NEW YORK — Nintendo will soon unleash Mario and Luigi on your smartphone. The Japanese video game giant is partnering with another company to create new game apps based on existing Nintendo characters, such as Mario Bros., for mobile devices. It’s a significant shift for Nintendo. The company has resisted making its games available on smartphones and tablets, focusing instead on selling its own handheld devices and consoles. But mobile gaming is now one of the biggest sources of growth for the video game industry while console sales have been in decline.
“The alliance is intended to complement Nintendo’s dedicated video game systems business and extend Nintendo’s reach into the vast market of smart device users worldwide,” Nintendo said in a statement.
Nintendo has reached a deal with DeNA, a mobile game developer in Tokyo, to create new games and a membership service that they hope to launch in the fall.
Members will be able to play the new games on mobile devices, as well as PC and Nintendo systems, such as the 3DS and Wii U.
Nintendo did not specify how much the membership would cost, but it said details on which games will be available would be “forthcoming.”
As part of the partnership, Nintendo is buying 10% of DeNA’s shares for 22 billion yen, or $182 million. DeNA will invest roughly the same amount in Nintendo stock.