata said. The split will depend on the investment made by both companies in a particular game. It will not be dependent on the scope or scale of either company, but the resources spent by both on the title in question.


When asked why Nintendo chose DeNA to partner with, Iwata replied that while Nintendo have received offers from a number of companies, they chose DeNA because of their dedication to pursuing a relationship with Nintendo and because they hold talent in areas Nintendo are weak in. He also stated that he couldn’t say whether or not Nintendo’s partnership with DeNA will be a permanently exclusive deal, but for now, DeNA is the company they have chosen to partner with.


As part of their alliance, Nintendo now own 10% of DeNA’s shares, making them the second-largest shareholder in the company, behind former DeNA CEO Tomoko Namba. Meanwhile, DeNA now own a 1.24% stake in Nintendo.

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Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.