Nintendo's First Smartphone 'Game'

29 October 2015

Wall Street Journal:

The new smartphone game will be “Miitomo”. It will be free to play, with attractive add-ons that people can pay for, Mr. Kimishima says. Other smartphone games will be pay-to-download, he says.

Looks like Miis go ahead and communicate with other Miis without your knowledge. This will help people who are hesitant to talk about themselves to communicate with others, and reveal a side of your friends you never knew, Mr. Kimishima says.

The anticipation was built. Nintendo has been saying its bringing its games to iOS for several months now. The timing was perfect. Apple’s mobile game press conference was set a day before the new Apple TV ships. Unfortunately, what Nintendo showed was not a flagship title at all, it’s a stretch to even call it a game. It’s more like a social messaging app with 3D avatars (the Miis).

It wasn’t what I was hoping for but I also question how well it is going to fare in the market. At least for Western audiences, many companies have tried and failed before Nintendo to galvanise people into running around as 3D avatars in their own virtual world. Perhaps Nintendo has a competitive edge in the Japanese markets to make this successful, I’m not familiar enough with the situation.

What is definitely true is that what I wanted to see did not transpire. However, I remain confident that Nintendo will ship a true honest-to-good game for iPhone eventually. There are five games planned between now until March 2017. Importantly, other games will not be freemium. It makes sense that these would be the ‘AAA titles’ everyone is wanting, likely interconnected with Nintendo’s next-generation NX console that has a mobile component.