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Nintendo’s Super Mario is karting towards your smartphone

Key Points

There's no need to dig out that dusty Nintendo 64 console to save Princess Peach, as it turns out that Mario and the gang could be karting their way towards your smartphone in not the too distant future.

On Tuesday, DeNA — a provider of mobile and online services including games and e-commerce — launched a "business and capital alliance" with none other than gaming giant Nintendo. The venture will bring Mario, Bowser, Zelda and other Nintendo favorites onto smartphone devices — a move that many game analysts did not predict.

The alliance could potentially benefit both companies.

Akio Jon/Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

DeNA hopes to strengthen its gaming business and expand beyond its base in Japan, where it currently operates a range of services, including DeNA Shopping and Mobage, a social platform with more than 50 million users.

In a statement online, DeNA said it hoped the alliance would provide a high-quality gaming experience to loyal customers, adding that "only new original games optimized for smart device functionality will be created."

"As these consumers enjoy the unique kind of gameplay found only with Nintendo, they will have the opportunity to explore even more premium experiences on Nintendo's dedicated video game platforms," DeNA added.

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In addition, DeNA announced that the companies hoped to develop a joint online membership service and launch it during 2015's fall season. This online program will be made available on smartphone devices, alongside Nintendo and PC console systems.

Anders Drachen, a data scientist at Aalborg University in Copenhagen, said that the joint venture seemed a boon for DeNa.

"Partnering with Nintendo seems like a win-win, given the strong brands the company is bringing to the table. It will be interesting to see how they translate the console/handheld experience to mobile," he told CNBC via email.

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'Every chance' of success

This expert has a solution for Nintendo

For Nintendo, the joint venture gives the opportunity to expand into the smartphone market, and compete against other gaming app developers like King of Candy Crush Saga fame. The Japanese company has received criticism in the past for failing to enter the mobile arena, despite struggling sales for its Wii U console.

"Nintendo is late in entering the smartphone market, but they do so before it has become saturated, so there is every chance that their powerful brands can find success," Drachen told CNBC.

"What Nintendo will need to consider, just like any other company moving into the mobile and free-to-play market, is what the purpose of the move is. Care will need to be taken to not alienate existing players."

Drachen added that Nintendo should be careful not to "water down" its market space in console/handhelds by migrating players to mobile.

"The strategy should focus on improving the offerings to existing Nintendo players, and attracting new players to the various franchises," he told CNBC.

As part of the partnership, both organisations have agreed to acquire some of each other's treasury shares. DeNA will acquire 1,759,400 of Nintendo's shares, whilst Nintendo will purchase 15,081,000 from DeNA.

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