Five years ago Nintendo’s late great Worldwide President Satoru Iwata stated that developing software for mobile devices was “absolutely not under consideration”. Despite investor pressure to follow modern trends and hook up with smart devices and criticisms that the company was stuck in the dark ages of gaming, it seemed like Nintendo was fixing to stay with what it knew.
Since Mr Iwata’s remarks the company launched the Wii U home system in 2012. Sticking with tradition but adding a touch-screen twist was a gamble that didn’t pay off financially. This console initially confused gamers and brought little market success. Nintendo saw massive losses in the following years.
Fast forward to March 2015, and Nintendo made the shocking announcement that it has entered a long-term partnership with Japanese app maker DeNA but little was made public about how this would affect the brand – only that Nintendo IPs would cross over onto smart devices in the next few years. This would be one of Mr Iwata’s last announcements before his passing in July of that year. With the direction of the Nintendo brand now in the hands of new President Tatsumi Kimishima everything was about to change.
Almost a year later Nintendo has released information about its first mobile app, a social interaction platform called Miitomo. We’d heard a little about the app in recent months, emerging from various corporate meetings but today in a detailed overview on the Nintendo website Miitomo is explained and some important dates are offered.
Miitomo will provide unique social interaction between Mii avatars who will engage in a question and answers style with questions generated by computer. Nintendo says it best:
“Using Mii characters users will be able to interact with their friends in an entirely new way to spark fun and interesting conversations by answering questions such as, “What song has been stuck in your head lately?”, “Do you believe in aliens?”, or even, “If you saw a nose hair sticking out of your friend’s nose, what would you do?””
As well as the conversing and learning part, Miitomo users will also be able to send photos and pictures through a feature called Miifoto (of course!)
Miitomo will launch in March and will be linked to a Nintendo Account. Nintendo Accounts can be pre-registered using a Nintendo ID from February the 17th in the UK and Europe. Pre-registering means gamers will be first to know about when Miitomo goes live and also offers a ‘special bonus’. What this means exactly is not explained, however from what we understand Miitomo will offer in-app purchases for things such as customisable outfits for the Mii characters.
This may be confirmed when more details arrive about ‘My Nintendo’ which replaces the long-standing Club Nintendo reward scheme and will also begin in March. Nintendo describes My Nintendo as “much more than a traditional rewards program. It is a more comprehensive service that rewards users for interacting with Nintendo products and services in a variety of ways.”
Miitomo will be one of five mobile apps launched between March 2016 and March 2017 and further details and a full website are expected to appear soon at https://miitomo.com.