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Nintendo explores possible smartphone peripherals as it enters next stage

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Big plans for mobile

Nintendo has major plans to focus on smart device development, including possibly designing its own controller for mobile gaming, according to general manager of entertainment planning and developement, Shinya Takahashi.

One of the biggest takeaways from Nintendo's annual general shareholders meeting was its decision to dedicate a large portion of its efforts on developing new software for smart devices, like smartphones and tablets. Takahashi is leading the smart device development team at the company, and said Nintendo is looking into both hardware and software development for different types of games and experiences.

"Physical controllers for smart device applications are available in the market and it is possible that we may also develop something new by ourselves," Takahashi said. "I believe Nintendo's way of thinking is to look at whether action games are really not impossible (without a physical controller for smart device applications) to create and how we can make it happen to create such a game."


Takahashi added that outside of traditional games, Nintendo was also committed to exploring different types of apps, like its social lifestyle-gaming hybrid title, Miitomo. President Tatsumi Kimishima echoed Takahashi's thoughts, adding that Japanese smartphone game platform provider DeNA and Nintendo, who previously collaborated on Miitomo, have plans to launch "various projects in the future."

"Advancing projects like these will require the involvement and support of our partners and not just our own human resources," Kimishima said, adding that in order to develop the best games and apps for smart devices, Nintendo would have to leverage DeNA's expertise for its own business.

Nintendo previously announced that it was working on five mobile titles to be released by March, the same month its new console, the NX, will be released. Four more are expected to be released following Miitomo — one based on its popular Animal Crossing series and the other on the Fire Emblem franchise — with the other two titles still unknown. Nintendo has also posted multiple job offerings for mobile specific developers for undisclosed titles, cementing its decision to heavily focus on the smart device sector.

"Nintendo needs to make a lot more products"

The publisher also addressed reports from May that it would start producing its own movies, with creative fellow and senior managing director, Shigeru Miyamoto, denying that Nintendo had plans to make its own films. Miyamoto added that the company has been exploring expanding its content in a variety of areas, including video, but there aren't any official plans as of yet. Miyamoto mentioned some of his previous work on short films with third-party companies using Nintendo characters, like a 20-minute short film about Pikman from three years ago and a 15-minute short promotional film for Star Fox Zero, but creating anything bigger than that runs into logistical problems.

"For the production of those two short films, I was basically the only person from Nintendo involved," Miyamoto said. "Nintendo needs to make a lot more products, but when a company gets too big, it faces continual problems nurturing its employees."

There aren't any concrete plans, but Miyamoto said it's important for Nintendo to look at other ways to increase revenue outside of software and hardware development.

The NX could face its own hardships when it's released in Marchaccording to Miyamoto, with executives at the company facing the same concerns with the new console that they had with the Wii U when it first launched. Still, Nintendo is expecting to generate ¥500 billion for this fiscal year.