What Companies Does Nintendo Own? A Guide to Subsidiaries and Investments

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Nintendo, a household name in the world of video games, is not just a prominent developer and publisher but also a parent company to a number of distinguished subsidiaries. Established in 1889, originally as a playing card producer, Nintendo has significantly broadened its scope over the course of its lengthy history. Initially anchored in Japan, Nintendo has transformed into a titan of the technology and entertainment industry, leveraging its innovative approach to create some of the most iconic game franchises and video game consoles the world has ever seen.

Throughout its expansion, Nintendo has strategically acquired various companies to bolster its software and game development capabilities. Entities like Monolith Soft Inc., known for their expertise in role-playing games, and 1-UP Studio Inc., a firm assisting in software development for Nintendo’s platforms, exemplify Nintendo’s initiative to diversify and refine its game development prowess. Moreover, the firm’s internal divisions, such as the Entertainment Planning & Development (EPD), are instrumental in orchestrating Nintendo’s core research and development efforts, further solidifying its status in the video game industry.

Key Takeaways

  • Nintendo is a versatile entity that has grown from its origins as a playing card manufacturer to a dominant force in the technology and gaming sectors.
  • The company owns several subsidiaries, which aid in the creation of popular games and the development of innovative gaming technology.
  • Internally, multiple divisions and teams at Nintendo undertake research and development, ensuring that the company stays at the forefront of gaming innovation and hardware development.

Nintendo’s Origins and Founding

Nintendo commenced its journey in 1889 when it was established as a playing card company. Fusajiro Yamauchi founded the company in Kyoto, Japan, initially focusing on producing handmade hanafuda playing cards.

Date Event
1889 Nintendo Koppai founded in Kyoto, Japan.
Early 1900s Nintendo playing cards gain popularity.

The company quickly gained a reputation for the quality of its playing cards, an important cultural pastime in Japan. Under the leadership of Yamauchi, it expanded its reach and became a well-known name in the market.

1889 – 1956:

  • Established by Yamauchi
  • Focused on hanafuda playing cards
  • Increased market presence

After years of success, Nintendo began to explore other ventures in the mid-20th century, setting the stage for its eventual transition into the electronics and video game industry. They maintained their headquarters in Kyoto throughout this evolution, grounding the company in its original home even as it became a global entity. Nintendo’s early emphasis on quality and innovation remains a cornerstone of the company’s philosophy to this day.

Primary Nintendo Subsidiaries

Nintendo, a renowned leader in the interactive entertainment industry, owns several key subsidiaries around the globe that help distribute and localize its products for different regions.

Nintendo of America Inc.

Nintendo of America Inc. is a crucial subsidiary responsible for Nintendo’s operations in the United States. It oversees the sales, marketing, and distribution of hardware and software, and provides customer support for North America.

Nintendo of Europe GmbH

Based in Germany, Nintendo of Europe GmbH plays a pivotal role in managing Nintendo’s presence across Europe. They handle the regional localization, distribution, and promotion of the company’s wide range of products.

Nintendo of Australia Pty Ltd

Nintendo of Australia Pty Ltd, headquartered in Australia, serves as the operational base down under. This subsidiary ensures that both software and hardware products are available and tailored to meet the Australian market’s demands.

Nintendo of Canada Ltd

Meanwhile, in Canada, Nintendo of Canada Ltd is tasked with the promotion and distribution of Nintendo’s offerings. They ensure that Canadian Nintendo fans have access to the latest games and consoles.

Nintendo’s Core Research and Development Teams

Nintendo’s core research and development teams are integral in maintaining the company’s position as an industry leader in gaming. They focus on innovative software creation as well as advancing technology and services to enhance gaming experiences.

Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development

The Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development division, often referred to as Nintendo EPD, stands as the primary software development division of Nintendo. It was formed through the merger of Nintendo’s former Entertainment Analysis & Development and Software Planning & Development divisions. Nintendo EPD is responsible for the development of many iconic Nintendo titles, fostering the creative process from conception to completion.

Nintendo Platform Technology Development

Nintendo Platform Technology Development (PTD) operates with a clear focus on creating the cutting-edge technology that underpins Nintendo’s hardware platforms. This team ensures that the hardware evolution aligns with software needs, ensuring seamless integration and optimal performance. Their work includes systems-on-chip design, operating systems, and network services, all essential to the hardware that interacts with Nintendo’s software products.

Nintendo Business Development

On the commercial side, Nintendo Business Development is tasked with driving new business opportunities that go beyond traditional game development. They explore and build relationships for digital content services and applications, propelling Nintendo’s presence in global markets. This team is pivotal in adapting to new market trends and establishing partnerships that benefit Nintendo’s broader ecosystem, aiming to reach and captivate a more extensive and diverse audience.

Software and Game Development

Nintendo is not only a titan in console manufacturing but also a powerhouse in software and game development. They own several studios known for creating some of the most beloved games for their consoles.

1-UP Studio Inc

1-UP Studio Inc., originally known as Brownie Brown, is a Nintendo subsidiary recognized for their collaboration in developing titles for popular franchises like Mario. This team has contributed to the development of various software projects with their expertise on Nintendo’s platforms, enhancing gameplay on both portable and home console experiences.

Monolith Soft Inc

Monolith Soft Inc. is celebrated for their work on the Xenoblade Chronicles series. As a Nintendo-owned developer, they have carved out a reputation for sprawling, epic RPGs with complex narratives and massive worlds, all made possible by their innovative approach to software development on platforms like the Wii and its successors.

Retro Studios Inc

Retro Studios Inc. has achieved critical acclaim with their development of the Metroid Prime series. As a talented subsidiary of Nintendo, they have played a pivotal role in reviving the classic Metroid series for a new generation, leveraging extensive software development capabilities to push the boundaries on Nintendo consoles.

Nintendo Software Technology Corporation

Nintendo Software Technology Corporation (NST) is a key player in North American game development for Nintendo. Located in Redmond, Washington, NST has been involved in crafting various Nintendo titles, with a particular focus on catering software to suit the regional market. Their work includes a diverse array of games that often span different genres and appeal to a wide audience of Nintendo enthusiasts.

Key Partnerships and Collaborations

Nintendo’s journey in creating immersive and beloved games isn’t a solo mission. They foster key partnerships and collaborations with various entities to enhance their offerings. One crucial ally is Game Freak, known primarily for developing the Pokémon series, one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time.

Another studio under its wing is HAL Laboratory, the developer behind the Kirby series and also a contributor to the creation of the Super Smash Bros. series. Coupling creativity and innovation, HAL Laboratory continues to create titles that resonate well with Nintendo’s philosophy of unique and family-friendly gaming experiences.

Intelligent Systems, best recognized for their work on the Fire Emblem series, is another developer that works closely with Nintendo. Their strategy-driven games have garnered a dedicated following, cementing their place within Nintendo’s ecosystem.

Moreover, Nintendo collaborates with Namco, which has co-developed several games for its platforms, such as Mario Kart Arcade GP. This partnership melds Namco’s extensive gaming history with Nintendo’s innovative platforms.

With The Pokémon Company, an affiliate with partial Nintendo ownership, they oversee brand management, licensing, and marketing of the Pokémon franchise. Their global operations ensure Pokémon remains a household name.

Additionally, Nintendo values the roles of third parties in delivering content for its consoles. By supporting a wide array of third-party titles on its platforms, Nintendo ensures a diverse and vibrant ecosystem for gamers around the world. Partnerships with these entities contribute significantly to the depth and breadth of its gaming library.

Popular Game Franchises and IPs

Nintendo, known for its imaginative and family-friendly video games, owns a slew of popular game franchises and intellectual properties. These franchises are instrumental in the company’s enduring success and global recognition.

Mario: A household name, the Mario series, featuring the iconic plumber, includes various genres from platformers to racing games. Notable titles include Super Mario, Mario Kart, and Mario Party.

The Legend of Zelda: This adventure series is revered for its intricate storytelling and expansive worlds. Titles such as Ocarina of Time display the franchise’s wide appeal.

Pokémon: Although Nintendo does not own Pokémon outright, it has a significant stake in the franchise. Pokémon games, co-owned with Game Freak and Creatures, have become a cultural phenomenon.

Donkey Kong: This classic arcade game evolved into its own series with beloved characters like Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong.

Kirby: Known for its charming and vibrant platformers, the Kirby series often introduces innovative gameplay mechanics.

Metroid: This science fiction series, starring bounty hunter Samus Aran, combines exploration with action-platformer elements.

Animal Crossing: Offering a relaxing life simulation experience, Animal Crossing allows players to customize their own islands and interact with anthropomorphic characters.

Splatoon: Nintendo’s fresh take on the shooter genre, Splatoon features inklings in turf war battles and has a rapidly growing fanbase.

Super Smash Bros.: An all-star fighting game that brings together characters from various Nintendo franchises, Super Smash Bros. has become a staple of competitive gaming.

The diversity of Nintendo’s franchises and IPs is a testament to the company’s innovative spirit and dedication to creating engaging, high-quality gaming experiences. Each of these IPs has contributed to the rich tapestry of Nintendo’s gaming universe.

Nintendo’s Hardware Innovations

Nintendo has a legacy of revolutionizing gaming with its hardware. The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) reintroduced the home gaming console market with its reliable cartridge system and iconic controllers. Following its success, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) enhanced the gaming experience with improved graphics and sound capabilities that became the benchmark of the era.

The introduction of the Game Boy demonstrated Nintendo’s innovation in the handheld market. With its compact form and long battery life, the Game Boy made gaming portable and accessible. The device’s vast library and the popularity of games like Pokémon solidified its place in gaming history.

Advancing the handheld concept, the Nintendo DS series included features such as dual screens, with the bottom being a touchscreen, and a built-in microphone enhancing interactivity. This innovation continued with the Nintendo 3DS, which offered 3D visuals without the need for special glasses.

The home console realm saw a significant shift with the Wii U. It integrated a tablet-like controller with a touch screen, blurring the lines between handheld and traditional console gaming. However, it was the Nintendo Switch that perfected this blend. With detachable Joy-Con controllers and a dockable tablet, the Switch offers an effortless transition from home console to portable device.

With each new console, Nintendo has introduced hardware that pushes the boundaries of traditional gaming, making them leaders in innovation. They have consistently found ways to create user-friendly and unique gaming experiences that resonate with a broad audience.

Global Operations and Localization

Nintendo’s global presence has been bolstered by its subsidiaries, such as Nintendo of America Inc., which oversees operations in the United States, and Nintendo of Europe, which manages the European market.

In localizing content, the company ensures that its games are culturally relevant and linguistically accurate. This involves not just translation, but also the adaptation of graphics, music, and gameplay mechanics to suit different audiences. For example, Nintendo of Korea is instrumental in tailoring products for the Korean market, accounting for local preferences and cultural nuances.

Moreover, Nintendo also operates in places like Minami-ku, a bustling ward in Kyoto, and has a vital hub in Hong Kong, which plays a significant role in the distribution and localization process for the Asian markets.

Subsidiary Highlights:

  • Nintendo of America Inc.: Addressing demands of the U.S. market, from marketing to sales.
  • Nintendo of Europe: Handling diverse European languages and traditions.
  • Nintendo of Korea: Specializing in Korea-specific content adaptations.

The company’s dedication to comprehensive localization is evident in its multi-territory approach, ensuring that whether a gamer is in Belgium, part of the region covered by Nintendo Benelux, or the streets of Seoul, they enjoy a gaming experience that feels familiar and engaging.

Manufacturing and Production

Nintendo has a storied history of producing innovative gaming consoles and games, with most of its manufacturing and production operations rooted in Japan. Based in Kyoto, the company’s in-house manufacturing facilities are known for their high-quality control and efficient production lines. They have adeptly combined traditional Japanese attention to detail with modern technological advancements to maintain Nintendo’s standard of excellence in gaming hardware.

Nintendo’s Production Sites

  • Kyoto, Japan: The main hub for Nintendo’s manufacturing and production.
  • Uji City, Japan: Home to Nintendo’s Uji Plant, which focuses on console assembly.

International Production Efforts

While Nintendo is quintessentially Japanese, the company has expanded its manufacturing reach to include partnerships with Chinese factories, especially during times of high demand. These sites supplement Nintendo’s production needs to ensure a steady supply of consoles and accessories to the global market.

Nintendo Technology Development (NTD)

The production process is not just about assembly; it involves advanced technological research and development. Nintendo Technology Development, a subsidiary, is integral in developing the technology that underpins Nintendo’s hardware. Located in the United States, NTD pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in gaming by crafting the hardware architecture and specialized tools used in Nintendo’s manufacturing processes.

In summary, Nintendo’s approach to manufacturing and production is a blend of in-house precision in Japan paired with strategic international partnerships, all guided by the innovative work of Nintendo Technology Development.

Innovation and Expansion

Nintendo’s growth is a testament to its commitment to innovation and expansion. They have made strategic acquisitions and established a number of subsidiaries to bolster their business development and technology prowess.

  • Nintendo Business Development

    This division is crucial for exploring new business areas. They focus on maximizing intellectual property, which includes Nintendo’s foray into the mobile gaming sector.

  • Nintendo Technology Development Inc.

    This subsidiary is at the heart of Nintendo’s hardware research and development. Their teams tirelessly work on creating innovative gaming technology to support Nintendo’s long line of successful gaming consoles.

  • Nintendo Switch Online

    Nintendo has expanded its services by launching Nintendo Switch Online. This service enhances gaming experiences with online gameplay and offers a library of classic Nintendo titles at subscribers’ fingertips.

  • Monolith Soft Inc.

    Specializing in role-playing games, Monolith Soft Inc., a Nintendo-owned powerhouse, points to the company’s commitment to diverse gaming experiences.

  • 1-UP Studio Inc.

    Their collaboration with Nintendo has brought many engaging titles to Nintendo’s platforms, demonstrating a successful partnership in software development.

  • Nintendo Pictures

    This entity focuses on visual content and works on expanding Nintendo’s reach beyond the gaming industry.

As for the employees, they are the cornerstone of Nintendo’s expansion, working behind the scenes to innovate and provide services that solidify Nintendo’s position as a leading figure in the technology and entertainment industry.

Nintendo’s Presence in Popular Culture

Nintendo has woven itself into the fabric of popular culture through its memorable gaming franchises and characters. The Super Mario Bros. series, with its iconic characters Mario and Luigi, serves as a cornerstone of gaming history. One can see Mario’s influence, as he jumps from the digital world into the realm of merchandise, other media, and theme parks.

Aside from the classic adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom, Nintendo has explored spooky territories with Luigi’s Mansion, featuring Mario’s often-overlooked brother. This game series adds a delightful mix of humor and thrills, capturing fans’ hearts and expanding Luigi’s fan base.

The world of Zelda is another cultural phenomenon, with its deep lore and the heroic journey of Link to save Princess Zelda. This fantasy epic has spun a large fanbase that follows the franchise’s every release and regards it as a template for adventure genre excellence.

Nintendo’s influence isn’t restricted to fantasy. They’ve made commendable forays into the world of science fiction with Star Fox. This series features piloting and space combat mechanics that have influenced numerous space adventure titles.

While Nintendo is primarily known for video game entertainment, the company also had a notable journey in the world of sports through their past ownership stake in the Seattle Mariners. This move showed Nintendo’s versatility and willingness to reach beyond the gaming industry.

Paper Mario stands out as a clever blend of role-playing elements with the familiar Mario universe. Its unique visual style and storytelling charm have cemented its place as a beloved series that humorously parodies typical RPG clichés.

Nintendo’s array of characters and stories continually resonate with fans, shaping a significant part of contemporary entertainment culture.

Frequently Asked Questions


This section answers some of the most common inquiries regarding the corporate structure and property ownership of Nintendo.

Who currently serves as the CEO of Nintendo?

The CEO of Nintendo is Shuntaro Furukawa, who took on the role in June 2018.

Can you tell me how many studios are under Nintendo’s ownership?

Nintendo has a number of studios under its ownership, including 1-UP Studio Inc. and Monolith Soft Inc., among others.

Is Mario a character owned by a Nintendo studio?

Yes, Mario is a character owned by Nintendo and is the mascot of the company, appearing in many Nintendo games.

Has Nintendo ever been a subsidiary of another company like Sony?

No, Nintendo has not been a subsidiary of Sony or any other company; it has always been an independent entity.

Which game development teams operate directly under Nintendo?

Some of the game development teams that operate directly under Nintendo include ND Cube Co., Ltd. and Next Level Games.

Is the Pokémon franchise part of Nintendo’s intellectual property portfolio?

The Pokémon franchise is part of Nintendo’s intellectual property portfolio in partnership with The Pokémon Company, which Nintendo partly owns along with Game Freak and Creatures.