Nintendo Signage
Nintendo signage is displayed at the company's booth at the 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo, known as E3, in Los Angeles, California June 11, 2014. Reuters/Kevork Djansezian

Nintendo has announced that its first set of mobile games will be free-to-play, which will likely make revenue through the in-app purchases seen in most free mobile titles. Mobile gaming company DeNa will develop the first set of titles, though it’s currently unknown how many mobile games are going to be made.

The DeNa president and CEO Isao Moriyasu has confirmed the news, Polygon reports. It’s a move that isn’t too surprising, since the most successful mobile games today tend to be free-to-play.

Titles like “Temple Run 2” and “Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft” have dominated the mobile scene, and one big reason for such is both games are free. To the credit of the developers, both titles have also proven to be addictive, and the in-app purchases can be earned through in-game progress, though they usually take up a lot of time.

It will be interesting to see if the first set of Nintendo mobile games will feature original characters or brand new ones. According to Touch Arcade, the only title that has been announced so far is “Miitomo,” a social game featuring the popular Miis that have appeared in a number of Nintendo titles, including the fourth “Smash Bros.” game.

Back in March when Nintendo and DeNa announced their partnership, it seemed like the late Satoru Iwata took exception to the term “free-to-play.” The former president of Nintendo described the games as “free-to-start,” claiming that Nintendo entering the mobile market would not be a disservice to its very credible IP.

While paid premium games could be made in the future, it looks like Nintendo and DeNa will be focusing on free-to-play games for the time being. The first batch of Nintendo mobile games are slated for a 2017 release, though no titles have been mentioned.

It should be noted that there is a mobile game out right now that uses a very popular Nintendo property. “Pokemon Shuffle” is a free-to-play game that is available on iOS and Android devices. Despite not being too different from most Match-3 games, it has been a commercial success.

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