Nintendo disappoints, baffles with first mobile app

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Nintendo announces first mobile game Miitomo, new Nintendo accounts.

When Nintendo announced plans to enter the mobile market earlier this year, the hope among gamers and investors was that it would come out swinging, bringing one of its powerful franchises to smartphones and tablets and making a big initial impact. Shares of the Japanese video gaming giant plummeted 9% in Tokyo on Thursday, hours after the company unveiled “Miitomo,” an app that may be more of a social networking tool than a traditional game. Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima unveiled “Miitomo,” the company’s first free-to-play title, on Thursday, though he confirmed whispers that the company will delay its entry into the mobile space from the end of 2015 until next spring to “further improve the application and to optimize the overall smart device business.” As such, the company isn’t using well-known characters in its catalog such as Mario, Donkey Kong or Link, from “The Legend of Zelda.” Instead, Nintendo — along with partner DeNA — opted to make the game a more personalized experience, letting players use the avatars like the ones they create on the Wii and Wii U. “Miitomo” will use that character — called a Mii — to communicate with other players, which Kimishima said will “enable friends to share information comfortably and securely.” After creating a Mii in the app, players will answer a variety of questions — the answers of which will be communicated to the user’s circle of friends within the app.

The storied company famous for characters such as “Super Mario” and “Zelda” had long been hesitant to delve into the exploding market for mobile games. Nintendo envisions these are “communication starters” which could lead to real world discussions. “You may be able to find out unknown aspects about your friends or unexpected commonalities you share with your friend because ‘Miitomo’ may pick up the topics that you usually do not discuss but would be willing to answer if asked,” said Kimishima. “What we would like to realize is, through such communication, you will be able to deepen friendly relationships and have more people with whom you can play games.” “Miitomo” will be the first of five mobile apps from Nintendo and DeNA, which the companies say will all be out by March 2017. Investors Thursday may not have been sold on “Miitomo.” The game uses cartoon-like characters called Mii to promote social interaction between users. My Nintendo (initially revealed as Nintendo Account) profiles will give players a unified presence across Nintendo platforms and smartphones, and allow users to log in using their social network accounts. As part of its mobile plans, Nintendo will also launch a new account service, called Nintendo Account, which will work across Nintendo’s hardware devices as well as mobile and PC platforms, creating a bridge between the systems via cloud-based technology. “Miitomo” certainly isn’t what most people were expecting from the company, though historically, Nintendo has often succeeded by exploring areas that seem unusual.

My Nintendo also functions as the replacement for the rewards system Club Nintendo, allowing players to earn points for playing and purchasing games that can than be used to purchase digital goods, actual physical Nintendo merchandise, or obtain discount coupons. Kimishima gave no update or hints about the company’s next generation hardware system, which is expected to be store shelves by the 2016 holiday season. I don’t need Nintendo to give me a cartoon version of myself that allows me to interact with my friends. …Facebook already dominates everybody who has social interactions. My friends who care know what I’m interested in—and the ones who don’t know aren’t interested.” Beyond surprising analysts with the app’s theme, Nintendo also shocked analysts and investors with the announcement that it was delaying Miitomo’s release from this December until March 2016.

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