You wouldn't think one little mobile game could send shares of Japan's Nintendo soaring, but that's what happened after the company's new Pokemon Go smartphone game became the No. 1 free app in Apple's US iTunes store.
Shares in Nintendo were up 10 percent Friday on the Tokyo stock exchange, putting the company at its highest valuation ($23 billion) in more than two months, according to Reuters.
While Pokemon Go is off to a good start it's the promised arrival of future Nintendo games on mobile platforms that has investors excited. The company says it will release four more smartphone games in the financial year to end-March and that mobile gaming could lift its operating profit by a third to 45 billion yen or $450 million. A new Nintendo gaming console is due to arrive in March 2017.
Over the years, to protect its console business, Nintendo has avoided bringing its well-known gaming franchises such as Super Mario Bros and Pokemon to mobile devices. But this week's launch of Pokemon Go for iOS and Android devices in the US, Australia and New Zealand's marks the start of a new era for the company.
The app, which still has some bugs, revolves around searching for and capturing Pokemon characters, then doing battle with them in "gyms." Yes, the game's free, but it also offers in-app purchases for power-ups and extra items.
For those interested, here's a look at how the gym battles work in Pokemon Go.