Business / Corporate

Nintendo taps smartphone apps for console boost

Kyodo

Nintendo Co. is trying to modify its game consoles so customers can use smartphone applications on them as it searches for a way to return to profitability, company sources said.

The game console and software maker has offered professional-use conversion software to application developers so they can produce smartphone games that can be played on Wii U, a struggling home video game console that helped widen the firm’s operating loss in fiscal 2012.

Nintendo hopes smartphone software will help spur console sales, which will in turn lead to an increase in popular game titles for them, the sources said.

A lack of popular games to play on Nintendo consoles was one of the main reasons behind the company’s worse-than-expected console sales and group operating loss of ¥36.4 billion reported for the year ended in March. It was Nintendo’s second consecutive annual operating loss.

Nintendo will also focus on developing new software on its own, the sources said.

The company is slated to release a new title in the popular Pocket Monster series in October for the 3DS portable device, which is capable of showing 3-D images, while Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said it will roll out some new titles for the Wii U, which is equipped with a touch screen, from summer through next year.