What does Nintendo’s first mobile app say about Mario’s future?

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cell C Owner Said to Reject $1 Billion Offer From Telkom.

Oger Telecom Ltd. has rejected a 14 billion rand ($1 billion) offer from Africa’s largest fixed-line operator, Telkom SA SOC Ltd., for its 75 percent stake in South African wireless carrier Cell C Pty Ltd., according to a person familiar with the matter.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. Nintendo calls the app a “free-to-start communication application that helps friends share fun personal facts and interests.” Those users will create Mii characters and play around in a “welcoming social environment.” In other words, the game company isn’t even launching a 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.

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. Telkom shares fell as much as 2.4 percent and traded 0.9 percent lower at 70.56 rand as of 5 p.m. in Johannesburg, valuing the company at 37 billion rand. 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. Nintendo even stoked the flames a bit, saying that any of its franchises were in the running to go mobile. “I think they are saying that they are firmly committed to their long-term strategy of making proprietary hardware and supporting it with proprietary software, and this foray into mobile will not involve any of Nintendo’s iconic [franchises],” says Webdush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, who thinks the company’s future strategy is firmly hinged on its next, top-secret console.

Telkom operates South Africa’s fourth-biggest mobile-phone provider and is seeking to grow the business to help offset declining sales at its larger fixed-line unit. While Nintendo has remained tight-lipped on its plans, rumors suggest the device will be a high-end console more capable of competing against Microsoft’s MSFT -1.15% Xbox One and Sony’s SNE -3.00% PlayStation 4. 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. The company’s current Wii U is a distant third in the console market, and as competitors continue to sell millions of units each quarter, it’s falling further behind.

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. Also launched in Nov. 2013, Microsoft’s Xbox One sales are believed to be around 15 million units, though the company hasn’t shared sales data in the last several months. “Nintendo’s next piece of hardware is central to the future of the company, so we expect it to be very focused on executing on the Nintendo NX,” says Piers Harding-Rolls, an analyst at IHS.

While that leaves the door open to a future Super Mario game on your iPhone, for right now, all signs seem to point towards the same old Nintendo doing the same old things—while tossing in a disappointing first run at mobile devices for good measure.

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