Nintendo Co. plans to offer its game “The Legend of Zelda” for smartphones, people familiar with the matter said, the latest step by the Kyoto company to expand its mobile-games lineup.
Nintendo has been building its mobile presence over the past year after years of focusing on games for its own hardware. It has already released “Miitomo,” “Fire Emblem Heroes” and “Super Mario Run” for smartphones and has announced plans for a mobile version of “Animal Crossing.”
The people familiar with the matter said the “Animal Crossing” smartphone app is likely to be released in the latter half of 2017, and “The Legend of Zelda” would follow that, although they cautioned that the timing and order of the releases could be changed. Nintendo is developing the games with Tokyo-based DeNA Co.
It isn’t clear yet how Nintendo would charge for the mobile version of “The Legend of Zelda.” Nintendo charges about $10 for players to download the full version of the Mario smartphone game and offers in-app purchases for its other games.Representatives of Nintendo and DeNA declined to comment.
The mobile games have yet to add significantly to the bottom line. Nintendo said that it earned less than ¥20 billion ($176.4 million) from smartphone games in the fiscal year ended March 2017.
Nintendo’s president, Tatsumi Kimishima, has said the company plans to expand its mobile lineup to boost revenue. The mobile games are also intended to attract casual game players and encourage them to buy Nintendo hardware.
Macquarie Capital Securities analyst David Gibson said he expected the company would earn more than ¥100 billion from smartphone games in the current fiscal year.
The mobile game “Pokémon Go,” which is produced by Nintendo affiliate Pokémon Co., enjoyed a breakout success last summer. Nintendo owns a 32% stake in Pokémon Co., and profit from “Pokémon Go” helped Nintendo earn ¥20 billion from its investments in the year ended March 2017.
Pokémon Co. is planning a new card-game app, two people familiar with the matter said. Pokémon Co. already makes physical cards that players collect and use in competitions. A company spokeswoman declined to comment.