Nintendo has had a great year in 2017. Recently, its new smash-hit console, the Switch, surpassed 10 million units sold globally, in just 10 months. The company has also seen a slew of great releases for its franchises, with the "Legend of Zelda" game achieving Game of the Year status. Nintendo has reportedly been in talks with mobile developers to increase its output of smartphone games. The Wall Street Journal reports a possible collaboration with GungHo Online Entertainment.

Focusing efforts on mobile gaming

After failing to capitalize on the Mobile Gaming market -- with Nintendo being reluctant to move its IP's off of its own gaming platforms -- it's almost surprising to hear news of Nintendo's bolstering production in mobile gaming.

Yet, Nintendo is not a total stranger to the mobile gaming market. Releasing a total of 4 mobile games since 2016, including the popular temple runner game, featuring everyone's favorite plumber, "Super Mario Run," Nintendo has been in the mobile market for almost 2 years now.

In 2015, Nintendo partnered with Japanese mobile giant DeNA, with Nintendo purchasing a 10% stake in the company, and DeNA returning the favor with a 1% investment in Nintendo. However, after failing to meet sales expectations with the officially-sanctioned temple runner, as well as a failure to produce its goal of 5 mobile games by March 2017, Nintendo appears to be stepping up its game as it looks for help in cranking out more smartphone games.

Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported a potential collaboration with Tencent Holdings, a company based in China, to produce mobile phone games in China. This could serve to capitalize on the booming mobile phone market overseas.

Meanwhile, GungHo is an established Japanese mobile developer, with its series "Puzzle and Dragons" also available for the Nintendo 3DS.

The 3DS offering sees Nintendo's iconic Mario mixed into the action, which shows further strength in terms of the ties between Nintendo and GungHo.

Smart marketing?

Nintendo has seen moderate success with their latest mobile offering, "Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp," driving up interest and sales of the Animal Crossing series since its release in November.

While games like "Super Mario Run" may have failed to meet sales expectations (a small sample of the game is freely available, but the full game costs $10), "Animal Crossing" serves as an example of how mobile game development can serve a grand marketing strategy.

Along with this success are the findings by Japanese data provider Famitsu, showing an upward trajectory of the mobile gaming market in recent years. Famitsu concludes that the smartphone gaming market rose by 40% in 2016, consisting of a $50 billion industry, dominated by Japan and China, owning 60% of the market (the US trails behind at 20% of the total market).

The trend is sure to stick around for a while, and Nintendo is finally starting to realize this.

While it's impossible to say whether the talks between Nintendo and GungHo actually took place or not, it's a safe bet to assume that there's been something going on in Nintendo's murky mobile gaming waters.