Nintendo’s stock is up 24% in New York intraday trading at noon Tuesday following an announcement that it will finally make games for smartphones and tablets. The company also saw a 1.4% boost Tuesday on the Tokyo markets where it’s primarily traded, but the news came after markets closed there.
The Nintendo (NTDOY) announcement was an unexpected departure from its past refusal to make titles for iPhones and other similar devices. The company is working with Japanese mobile game developer DeNA on the project, Fortune reported earlier:
Nintendo President Satoru Iwata told reporters that the alliance “will allow us to build a bridge between smart devices and gaming consoles.”
Iwata had consistently refused to acknowledge a trend that has been undeniable for most industry observers in recent years. While online gaming through smartphones and other mobile devices has exploded, demand for console-based games has withered. Nintendo recorded three straight years of operating losses before its last fiscal year and delivered another profit warning in January after a near 40% year-on-year drop in sales of its 3DS console.
The deal doesn’t mean every game in Nintendo’s arsenal will immediately become available for iPhone or Android. But all of Nintendo’s intellectual property from Mario to Donkey Kong is on the table.
The move could be a major step for Nintendo, whose Wii U console has consistently come in third behind Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4. The company has also seen its stock fall 80% since 2007, as Fortune wrote earlier.
Moving into mobile gaming seems to be an acknowledgement that if gamers aren’t coming to Nintendo, it has to meet them where they are — on their phones. The NDP Group found that people spent around 3 hours a day playing games on smartphones and tablets in 2014, up from 2 hours, 20 minutes two years earlier. Mobile gaming is currently a $25 billion market.