Nintendo says its new smartphone games will drive console sales

The first game for smart devices will be rolled out in this calendar year

Nintendo expects that its new games for smartphones, built in partnership with Japanese mobile gaming company DeNA, will help boost sales of its consoles, as users "become familiar with the charms of video games."

The Japanese gaming console maker expects smartphones users will want to explore more premium experiences on its dedicated game systems, President Satoru Iwata said in a presentation posted to the company website Friday.

To aid that shift, the company is working on an integrated membership service that aims to provide a bridge between smart devices and consoles, including the upcoming game system code-named NX, by allowing a consumer to access multiple devices and services with a single ID, Iwata said.

The first smartphone game from the alliance between Nintendo and DeNA is scheduled to be available later this year, with about five titles in all planned to be released by March 2017. Nintendo is releasing a few games as it aims to make each title a hit and operate the games for a significant period after their release, Iwata said.

The goal is to make the smart devices game business a "pillar" of Nintendo's revenue structure by expanding the business into global markets at a steady pace, he added.

Under the agreement with DeNA announced in March, Nintendo intellectual property like its games and characters will be used in the smartphone games, which will be new games rather than ports of existing games. The tie-up involves the two companies holding stakes in each other.

More than a simple port of games from a gaming system to a smart device is required in the competitive smart devices market, as a port would not match the play styles of smart devices, and the appropriate business models for the two markets are different, Iwata said.

Nintendo is, meanwhile, planning to cash in on its intellectual property with a deal that will bring its characters and games to the theme parks of Universal Parks & Resorts.

Nintendo turned a profit in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2015. It reported Thursday a net profit of ¥41.8 billion (US$350 million) in contrast with a loss of ¥ 23 billion in the previous year, driven in part by a weaker yen. Revenue grew 3.8 percent to close to ¥550 billion from the previous year.

The company has forecast a doubling of its operating profit in the current fiscal year, which will see revenue from its new smartphone games business start kicking in.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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