Nintendo could have started with absolutely anything with their first mobile foray and they’d have a massive smash on their hands – Mario, Yoshi, Link, Kirby, it wouldn’t matter – but instead they’ve decided to open up their mobile app adventure with something called Miitomo.
What’s Miitomo? Here’s the meaty bit of the press release we received this morning, to explain further:
Miitomo is a social experience that uses Nintendo’s Mii characters to engage friends in a lighthearted, playful and welcoming social setting. Mii characters first debuted on the Wii console and to date, more than 200 million Mii characters have been created around the world. Using Mii characters users will be able to interact with their friends in an entirely new way to spark fun and interesting conversations by answering questions such as “what song has been stuck in your head lately?”, “do you believe in aliens?”, or even “if you saw a nose hair sticking out of your friend’s nose, what would you do?” By answering questions in Miitomo users will be able to discover surprising information and secrets about their friends, as well as share their experiences with others easily by taking and sharing photos featuring their Mii using the Miifoto feature.
So Miitomo is absolutely not a game, then. It sounds more like a cross between WhatsApp and not-at-all-creepy juvenile chatroom Habbo Hotel or – more to the point – almost exactly like Sony’s PlayStation Home service, which you may remember was taken out into the yard and executed unceremoniously by Sony almost a year ago.
But you know, it’s got Mii characters in it, so there’s a differentiator. Perhaps more interesting from the press release is the mention of the My Nintendo rewards program, which fills the hole left by Club Nintendo when that was also terminated last year:
Nintendo’s new My Nintendo rewards program will launch alongside Miitomo in March 2016, and will be able to connect with Miitomo. A special Miitomo bonus will be offered to anyone in UK & Ireland that creates a Nintendo Account between 17th February and the launch of Miitomo in March. My Nintendo aims to become much more than a traditional rewards program. It is a more comprehensive service that rewards users for interacting with Nintendo products and services in a variety of ways. Miitomo users with a Nintendo Account will be able to take advantage of My Nintendo to enhance their experience.
They also promise to release at least five new mobile apps by March 2017 – here’s hoping some of them are actually games.