MARIO WORLD

Nintendo will open theme parks at three Universal Studios around the world

Super Mario World is coming to the real world.

Japan’s Nintendo said Tuesday (Nov. 29) it will open attractions based on its famous video games inside three Universal Studios parks around the world, as it continues to venture into industries beyond video games.

Parks in Orlando, Hollywood, and Osaka will open “authentic environments filled with multiple attractions, shops, and restaurants,” and will make attendees “feel as if they are playing inside their favorite games,” according to a company statement.

Neither Nintendo nor Universal have said when the sites will open to the public, or what specific rides they might contain. But a video released in conjunction with the announcement gives viewers a glimpse of what to expect. As Universal Creative president Mark Woodbury and Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto address the camera, they’re flanked by giant gold coins and Koopa Troopa shells.

In the video, Miyamoto says he hopes to “bring the essence of the games to the real world,” adding, “I think Mario will feel like he finally came home.” In 2010 Universal launched a Harry Potter-themed park, wherein visitors could dine at the Leaky Cauldron, take a ride through Gringotts bank, and purchase wands from Diagon Alley shops. It seems likely that Nintendo’s site will be equally immersive—perhaps attendees can jump over Donkey Kong barrels and dine on peach pie cooked by Princess Peach.

Nintendo’s new partnership with Comcast (which owns Universal Parks & Resorts) comes as the Kyoto giant continues to enter new businesses to make it less dependent on console and game sales. The rise of smartphones games, which Nintendo shunned until recently, caused its revenues to plummet over the past five years.

After Pokemon Go (developed with San Francisco’s Niantic Labs) took the world by storm last summer, it helped Nintendo generate $115 million in revenue in roughly eight weeks. Nintendo owns a stake in Niantic, as well as 33% of The Pokemon Company, a company that licenses the rights to use Pokemon’s intellectual property.

In addition to theme parks, Nintendo is currently in talks with various film studios to turn its video games into feature-length movies.

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