Who is Nintendo's new mobile partner DeNA, anyway?

Angry Birdo.

Nintendo today announced it will begin releasing games on mobile phones and tablets, after years of opposition to smart device development.

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Company president Satoru Iwata explained Nintendo had received countless business offers from other firms to partner with, before it decided on buddying up with DeNA, a profitable Japanese mobile giant.

But what is DeNA? And why did Nintendo choose it?

Founded in 1999, DeNA (pronounced D-N-A) originally ran an online and mobile auctions service. But by 2010 it had launched Mobage, a mobile games social network that may be Nintendo's key attraction to the company.

Under the new agreement announced today, DeNA will work with Nintendo to build a new a membership system operated across mobile phones, tablets, PCs and all of Nintendo's first-party platforms.

DeNA's experience in operating Mobage will be a key asset to Nintendo, which has often lagged behind competitors when building and maintaining its own technical infrastructures.

But DeNA also has plenty of experience with games themselves, having acquired US developer ngmoco in 2010 and then formed a partnership with Disney to develop branded mobile games in 2012.

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Its current catalogue of titles includes many you may have heard of - and some you may have not. It publishes the iOS and Android versions of Peter Molyneux's Godus, for example.

Another high-profile release was the poorly-received iOS FPS The Drowning, developed by Battlefield producer Ben Cousins.

DeNA also published the Android versions of Nimblebit titles such as Tiny Tower, Pocket Planes and Pocket Frogs.

But for every game name that you might recognise, there are many more you will likely have never heard of - such as Dream Fish Plus, Cupcake Maker, World of Thingies and Boney The Runner.

However, Nintendo has said that it has entered into this partnership for the company's back-end services and server knowledge - and for those reasons, DeNA seems as decent a pick as any.

Recent DeNA titles in Japan have included Janshin Chronicles - Shinsoku Battle Mahjong, a casino puzzler developed by Sunsoft (see the video below), Kinnikuman - Muscle Shot, an action role-player based on a popular manga, and Kingdom - Eiyuu No Keifu, a swords and shields strategy title based upon the Kingdom anime series.

Nintendo is now the second-largest shareholder within DeNA, while DeNA is now the 10th-largest shareholder in Nintendo.

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Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips

News Editor

Tom is Eurogamer's news editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and all the stealth Destiny articles.

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