Miitomo, Nintendo’s First Mobile Game, Will Launch in March
Miitomo, Nintendo’s first smartphone game, will launch globally in March alongside its “My Nintendo” customer-loyalty online service, the company said Wednesday.
The Miitomo app, which uses Nintendo’s “Mii” avatar characters, is described as a “social experience” that gets you interacting with your friends in surprising and funny ways. The app may ask you a question like, “If you saw a nose hair sticking out of your friend’s nose, what would you do?” and then share your answers among your social circles.
(In the spirit of the app, I’ll share my answer: Ignore it, but subtweet about it later.)
“All of you must have had the enjoyable experience of being prompted by a friend to talk about something that you might not normally bring up in the course of your conversation,” said Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima at a briefing for investors Wednesday. “Mii characters facilitate this kind of social play structure with Miitomo.”
On February 17, Western gamers will be able to sign up for the new Nintendo Account service (already online in Japan), which will get you some unnamed “bonus” when Miitomo launches. More to the point, signing up for a Nintendo Account will enroll you in My Nintendo, the new rewards program that is replacing the sunsetted “Club Nintendo.”
Nintendo also outlined the broad strokes of My Nintendo at the investor meeting: Through My Nintendo, you’ll earn two different types of “points” when you use Nintendo products, which can be redeemed for different things. Platinum Points are earned simply by interacting with Nintendo products, whether that means using Miitomo on your smartphone or playing Mario on your game console. These can be redeemed for “digital content” like wallpapers, in-game items, themes, et cetera.
Gold Points are earned by purchasing digital games on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, and can be redeemed only for discount coupons that will let you buy more digital games at a reduced price.
Absent from My Nintendo, on either end of the transaction, are any sort of physical goods. The old Club Nintendo program let you buy game discs in stores and redeem those points for physical tchotchkes that Nintendo would mail to you. Nintendo specifically called out every aspect of My Nintendo as being “digital” only in nature.
Nintendo also plans to use My Nintendo to send special discount offers to customers based on their previous purchases or playing history. In the future, it says this might extend to “perks at retail stores.”
While you won’t be forced to sign up for My Nintendo in order to play Miitomo, Kimishima said, he aims to have 100 million My Nintendo users sign up “at the earliest possible timing.” Nintendo plans to release four additional smartphone apps before the end of March 2017, and these will be designed in “a way that will encourage consumers to become My Nintendo members,” Kimishima said.
“For each app, we will review and select the most appropriate payment system,” he said. “But we are thinking of mainly deploying free-to-start type apps as we hope as many people as possible among hundreds of millions of people all around the world who own smart devices will experience our apps.”
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