Nintendo gives in: Mario, Zelda and more are coming to your smartphone

It's really happening.

It’s really happening. Photo: Nintendo

Nintendo has always been adamant it wouldn’t develop games for smartphones and tablets, but it has finally given in.

Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong and other popular franchises could soon be coming to Android and iOS after the Japanese company confirmed it will be developing new titles for smart devices with the help of game developer DeNA.

None of Nintendo’s popular franchises are off-limits, so in addition to Mario and Zelda, we could see titles like Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart, Starfox and more optimized for touchscreens. Nintendo has yet to confirm which titles are in development, however.

Both Nintendo and DeNA will be producing the games, which Nintendo insists will be “completely new experiences” rather than ports of existing titles.

“To ensure the quality of game experience that consumers expect from this alliance of Nintendo and DeNA, only new original games optimized for smart device functionality will be created,” Nintendo’s statement reads.

Nintendo maintains that its “premium experiences” will be exclusive to its own platforms like the Wii U and the 3DS, so smartphone and tablet gamers may end up with more simplified mini-games and puzzlers instead.

But if Nintendo can make millions by bringing the Mario name to Android and iOS — and it will — then we probably shouldn’t rule out anything at this point.

Nintendo and DeNA are also developing a cross-platform service set to launch this fall that will connect gamers on smartphones, tablets, PCs and Nintendo’s own consoles.