Nintendo will soon announce its financial results for fiscal year ending 31 March 2013 and they promise to make for sombre reading for fans of the Japanese gaming giant. Huge losses are predicted, not least by the company itself, and the Wii U is seemingly in its death throes so soon after launch.
That's why the company is expected to adopt new strategies and venture into areas from which it has otherwise abstained. One of those is the smartphone market. With an estimated 990 million smartphones sold globally in 2013 alone, Nintendo needs to utilise that hardware base. However, it isn't likely to launch paid-for games for iPhone or Android just yet.
Nintendo's president Satoru Iwata has already admitted that the firm is looking into the smartphone market. "Given the expansion of smart devices, we are naturally studying how smart devices can be used to grow the game-player business," he said at a recent press conference. But emerging details reveal that, sadly, plans don't include releasing Super Mario 64 on mobile.
Japanese news source Nikkei says Nintendo will release content for smartphones featuring its characters, such as Mario and Luigi, but it will be "progressive". That will include background materials, possibly video, tours of in-game worlds, and the latest news on retail games for Nintendo consoles.
There will be mini-games on a free-to-play business model, but the source claims that they will introduce new characters rather than feature established ones.
This might be a small step towards full support for smartphones and tablets, but an important one for a company that might need to evolve to survive.
UPDATE: Mario's gaming appearance on a smartphone is even more unlikely now. Nintendo has revealed to Engadget that it has no plans to release even mini-games on mobile platforms other than its own. "Nikkei's article contains information previously stated by Mr Iwata during past press conferences, including statements which relate to Nintendo's willingness to make use of smart devices to promote our products," it said.
"However, during such past announcements Mr Iwata has also stated that Nintendo's intention is not to make Nintendo software available on smart devices and as such, we can confirm that there are no plans to offer mini-games on smartphone devices."