With the launch of its Miitomo app, Nintendo’s very first mobile effort has seen immediate success in the mobile gaming arena.
Released on Thursday, March 17, the Nintendo Miitomo app was downloaded by more than one million registered users in less than four days. The Miitomo app is available for the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, but it’s only available for people in Japan — for now.
According to a March 22 article on Bloomberg, Nintendo’s stock jumped 8.2 percent after users downloaded Miitomo over one million times in 72 hours. The messaging app sits firmly in first place in Japan’s free-app ranking on Apple’s iOS devices.
Miitomo is dubbed as the mobile app that encourages users to not directly chat with their friends – and it’s blown past the most popular chat application in Japan to become the number one mobile app in the Japanese iOS app store.
Research indicates that nearly 97 percent of children have used a smart device by age four, with most of them using one before age one. This trend is hard for companies to ignore, even Nintendo — a company that’s built its fortune on console games. Until now, Nintendo has avoided the mobile phone and tablet gaming market, opting to focus on their legacy home and portable console games.
Julie Johnson, Inquisitr contributor, said that “the late Nintendo President Satoru Iwata admitted to TechCrunch that Nintendo had a difficult time deciding to transition to mobile devices, saying the nearly 130-year-old Japanese company was in denial that the business of dedicated gaming consoles was dead due to the growth of mobile. After five years of talks, Iwata said Nintendo finally decided that not considering smartphone apps would be a waste and ultimately hopes that Nintendo smartphone game apps will result in more Nintendo console sales.”
Nintendo’s Miitomo combines elements of gaming and social media. Miitomo users are required to create a Mii avatar, modeled after themselves. Once the Mii is created, it asks a series of questions to learn more about the user. The answers to those questions are broadcasted to the user’s connections. Engagement happens when the Miis interact with each other.
Nintendo Miitomo users can customize their Miis with different facial features, hairstyles, clothing, and more to make their Miis match their unique personality. Users can then give their Mii a nickname, choose how their Mii speaks, and even choose their Mii’s personality. If users really want to get creative, they can create their Mii using a picture taken from their smartphone’s camera.
The Nintendo Miitomo app encourages users to share their in-app selfies on social media and offers users rewards for connecting with their friends. Miitomo will be available in 15 more countries this month, including the U.S., France, Germany, and Russia.
Nintendo Miitomo is free but offers in-app purchases so users can purchase clothing and other items. Miitomo users can also set up a Nintendo Account that connects them across multiple devices like their PC and smartphone.
Nintendo plans to launch four more mobile apps in the next 12 months. The company has stated that the other four apps will be games, but Nintendo has not disclosed which character will star in the first mobile games.
A February 2016 Venture Beat article stated that Nintendo has shown interest in virtual reality technology:
So Nintendo (at the briefing) just said no change in plans for the smartphone app roll out. Says they “are looking” at VR – with no details.
— Dr. Serkan Toto (@serkantoto) February 2, 2016
Have you had a chance to play Nintendo Miitomo yet? What do you think? Are you hooked yet?
[Image via YouTube|GameXPlain]