After years of staying clear of the booming mobile game market, Nintendo announced a partnership back in March with Japanese mobile developer DeNA to bring Nintendo IPs to the world of phones and tablets.
For a while now there hasn't been any more information to go on than that, but during a recent investor's meeting Nintendo President Satoru Iwata went into a little more detail about the company's mobile plans, namely that Nintendo hopes to have five mobile games on the market before the end of the next fiscal year, which concludes in March 2017.
"You may think it is a small number, but when we aim to make each title a hit, and because we want to thoroughly operate every one of them for a significant amount of time after their releases, this is not a small number at all and should demonstrate our serious commitment to the smart device business," Iwata told investors.
Iwata also announced that the producer of Mario Kart, Hideki Konno, would be leading development on the company's mobile games. From the sound of it, Nintendo is doing some restructuring to prepare for the shift in mobile.
"Internally at Nintendo, we have executed several organizational and personnel changes in order to properly operate the smart device business, and we will make further changes before the first release," Iwata said.
The first of the new mobile games will be released before the end of 2015, but we still don't know what the game will be. The safest bet is that Nintendo's first mobile game will star Mario or Pokemon of some kind, though expect it to play much differently from Nintendo's traditional games. Nintendo is making a point of keeping mobile distinct from their core video games, with the hope that mobile games will serve as a gateway to their Nintendo 3DS and Wii U gaming consoles.
Nintendo's new membership service should be a step towards reaching that goal. Players will be able to create one Nintendo ID that will work across all Nintendo sites and platforms, much like what you see on across Sony's PlayStation brand. Expect to hear more later this year.