Nintendo Is Leaving Its Comfort Zone, and We're All Better Off

Games for mobile devices, theme park attractions, escape rooms -- the Japanese company is finally expanding its horizons.
Nintendo Is Leaving Its Comfort Zone, and We're All Better Off
Image credit: Nintendo

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Super Mario will finally jump to iPhones on Thursday, and I will get to live out my boyhood dreams of exploring the game series's Mushroom Kingdom in the real world sometime in the future. Today, Nintendo revealed initial plans for its first-ever theme park attractions, which will open in Osaka's Universal Studios Japan in 2020, with other locations to follow.

There will also be Legend of Zelda-themed escape rooms. My inner child just can't even.

You see, the Japanese company that's also behind Pokémon and Donkey Kong has majorly shifted its strategy in the past few years, at a time when the smartphones in all of our pockets increasingly threaten its grip on the handheld games market and its Wii U console failed to live up to the success of its predecessor. 

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Pokémon Go, the App That Earned $200 Million in its First Month

Now, Nintendo is no longer just a company that makes video games -- it's a company that leverages its legendary libary of intellectual property.

“We have reshaped our overall business mission and key strategies that are driving it,” Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé recently told TechCrunch. “Our business mission is to make people smile through the use of our IP.”

Even just a few years ago, Nintendo executives shot down the idea of its characters ever appearing on a system not bearing the company's name (let's forget those Zelda entries on the Philips CD-i). This year, the company will have released three mobile apps: its social network-like Miitomo, that little augmented reality game Pokémon Go and Super Mario Run on Dec. 15.

It took a while, but Nintendo is adapting to survive and thrive. It's following in the footsteps of the Walt Disney Company, which started out making cartoons starring Mickey Mouse and is now a licensing behemoth valued at around $150 billion.

Of course, the Big N isn't out of the video game game. It will release its newest console, Switch, this March.

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