Nintendo Surges on Mario Kart 8 Sales, Pokemon Game for IPad

Aug 18, 2014 5:14 am ET

(Updates with comment in fourth paragraph.)

Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Nintendo Co. jumped in Tokyo trading after its new Mario Kart 8 video game surpassed 1 million units in U.S. sales and affiliate The Pokemon Co. said an online trading-card game will be released as an application for Apple Inc.’s iPad.

Nintendo rose 4 percent to 11,740 yen, the most in more than four months, paring its decline this year to 16 percent.

Mario Kart 8 became just the second Wii U title to sell more than 1 million units along with New Super Mario Bros. U, the company said. The Pokemon Co. will make an online trading card game that is already offered for desktop computers available as an application for the iPad, Kanako Murata, a Tokyo-based spokeswoman for the company, said by phone.

“We have been here many times before in regards to Nintendo’s tentative plans to introduce some of its characters for smart devices,” Amir Anvarzadeh, a manager of Japanese equity sales at BGC Partners Inc. in Singapore, said by e-mail. “This latest Pokemon cards plan which is already out on PCs is hardly a change in its direction.”

Investors hoping Nintendo will introduce games for smartphones could boost the company’s shares, Anvarzadeh said.

Iconic Characters

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata has ruled out licensing Nintendo’s franchise characters for online games or smartphone applications. Tying Nintendo’s iconic characters to its hardware helped boost demand for the original Wii, which sold more than 100 million units and became the world’s best-selling console.

Still, Nintendo’s share price has slumped in four of the six years through 2013, and has plummeted more than 80 percent since the end of 2007.

The Nikkei reported in January that Nintendo would provide free mini-games for smartphones. The system would allow consumers to purchase games online via smartphones, according to the report.

Mario Kart 8 and a lineup of figurines that interact with games are part of Nintendo’s strategy to revive flagging sales of the Wii U console and retain players shifting to smartphones and faster consoles like Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox One.

The Pokemon title will be available for the U.S. and Europe, though timing for its release hasn’t been determined, Murata said. Engadget reported earlier that the game would be made available as an iPad app, citing the company without identifying anyone.