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Nintendo mobile games could draw in new players

After decades of relying on its consoles and console games to generate the lion's share of revenue, Nintendo could be working on free mobile games, according to recent reports.

The company is expected to bring a number of its games to mobile platforms sometime this year, according to Japanese newspaper Nikkei.

Earlier this month, Nintendo reported weaker-than-expected sales of Wii U consoles and software in its third fiscal quarter. It also lowered the forecast for console sales in the current fiscal year (April 2013 through March 2014) by 69 percent, and it said game sales in the period would be lower than expected as well.

The Nintendo Wii U
Source: Nintendo | Facebook
The Nintendo Wii U

"We buy our smartphones and tablets, and we have a whole plethora of options that are free to play," David Gibson, senior analyst at Macquarie Research Japan, told CNBC. "That sort of thing is not available on the Nintendo platform."

According to Nikkei, Nintendo's new mobile offering are likely to be free minigames, or demos intended to draw players to its consoles.

(Read more: Resisting mobile hurts Nintendo's bottom line)

That strategy could work, said CNET Editor-in-Chief Lindsey Turrentine.

"I think they will draw in console players—if the mobile games are exceedingly good and leave the players wanting more," Turrentine said.

"It's a safe assumption that most of these games will be targeted at children, [who] will get excited about a brand and all its permutations if they find the characters and potential exciting enough. The challenge will be making those brands compelling enough to chose Nintendo's console tech over others," she added.

(Read more: Why it's not game over for Nintendo yet)

"At this point, Nintendo needs to make a really hard decision. ... It might need to go the way that Sega went, which is to just create games for other platforms," Turrentine said.

Gibson at Macquarie said Nintendo could also open its platform for developers to make more games available on its consoles.

—By CNBC's Althea Chang.