During the corporate management policy briefing held this morning in Tokyo, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata announced that the company will relax its licensing policies and license some of its popular characters to new partners, as Macquarie Securities Senior Research Analyst David Gibson reports on Twitter (integrated by the liveblog on the Wall Street Journal).
Nintendo won’t license its whole portfolio, and will still consider competitiveness (partners will be accepted only if they aren’t direct competitors and a win-win relationship can be forged). This kind of licensing won’t be carried out when it would undermine Nintendo’s interests, and also includes merchandise and media unrelated to games.
The company is already in talks about licensing arrangements with possible partners. No budgets have been set for the moment, but profits are expected in the medium term.
This doesn’t mean that Nintendo’s characters will appear on other platforms. Iwata-san clearly specified that it won’t happen.
Personally, I feel this is a great idea, especially if it’ll be applied extensively to games. The possibility to use Nintendo’s characters (as Sega is already doing with the Sonic & Mario series) definitely holds the potential to entice third parties to develop more for Nintendo’s consoles. What the Wii U lacks the most is games, and this move could solve the problem in one masterful stroke, assuming that the characters offered will be attractive and popular enough.