Teaming up: Nintendo merging console and handheld divisions to keep up with competitors

For the first time in nearly ten years, there are some big structural changes happening at Nintendo.

A report out from Japan-based Nikkei.com notes that Nintendo is combining its handheld and home console divisions with hopes to create “more innovative and attractive products.” Engadget has confirmed the news.

130 employees from the console development team will join forces with 150 employees from the handheld branch and form one group next month. There will even be a new $340 million building constructed for the new team near the company’s headquarters in Kyoto, Japan.

IGN reports that the members will be organized by their specialties like circuits and design. The move is intended to help Nintendo keep pace with the tablet and smartphone gaming market, as well as console competitors in Xbox and PlayStation. Both Microsoft and Sony are expected to unveil next-generation consoles later this year.

Nintendo’s latest product is the Wii U, a console that features a large handheld “GamePad” controller with a touchscreen. According to president Satoru Iwata, sales of the device are “not bad,” but not quite as impressive as when the original Wii was released.

Nintendo of America is based in Redmond.

Previously on GeekWire: Nintendo Wii U Sales “not bad” says president