Gamers rejoice: Nintendo games are coming to smartphones and tablets

Mario et al will shrink down and crawl into your smartphone

Gamers have craved Nintendo mobile games since the first App Store slithered out of the primordial ooze. And now their time has come.

Nintendo has officially announced that it's bringing its iconic games and beloved characters to mobile devices, by partnering up with Japanese mobile gaming company DeNA.

Until now, Nintendo has (some might say stubbornly), refused to release its many franchises from the confines of its own hardware. But a combination of disappointing Wii U sales and hundreds of millions of smartphone and tablet users appears to be an opportunity too gargantuan to pass up.

While Nintendo's handheld consoles like the new 3DS XL have always raked in the numbers, moving to the smartphone and tablet space will open the doors to a huge reservoir of untapped users which should be familiar with Mario's moustachioed mug.

This isn't just a case of porting any old Nintendo title to your iPad though:

"To ensure the quality of game experience that consumers expect from this alliance of Nintendo and DeNA, only new original games optimised for smart device functionality will be created, rather than porting games created specifically for the Wii U home console or the Nintendo 3DS portable system".

In other words, Nintendo's characters will land on mobile devices in new, original games designed to work with touchscreen controls as opposed to being simply shoehorned in. Anyone that's tried an emulator without a Bluetooth controller will tell you how awful touchscreen controls can be, so this is a good thing. Though of course, direct ports of title like Mario Kart, coupled with Bluetooth controller support, would be amazing. Hint hint.

DeNA has a fairly extensive games library and its published titles including Peter Molyneux's Godus. We can't imagine Nintendo taking this decision lightly or without research, so we've got high hopes for when the first titles will land later on this year.

[DeNa via Expert Reviews]