It looks like Nintendo has decided to work with a new developer for mobile games as they've announced a new partnership with Niantic. The company didn't really go into a lot of details about it as this was literally announced this evening. What we do know is that they have apparently partnered up for several new games based on Nintendo's characters, with the first one they are developing together is based on the Pikmin franchise containing gameplay "designed to make walking more delightful". The new app will be launched globally in the second half of 2021, but right now there's no official date or name.
It's an interesting partnership that, quite frankly, we're surprised didn't happen sooner after Pokémon GO took over the world. So far, Nintendo has been developing its own apps including Dr. Mario World, Fire Emblem Heroes, and Mario Kart Tour. Each with varying degrees of success for the company, but all in-house so far. Going with an outside developer seems like they want to try something new and see if it will be more successful, and considering Niantic's track record so far, it probably will do well even if it gets half the audience of their other titles. Here's a couple of quotes from both companies about the new partnership.
"As we continue to expand our games portfolio, it was a natural next step to team up with Nintendo," said John Hanke, CEO of Niantic. "We're looking forward to shaping the future of AR together, bringing Nintendo's beloved game characters to life for mobile game players around the world.""Niantic's AR technology has made it possible for us to experience the world as if Pikmin are secretly living all around us," said Shigeru Miyamoto, Representative Director, Fellow, Nintendo. "Based on the theme of making walking fun, our mission is to provide people a new experience that's different from traditional games. We hope that the Pikmin and this app will become a partner in your life."