As the market grows, more big Japanese game franchises go mobile

Following in the footsteps of Nintendo and Square Enix, Level-5 is expanding some of its popular franchises, including Professor Layton and Fantasy Life, to mobile devices in a big way.

Following in the footsteps of Nintendo and Square Enix, Level-5 is expanding some of its popular franchises to mobile devices in a big way while continuing to invest in console game development.

During Level-5's annual Vision event today in Japan, Siliconera reports the company laid out plans for the year ahead that include releasing its upcoming Professor Layton game on smartphones rather than 3DS and launching a mobile-only sequel to the company's popular 3DS RPG Fantasy Life

The company has been releasing smartphone games for some time, and this migration of tentpole titles to mobile devices marks Level-5 as one among many big Japanese game companies (including Nintendo and Square Enix) pouring more resources into Japan's ravenous mobile market.

The shift comes at a time when analysts report that Japan's console market is shrinking fast; at this point Nintendo's 3DS handheld typically eats up the lion's share of console hardware and software sales in the region.

However, the company is showing no signs of abandoning its console game development efforts; Level-5 also announced a slew of 3DS projects today, including multiple new 3DS games and a partnership with Nintendo to publish Level-5's remarkably popular Yokai-Watch  in the West.

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