Power up your smartphone, because Super Mario is coming.
Nintendo is teaming up with Tokyo-based mobile gaming and e-commerce company DeNA to develop new game apps for smart devices featuring the brand’s iconic characters.
The agreement marks the first time that Nintendo - notoriously protective of its intellectual property - has allowed its characters to feature on smartphone games.
In a statement Nintendo said:
The alliance is intended to complement Nintendo’s dedicated video game systems business and extend Nintendo’s reach into the vast market of smart device users worldwide. Under the alliance, DeNA will also be able to strengthen its gaming business at a global scale by leveraging Nintendo’s IP.
DeNA’s roster of mobile games includes MARVEL War of Heroes, Star Wars Galactic Defence and Transformers: Age of Extinction.
For Nintendo, it is hoped the deal will recapture the loyalty of lapsed users who will "enjoy the unique kind of gameplay found only with Nintendo" and have "the opportunity to explore even more premium experiences on Nintendo's dedicated video game platforms" according to a company statement.
The Japanese gaming giant has seen recent console sales of the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS dwarfed by releases from Xbox and PlayStation.
Handheld consoles such as the Game Boy, once Nintendo's bread and butter, have been replaced in consumers' hands with gaming apps on smartphones or tablets. Data from Euromonitor International reveals that between 2008 - 2013 mobile game sales soared by 1,123 per cent while hand-held device games dropped 76 per cent.
Club Nintendo, the company's previous membership scheme, was scrapped last year and could now be replaced by a cross-platform online membership service available on smartphones, tablets, PC and Nintendo consoles.