Nintendo and Universal team up for amusement parks attractions

Nintendo and Universal Parks & Resorts are working to create new attractions featuring Nintendo games and characters, the two companies announced Thursday. That could bring characters such as Mario, Link and Donkey Kong to theme parks including Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort, as well as Universal Studio parks in Japan and Singapore.

“Now, for the first time, those stories and characters will be brought to life in entirely new ways,” the companies said in a joint statement.

The move is in line with Nintendo’s desire to bring in more money by doing more to license and exploit its popular franchises like Mario and Legend of Zelda. Universal has theme parks in California, Florida, Osaka and Singapore.

The news is only the latest sign that Nintendo is looking to expand revenue-generating opportunities from its creative portfolio. Two months ago, Nintendo announced its first plans to make games for smartphones and tablets in a deal with Japanese mobile game maker DeNA Co.

Also on Thursday, Nintendo reported that it turned a profit for its fiscal year that ended in March — its first in four years. Still, the company attributed the results in part to the weak yen.

Universal Parks & Resorts, owned by NBCUniversal, has theme parks in Hollywood, Orlando, Osaka, Japan and Singapore. Nintendo is a Japanese company in Kyoto.

The Kyoto firm projects 50 billion yen in operating income for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016, noting that “a new source of revenue is expected from agaming application for smart devices which will be released this year.”

Sales of the Nintendo 3DS portable were quite a bit lower than forecast; Nintendo originally intended to sell 12 million of the devices this year, but only ended up selling 8.73 million, down from 12.2 million last year. That’s even after the launch of the New Nintendo 3DS hardware line. Wii U sales got a modest bump, from 2.72 million units last year to 3.38 million this year.

Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata will give a presentation to investors later today discussing the results. At this presentation last year, Nintendoannounced its line of Amiibo interactive figurines. It’s possible that Iwata could drop a similarly significant piece of news at this year’s briefing—perhaps more details on Nintendo’s mobile push, its long-promised “Quality of Life” product, or another totally unexpected announcement.

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About the Author: Akhtar Jamal

Tribune International