Nintendo shifts focus to iPhone gaming as Switch sales stall

Redeem My Nintendo Gold Points Mario
(Image credit: iMore)

Nintendo-loving iPhone owners could be about to get some new games to play after the company joined forces with the developer of Super Mario Run. The new pairing will see a whole new company created to build mobile games based on Nintendo properties.

The new company, dubbed Nintendo Systems Co., Ltd, will be a joint venture between Nintendo and DeNA, with new titles set to include versions of hot games like  Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and Mario Kart Tour according to a new report.

Game On

The Verge reports that Nintendo is reacting to a "sharp decline in Switch sales" that saw them dip more than 19% year over year. So far, the company blamed chip shortages for the low sales, but that hasn't stopped it from looking elsewhere for growth.

It now appears that growth is expected to come from an influx of mobile games courtesy of DeNA. It's reported that Nintendo's mobile games were worth almost $1.8 billion in global lifetime revenue as of May, with 2017's Fire Emblem Heroes being responsible for $1 billion of that as of June.

Nintendo hasn't brought a new mobile game to market in three years, with Pikmin Bloom reportedly raking in $5.3 million in the first six months of its release. 

Despite Nintendo's renewed focus on mobile gaming, The Verge notes that the company already announced that its mobile IP-related sales were down 7.5% year over year, a fall it will hope to arrest by bringing new titles to the App Store.

Games have historically been some of the App Store's biggest moneymakers and bringing Nintendo's much-loved characters, and worlds to Apple's platforms is sure to prove popular. The new DeNA joint venture will also see games released on Android devices, too.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.