Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, right, and Isao Moriyasu, president and chief executive officer of DeNA Co., shake hands during a joint news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on Tuesday, March 17, 2015.
Photograph by Akio Kon — Bloomberg Finance LP
By Jonathan Chew
November 11, 2015

The first Nintendo games to be released for smartphones will be free to download, suggesting they’ll rely on revenue from in-app transactions, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“Games currently in the pipeline are all free to play,” company CEO Isao Moriyasu said at an earnings briefing this week.

Smartphone game developer DeNA and Nintendo announced a smartphone-games agreement earlier this year, and they plan to release five titles by March 2017, the paper said.

On the day of the news, Nintendo’s stock shot up by 24% on intraday trading as investors reacted to the unexpected news, since Nintendo hadn’t entered the mobile gaming arena over the previous years.

The first Nintendo game for mobile devices will be Miitomo, an app that lets users design their own avatars on Nintendo’s Wii and Wii U gaming platforms. The app, which was originally slated for a December release, will now be launched in March next year.

The Miitomo news wasn’t as well-received by investors. Some reports said Nintendo would dip into their archive of famous video game characters, such as Mario and Donkey Kong, for their debut mobile offering. Other analysts saw the app as less of a game, and more of a social networking tool that set itself up for a competition with Facebook.

“I think this is a disaster,” Michael Pachter, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities, told Fortune at the time. “This is not a game. It’s a social network concept. Facebook is a robust social network. I don’t need Nintendo to give me a cartoon version of myself that allows me to interact with my friends.”

Nintendo’s foray into the mobile gaming world comes after the company reported a profit that missed analyst estimates for the three months ending in September.


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