DeNA West CEO Shintaro Asako touched on the company’s newfound partnership with Nintendo at Pocket Gamer Connects San Francisco 2015, sharing that they could even “change the way people play mobile games.”
“The Nintendo deal is a huge, huge deal,” Asako reiterated. “Nintendo has the best IP, and IP that’s perfect matched to smartphones.”
They may be suited to smartphones, but it had taken DeNA several years before Nintendo eventually saw value in the proposal.
“It took us 5 or 6 years to convince them,” Asako shared. “We wanted to convince them to release games on Mobage [DeNA’s browser platform]. They didn’t like it.
“Five years later, the industry has changed. The market has changed. Nintendo wanted to attract a lot of people who they don’t reach today, including China and emerging countries.”
Their first collaborative mobile title will release this year, and Asako believes that their games could have a resounding impact on the mobile games industry.
“I think our games might change the way people play mobile games,” he stated, indicating that late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata’s “free-to-start” philosophy is particularly novel.
“Successful mobile games needs to be discoverable,” Asako added. “I’m convinced there will be hundreds of millions of people who will want to play free-to-start Nintendo games.”
He still pointed out that only a handful of games are successful in the west, China and Japan, although their estimated market value sits at around $5 billion.