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Nintendo will 'expand its character licensing business'

Mario, Link and co will "appear in places other than on video game platforms"

Nintendo will seek new relationships with companies eager to use its IP and characters, according to Satoru Iwata.

During the investor briefing held by Iwata on Wednesday, the Nintendo president stated that Nintendo would be expanding its character licensing business, allowing its characters to be used in areas other than video games.

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"We are planning to utilize Nintendo's abundance of character IP more actively," Iwata explained. "I think the reason that Nintendo is now considered to have this 'abundance of character IP' is perhaps because of our passive approach toward the character IP licensing business, which tends to have a high risk of damaging the value of the character

"In other words, we think that spending time to develop our approach of having our characters appear mainly in our carefully selected games has created our current fortunate circumstances. However, we are going to change our policy going forward."

"To be more precise, we will actively expand our character licensing business, including proactively finding appropriate partners. In fact, we have been actively selling character merchandise for about a year in the US.

"Also, we will be flexible about forming licensing relationships in areas we did not license in the past, such as digital fields, provided we are not in direct competition and we can form win-win relationships.

"By moving forward with such activities globally, we aim to increase consumer exposure to Nintendo characters by making them appear in places other than on video game platforms."

In theory, this move could potentially open the door for other companies to negotiate with Nintendo for the licence to create movies, comic books, cartoons or educational software featuring Nintendo characters, as was the case in the early 1990s.

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