Miitomo, the first steps of Nintendo on the mobile market

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Why did they wait for so long?

Nintendo has been a major player in the video game industry since the 80s and has finally decided to develop mobile applications for the iOS and the Android platforms. Now that the market of the video games on smartphones is representing a growing part of the sector, it seems that Nintendo is getting late.

Since Nintendo has released the Gameboy at the end of the eighties, it has been the leader on hand-held consoles and has nothing to prove anymore; especially as the 3DS Nintendo still sells very well and owns licenses such as Marion, Zelda and Pokemons. This is exactly the very strength of Nintendo’s strategy : offering games available only on their own hand-held consoles.

If the Japanese giant refused for a very long time to invest in the field of the mobile applications, it is exactly for fear of discontenting occasional players towards this type of support.

The thing is, times have changed and Nintendo made concessions, deciding to develop its strategy.

It is necessary to admit that Nintendo’s results are not good right now, this is due to the direct consequence of the arrival of its last console, Wii U, which has very badly sold.

Its brand image is also ageing, considered sometimes too conservative in its marketing strategy.

That is why, when in 2015, his former CEO SATORU IWATA (who died in summer, 2015) announced the arrival of games on smartphones, this statement was very positively welcomed and brought Nintendo up to date.

The effect is immediate, everybody already imagines to play new Super Mario on his telephone and the Nintendo share has soared on the stock on the following days.

A year later, let’s see how the first Nintendo IOS and Android game is welcome.

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Miitomo, the Mii in the social networks

Miitomo is graphically based on the universe of Mii established with the very popular Wii in 2006, Miitomo is not a game in its strictest sense, but it is rather staged as a social network. It has been inspired by famous games such as 3DS Animal Crossing and Tomodachi Life, the application is focused on an avatar which is going to meet its friends. Interactions are made via questions the the Miis are going to ask to one another and to centralize. These questions-answers constitute the equivalent of the Tweets and it is very pleasant to share your tastes, opinions and photos in this charming small universe. Needless to say that you have the possibility of posting message on Facebook and Tweeter.

Besides a repetitive but pleasant side, we can however blame Miitomo for an extremely interventionist approach. The questions are imposed by the application and they will always be politically correct. Though this framed approach, the game provides a safe space in a cute universe which is reassuring for parents. Miitomo consists of a social network adapted for young people, even it is forbidden under the age of 13…

The interest of the game will depend on the number of virtual friends with whom you are in contact, especially as the game incites you to have as many friends as possible to increase your popularity. It is however a pity to notice that there are only three manners to add a friend: directly via a code, or by synchronizing your Facebook and Tweeter accounts … These last two solutions will have an intrusive effect, creating an great exposure of the game on the classic social networks.

In order to be near the “Tamagotchi” effect, you can go to shops and and play mini-games to get accessories and dress and customise your avatar.

Miitomo may appear as a childish game as its use is very easy, repetitive and interventionist but it can be addictive if you play with very good friends.

You will have to pay attention to the fact that you will have to be connected all the time (which cannot be easy if you are in the train…).

 

What is exactly the goal of Nintendo with this free-to-start game?

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Though this application is free (some accessories will have to be bought), you will quickly understand that the goal of it is to attract new players, to sell consoles or to develop its clients’ loyalty. Miitomo allows to earn points with its loyalty program from Ninendo  known as My Ninendo  (also launched on the 31st of March 2016) and give some discounts or Nintendo console games.

 

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With more than 3 Million downloading on the day following its launch in 15 countries, the Japanese company can be happy with the success of its first social game. Now, will Nintendo know how to keep its clients faithful?

Nintendo should launch by march 2017 four other applications designed for mobile devices and should present in 2016 its news console, the NX.