Nintendo skyrockets on Super Mario game for iPhone

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Nintendo skyrocketed Thursday after the Japanese gaming giant and Apple announced that an exclusive Super Mario game will be available on iPhones later this year.

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The Tokyo-listed stock surged 18 percent to 29,200 yen ($287) at the open in response to the news.

Apple and Nintendo jointly announced that “Super Mario Run”, featuring Nintendo’s iconic game character, would be sold in App stores for use on the US firm’s hugely popular smartphone.

The news came after the global success of mobile game Pokemon Go, based on another Nintendo character, which has now been downloaded about half a billion times.

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The app sparked a worldwide frenzy among millions of users who took to the streets with their smartphones in a bid to capture and train mythical creatures for battles.

Nintendo shares soared in the wake of the game’s summer release, making the company more valuable than Sony at one stage, as markets cheered it as a great sign for its long-awaited move into the mobile games market.

After years of pressure, Nintendo — which also created the Donkey Kong and Legend of Zelda brands — abandoned a longstanding consoles-only policy and opened the door to licensing some of its characters for mobile game use.

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“It is a big deal,” Neil Campling, an analyst at Northern Trust Capital Markets, said of the Nintendo-Apple announcement.

“This venture is perhaps the biggest endorsement we could possibly have imagined that Nintendo’s strategy to monetise their huge franchise IP (intellectual property) on mobile and ex-platform reliant technology is the right one,” he said in a commentary.

The new venture was announced Wednesday at an Apple event in the United States, where Nintendo and Pokemon Go maker Niantic also announced it would be available for Apple Watch users later this month.

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Nintendo has invested in Niantic and owns about one-third of the Pokemon Company, which will get licensing fees for loaning out the cuddly monsters’ brand.

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