Nintendo partners with Universal theme parks for rides and attractions


By Variety

Nintendo, which has spent much of 2015 expanding beyond its traditional video game roots, has partnered with Universal Parks and Resorts to bring Mario, Donkey Kong and the rest of the company's extensive collection of characters to the parks in the form of Nintendo-themed rides and character appearances.

While the companies declined to discuss specific details of the arrangement, many well-known Nintendo games lend themselves to theme park attractions. It doesn't take too much imagination, for instance, to envision a ride based on Mario Kart or the space action series Star Fox.

This is a first of its kind deal for Nintendo, which previously has been extraordinarily protective of its IP. As the Wii U console has struggled against the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, though, the company has been aggressively exploring other ways to capitalize on its holdings. Two months ago, Nintendo announced a partnership with Japanese mobile giant DeNA to bring games featuring its characters to Android and iOS mobile devices.

Beyond the deal with Universal, Nintendo also hinted that it is open to producing video content based on its characters as well - an admission that comes less than two months after the company denied reports that a Netflix-produced live-action series based on "The Legend of Zelda" was in the works.

"For Nintendo IP, a more active approach will be taken in areas outside the video game business, including visual content production and character merchandising," the company said as part of its just-released annual earnings statement.

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Originally published