Yesterday, Nintendo dropped a pair of bombshells on the gaming world. First, the company announced that it had partnered with Japanese mobile game development company, DeNA (pronounced DNA), and would bring its major franchises — all of them — to mobile gaming. Second, it has begun work on a next-generation console, codenamed the Nintendo “NX.”
Both of these announcements are huge shifts for the Japanese company, even if it took pains to emphasize that Nintendo remains committed to its first party franchises and its own game development efforts.
Partnering with an established company like DeNA theoretically gets Nintendo the best of both worlds. It’s only barely dipped its toes into free-to-play content, while DeNA has shipped a number of games using that formula. It has no experience in developing franchised titles for smartphones or tablets, whereas DeNA has plenty. But partnering with a third-party gives Nintendo another potential advantage — it’ll let the company effectively field test new gaming concepts and paradigms on hardware that’s at least as powerful as its own shipping systems.
Revisiting the “console quality” graphics question
One of the more annoying trends in mobile gaming the last few years has been the tendency of hardware companies to trumpet “console quality graphics” as a selling point of mobile hardware. Multiple manufacturers have done this, but head-to-head match-ups tend to shed harsh light on mobile promises.