Nintendo Working on Games That People Can Play Without Having Nintendo Hardware

Nintendo Working on Games That People Can Play Without Having Nintendo Hardware

It is known that young gamers have increasingly put aside their Wii wands for smartphones and tablets. For years, console maker Nintendo has stuck to those wands and the strategy that made it one of the world’s top game makers selling consoles and handhelds linked to games featuring the mustachioed plumber Mario and the perpetually endangered Princess Zelda.

They and other Nintendo characters inhabit a closed world that requires anyone who wants to play a Nintendo game to have a Nintendo machine.

With the growing popularity of free mobile games the company lost almost ¥59.3 billion ($495 million) over the three fiscal years that ended in March 2014.

Sales of the company decreased for five years continuously in a row and in the latest year were down 70% from their peak in 2009. The steep decline in the yen helped Nintendo to a profit of ¥41.8 billion in the latest fiscal year.

Atul Goyal, an analyst in Singapore with Jefferies, told Bloomberg that presently the machine has ‘virtually zero’ value.

Now Nintendo is working on games that people can play on mobile devices, with no Nintendo hardware required. President Satoru Iwata on May 7 announced that Nintendo would work with Comcast NBC Universal’s Universal Studios theme parks to create attractions based on its characters.

Macquarie analyst David Gibson wrote in a report published on Friday that there are some more changes that are likely to come, including possible movie deals.

Gerhard Fasol, chief executive officer of Eurotechnology Japan, a Tokyo consultancy, said if Nintendo ties to capitalize on its trove of popular characters then it can become something like Disney. The company is creating a Disney-like ecosystem, he said.

Nintendo’s first big step outside its comfort zone was its move into the toy business last year, with the debut of Amiibo figurines, based on Nintendo characters, which can interact with games.

The strategy is very similar to that of rival Activision Blizzard, which has Skylanders, and to Disney Infinity toys that are based on characters from Disney’s Pixar, Marvel, and Walt Disney movies.