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Nintendo finally unveils its first game for smartphones

Japanese consumer electronics company Nintendo's first smartphone game is a communication game called Miitomo, and it will be released in March 2016.

Miitomo is a game that permits players to create avatars to interact with one another socially. The game is the first of five mobile apps the company plans to launch by March 2017, including one that might feature the iconic Super Mario.

According to video game market research firm Newzoo, 2015 marks the first time mobile gaming revenue will surpass console gaming revenue globally, at $30 billion versus $27 billion.

In March, Nintendo first announced its entry into smartphone games, partnering with Tokyo Internet firm DeNA. Both the companies will develop and operate new game apps based on Nintendo's intellectual property, including its iconic game characters, for smart devices.

According to data website Statista, in 2008, no home video game console was more popular than Nintendo Wii, with 24.19 million units sold. By 2014, only 530,000 of them were sold, fewer than the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.

Moreover, the company's latest console, the Wii U, was a failure, selling about ten million units its first 3 years. Even its hand-held 3DS has seen sales decrease from 12.56 million units in 2011, its launch year, to 9.97 million in 2014.

The move into mobile games will gratify longtime customers while alluring new ones to the Nintendo brand, which may in turn lead them to buy Nintendo's consoles. The company is also working on a secretive new platform code-named NX.

Peter Warman, Newzoo's co-founder and chief executive, said the annual growth rate for mobile games in the U.S. has dropped over the last few years from over 60 percent to just over 10 percent. However, the good news for Nintendo is that emerging markets are embracing mobile games.

According to DeNA, all of Nintendo's intellectual property would be entitled for development under the alliance, and only new, original games optimized for smartphones would be created.

Nintendo and DeNA said they would build an online membership service for customers that would be accessible from and Nintendo consoles, smart devices and PCs.