A Nintendo logo and its game characters are displayed at an electronics retail shop in Tokyo.
Kazuhiro Nogi—AFP/Getty Images
By Tom Huddleston Jr.
May 11, 2016

Less than two months after Nintendo finally joined the smartphone party, the gaming giant already has plans to release two new mobile titles that will be free to download later this year.

Tokyo-based gaming developer DeNa, which is partnering with Nintendo on its mobile gaming apps, told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that the next two Nintendo smartphone games will be “free-to-start apps,” which means that users will be able to download and play them for free with the option of making in-app purchases down the road. Nintendo, which also confirmed to the Journal that the next two games will be free to download, had previously announced that its next two smartphone titles will be tactical role-playing game Fire Emblem and community simulation game Animal Crossing—both already popular Nintendo titles across various gaming platforms.

The games will be available for download to devices with Apple (AAPL) iOS and Google’s (GOOG) Android software.

When they do launch, Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing will follow in the footsteps of Miitomo, Nintendo’s first-ever smartphone game that debuted in March as a free-to-start download. While Miitomo is often described as more of a social-networking experience than an actual game, more than 1 million people raced to download the app within days of its launch and Miitomo recently topped 10 million users little more than a month after becoming available to download.

 

While Nintendo—the company behind iconic video game characters such as Mario and Donkey Kong—was somewhat late in entering the smartphone gaming space, Miitomo’s success so far is promising for a company that has struggled in recent years to bolster flagging sales of its once ubiquitous gaming devices. Earlier this year, Nintendo cut its full-year profit forecast in half due to sluggish sales for its Wii U and 3DS consoles, which has put added pressure on the company to orchestrate a successful roll-out of its next big piece of gaming equipment, the Nintendo NX, which won’t go on sale until March 2017.

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