Nintendo may announce its first mobile game developed with DeNA today (28 October), but don't expect it to star one of the company's most recognisable faces. While it is said to be based on an existing IP, Nintendo is thought to be saving its bigger guns for next year.
The report comes from industry analyst Serkan Toto, who focuses on the Japanese gaming scene and admits himself that the rumour should be taken with "the appropriately sized grain of salt". In a series of tweets he talked about Nintendo's plans. However, his prediction seems to be sound.
"One day to go until Nintendo's first of two briefings this week. The first app will use existing IP, but don't expect too much from it," he said yesterday. "Don't get your hopes up too high for Mario. But I heard Nintendo and DeNA are planning to pull out the big guns (bigger IPs) next year."
At a company earnings call yesterday new president Tatsumi Kimishima said: "We will provide updates on our project with DeNA tomorrow," backing up Toto's claim (via WSJ). At the same time Kimishima also revealed that there will be at least one Nintendo Direct online event this year. None have taken place since the tragic death of Satoru Iwata in July.
According to Toto's sources Nintendo and DeNA are experimenting with different business models, meaning both free-to-play and premium games and apps could be released – with the companies favouring neither.
Toto also briefly mentioned the new membership service replacing the old Club Nintendo and Star Catalogue system. "I heard technical challenges made a roll-out earlier in the year impossible," he said.
Nintendo announced their intention to make mobile games in March, but eased the concerns of fans by also announcing their next dedicated gaming hardware, codenamed NX. A report in August said that the first product of the partnership with DeNA could be released this year.