Shares in Japanese video gamemaker Nintendo today notched their biggest daily gain since listing as investors cheered the decision by the creators of Super Mario to venture into smartphones in a bid to retain users. 

The stock ended 21% higher at 17,080 yen ($141) in Tokyo, a day after Nintendo said it would develop mobile gaming apps with online gaming firm DeNA. 

It was the stock's biggest daily gain since Nintendo became public in 1983, adding some $4 billion to the company's market capitalisation. Nintendo is now worth $24 billion. 

Investors have long called on Nintendo, makers of the Wii U and the portable 3DS, to shift its focus to mobile devices after losing customers to both smartphone gaming app makers and console rivals like PlayStation maker Sony and Xbox maker Microsoft. 

The company had so far resisted these calls, pinning hopes on hit games such as "Mario Kart 8". 

But in January, it halved its operating earnings target for the current fiscal year to 20 billion yen ($169m), citing weak 3DS sales. 

The move into smartphone apps could further dent console sales, some analysts said, despite assurances by President Satoru Iwata that Nintendo was committed to making gaming machines. 

Nintendo, however, may be shifting away from hardware, with Iwata saying it was developing a new gaming platform, the NX, as well as an online membership service to be launched this year. 

Before the tie-up with DeNA, Nintendo's shares had fallen over 30% in the past four years, lagging a more than doubling in Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei index. 

DeNA, which mainly develops games played on browsers, had also lost market share in the past two years as users moved to mobile apps.