DeNA spent 5 years trying to partner with Nintendo



The Courtship of Regal Nintendo by the Pilgrim DeNA is a Kindle book I am definitely currently writing after learning that this morning’s Nintendeal with DeNA was apparently five years in the making according to DeNA West CEO Shintaro Asako, speaking to VentureBeat.

DeNA saw Nintendo’s untapped (on mobile) properties as a clear avenue to elevate its standings in the market share. I’m sure every smart phone developer did. The mobile giant is the 8th biggest mobile company in Japan by revenue and fails to crack top 10 worldwide. So why did Nintendo go with DeNA instead of, say, Japan’s number one mobile company (by revenue) GungHo Online, the company Nintendo just teamed with for Puzzles & Dragons: Mario Bros. Edition?

“Really, the reason they were convinced that they wanted to work with us was that we were so determined to work with them that we have really been talking to them since 2010,” Asako said. “Yes, we were talking to them for a long, long time.”

Basically, DeNA was like a dude loitering around your house, wearing you down for years, asking to borrow your kids and, eventually, it’s like, “eh, what’s the harm, they’re old enough to fend for themselves anyways.”

No, really. Apparently, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata partnered with DeNA because of its back-end experience (same) and willingness to deal with the behind-the-scenes elements of mobile development. “Backend is not something people see every day,” Asako said, unfortunately correct. “We’re willing to help them build that really sophisticated backend structure. It is not a sexy part. But we’re willing to do it.” It’s cool, Nintendo. That’s what I look for in a lover I MEAN BUSINESS PARTNER too.

DeNA wants Candy Crush style success. 100 million active daily users. Lest you fear Super Mario Bros.: All the Bravest — or worse — slithering down the warp pipe, note that, “Nintendo is now a 10 percent shareholder in DeNA. So they have a lot to say,” Asako explained. “Ten percent is actually pretty huge: Next to our founder, Namba, who owns 15 percent, they’re going to be the second-largest shareholder. It’s a big deal.”

DeNA West CEO: ‘Nintendo became ready to do this. And we were ready the whole time’ [VentureBeat]