We all learned today that Nintendo has teamed up with DeNA to produce games for both smartphones and tablets. The company has apparently been in talks since 2010 discussing the subject, but it’s only now that Nintendo has felt ready to commit to the move which would see it expand its user base. DeNA West CEO Shintaro Asako is extremely confident about the move and believes that the company can reach 100 million daily active users with Nintendo’s lucrative IP.
“Internally, we had a lot of strategic meetings. The one big solution was always that there’s a giant IP holder in the market that hasn’t stepped into the smartphone environment. Really, the reason they were convinced that they wanted to work with us was that we were so determined to work with them that we have really been talking to them since 2010. Yes, we were talking to them for a long, long time. Finally, Nintendo became ready to do this. And we were ready the whole time.”
“Our approach was more about looking at their strengths, and then looking at our strengths, and when we get together we can do something bigger,” he continued. “Our initial discussions were around memberships and backend systems. Through this discussion we said that if we build this backend, we should obviously work on a game. And if we’re making a game, we should use Nintendo IPs.”
“One thing that we’re always thinking about is how can we build a structural advantage over other people. When you look at other successful companies, like King or Supercell, a lot of them are using one successful title and then using that game engine for other titles. I think the people out there see that as not really a strong structure to be successful for a long time,” he noted, adding that the competition hasn’t “really built a backend system [like Mobage] in the way we have done, and I think that’s the key part.”
“I’ve wanted to create something globally successful, not only for kids, but for mid-aged people and beyond,” Asako said. “The game should attract a huge range of people. We wanted to get a huge audience like Candy Crush – like 100 million users. We wanted to create something with that kind of DAU [daily active user] base. I think with the strong IPs [Nintendo has] and the strong game operation expertise we have, I don’t think we’re dreaming [about reaching] 100 million DAU.”
Nintendo is now a 10 percent shareholder in DeNA. So they have a lot to say,” he said. “Ten percent is actually pretty huge…they’re going to be the second-largest shareholder. It’s a big deal.”