Nintendo partners with Universal theme parks for rides and attractions
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 11: A general view of atmosphere during the Super Smash Bros for Wii U event in West Hollywood, CA on November 11, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Nintendo of America)
Dozens of Pikachu characters, the famous character of Nintendo's videogame software Pokemon, parade at the Landmark Plaza shopping mall in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo on August 14, 2014. The Pikachu mascots walk around daily to attract summer vacationers as a part of the 'Great Pikachu Outbreak' event through the weekend. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
Customers play video games at an electric shop in Tokyo on October 29, 2014. Japanese videogame giant Nintendo said its first-half net profit soared to 132 million USD as a sharply weaker yen boosted its bottom line and offset slowing sales. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
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A Super Mario display at the Nintendo section attracts attention at the annual E3 video game extravaganza in Los Angeles, California on June 10, 2014. Nintendo said it is adding real-world game figures to Wii U play to help boost the popularity of its console, which has lagged rivals in the market, with Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime saying 'amiibo' game pieces embedded with computer chips to swap data with Wii U tablet controllers would debut in the 'Mario Smash Brothers' game later this year. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 03: Actor Noah Munck attends Nintendo's celebration of the launch of Super Mario 3D Land at Siren Studios on November 3, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Nintendo)
390946 06: A potential customer tries out the new Nintendo Gameboy Advance computer game June 21, 2001 in London. The game is due to be released in Europe on June 22, 2001. (Photo by Sion Touhig/GettyImages)
Tokyo, JAPAN: Japan's first customer Kotaro Watanabe displays Nintendo's new video game console 'Wii' at a Tokyo electric shop, 02 December 2006, while Sega's game character Sonic the Hedgedog (R) celebrates him. Some thousands video game fans queued in early morning to buy the new video game console priced 25,000 yen (215 USD). AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
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.