Nintendo’s New Mobile App Isn’t A Game, and That’s OK

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Nintendo has been hinting for awhile now it’s desire to enter the smartphone gaming market. It makes sense, with most adults owning a smartphone and many children owning tablets of some sort. Every other game company is trying to incorporate mobile devices into their consoles, so now it’s Nintendo’s turn.

In the evening of October 28th, Nintendo announced their first ever mobile app, Miitomo, set to release in March 2016.

What is Miitomo?

Nintendo’s new CEO Tatsumi Kimishima started the presentation relaying Nintendo’s desire to connect with younger generations, and how they plan on doing this through mobile apps that connect with Nintendo consoles.

Kimishima then announced Miitomo, a mobile “game” where you design a Mii, tell it a few things about yourself, and it turns around and communicates with other Miis.

Ok…. So where is the game part?

Kimishima answers a few more questions, explaining that the game will be free to play with attractive paid add-ons, that the other 4 games in the pipeline with be pay to download, and the purpose of Miitomo.

Miitomo will encourage shy, young people to communicate with others using the app. Users will design their Mii to their liking and can talk about private and important things with a level of privacy. This can help children and teens who have difficulty connecting with others and practice communication skills. While to western audiences, this seems strange, it’s a serious problem for youth in Japan.

So… Miitomo is not really a game. It’s a communication app.

Not what gamers were expecting

So it’s not the Mario or Zelda game everybody was expecting, and it isn’t making as big of a splash as Pokemon Go! At first thought, I was a little frustrated with Nintendo, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.

Stop thinking of it as a game, and more like a social forum like Yik Yak, or Reddit. Miitomo will be a place for Nintendo gamers to share ideas, stories, experiences, emotions and whatever else with others.

Nintendo gamers are a little bit crazy, and funny, at times. Every time Nintendo opens a public speech forum, like those in Splatoon and Miiverse, gamers have fun with it. They make us laugh with weird fan art, awkward comments, and hilarious jokes.

Plus, Nintendo knows that gamers are willing to shell out a few bucks for costumes. The Miis will probably come with basic outfits, similar to the Mii fighters from Super Smash Bros, and you can purchase character costumes, like Megaman or Luigi.

Is It Going to Work?

Well, I wouldn’t say it will fail. This is another attempt by Nintendo to innovate and change gaming, and it will be met with some measure of success. Nintendo die hards will download it, purchase a few skins for Miis, say some silly stuff and forget about it. Social sites will be filled with screen caps of Miis exclaiming different things for a few weeks, and then it will slowly die off.

Miitomo is Nintendo’s safe step into mobile apps. They’ll be able to get feedback for their next four games, planned to release in 2017, so they have a better idea what to do. Nintendo isn’t going to leave anytime soon, and the fact they are even considering mobile apps shows they are considering alternative routes to capture the attention of even more gamers.

What are your thoughts? Are you going to download Miitomo? What do you think the other 4 mobiles games are going to be? Is there going to be a Mario sidescroller? Let us know in the comments below.

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The Author

Ben Allen

Ben Allen

Champion of Hyrule, defender of space, bane of demons, savior of light, and occasional pizza eater.