THE trajectory of Nintendo’s stock price in the past year has been worthy of the vaults and free-falls of a particularly exhilarating round of “Super Mario Bros”. The Japanese video-gaming firm’s hit title helped start the era of living-room gaming over three decades ago, when it introduced Mario, the pudgy Italian plumber, to millions. But recently Nintendo has failed to keep pace with the rise of smartphone gaming.

Many investors hoped that when the firm announced its first-ever game designed for smartphones in autumn 2015, Super Mario would be the one to make its long-awaited mobile debut. The company’s share price tumbled by 10% on the news that it was only Miitomo, a new chatting app. Then came “Pokémon Go”, a location-based game in which players catch virtual creatures on their screens while roaming the real world. Nintendo’s stock price more than doubled to over ¥32,000 ($318) within a few weeks of its release in July. Its market value briefly overtook that of Sony.

Then down again. Nintendo’s shares plummeted by the most since 1990 when the firm made it clear that it had less of a stake in “Pokémon Go”, which...Continue reading