Rumors point to Nintendo shipping iOS 'The Legend of Zelda' title later this year

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Nintendo is reportedly planning to expand its mobile gaming efforts following the success of 'Super Mario Run' and 'Fire Emblem: Heroes' on iOS, with the Kyoto firm said to be bringing 'The Legend of Zelda' to the platform in the future, along with rumors of another 'Pokemon' title for smartphones also apparently on the way.

People familiar with the project told the Wall Street Journal about "The Legend of Zelda" smartphone game, but declined to offer much in the way of detail about it. The report sources claim it will arrive some time after the release of the delayed "Animal Crossing" app, which is expected to be released in the second half of this year, but advised release timings and the order of releases could change.

So far, Nintendo has released just three games on mobile devices, with the initial "Miitomo" considered more a "social experience" than a game, to try and spark conversations between users via Mii-style avatars. "Super Mario Run" was a major success for Nintendo, with players required to pay a $10 unlocking fee to play the game beyond the platform game's initial levels. Lastly, "Fire Emblem: Heroes" is a free-to-play turn-based strategy game that offered microtransactions to speed up progress, a more typical style of mobile game monetization.

It is unknown which monetization route Nintendo will take for the "Zelda" game, but it seems either method will be a success for the company. Within weeks of its release, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima advised in an interview in February "Fire Emblem: Heroes " had generated over $5 million in revenue, while "Super Mario Run" had earned more than $53 million since its debut.

Nintendo also intends the mobile games to be an advertisement for its other games and hardware, to try and convert casual gamers over to the firm's consoles, such as the recently-launched Switch. The latest game in the "Zelda" franchise is extremely popular in the United States for the Switch, reportedly selling more copies than units of the Switch itself, due to the console's scarcity.

In the same report, sources claim the Pokemon Company is working on creating a new "Pokemon" card-game app for smartphones and tablets. No other details were provided about the game, with a Pokemon Company spokesperson declining to comment to the report about the rumored title.

The company already has a similar app in existence, with the "Pokemon TCG Online" allowing users to play each other in a digital representation of the physical card game. The new game could be a remake of the title, bringing the aging app up to date and providing more modern features to players, such as augmented reality gameplay.

While not entirely owned by Nintendo, with the Kyoto game company owning a 32-percent stake in the Pokemon Company itself, the Pokemon games have earned Nintendo a considerable amount of revenue. The success of "Pokemon Go" last summer helped Nintendo report earnings of 20 billion yen ($176 million) from its investment.