Nintendo's Miitomo is set to finally release in the U.S this week.
According to a press release, Nintendo's first major foray into mobile gaming is getting a worldwide release, including the U.S, on March 31st, with pre-registrations already available on the official Miitomo website.
Miitomo is a free-to-start app which serves as a messenger-based social game. Players can use their Mii's to chat and ask questions about their daily life to friends. Doing so will earn players coins which they can use to buy in-game costumes and other accessories. Players can also import their Mii's to Miitomo instead of creating them by scratch, importing them via QR code from the Wii U or the 3DS.
Nintendo is also updating their online connectivity on March 31st with a new service called My Nintendo. Nintendo eShops for both the Wii U and 3DS will begin to allow access on smart devices and personal computers. This is one of the first times Nintendo will be allowing purchases outside of their own hardware, as any bought titles will go straight to connect Wii U's and 3DS systems the consumer may own. Purchases will also earn players My Nintendo Gold Points, while playing mobile games will earn Platinum Points. The points work similar to the Nintendo Rewards program and can be redeemed for free games or in-app items in Miitomo, as well as discount coupons and other rewards.
Miitomo has already been a major success in Japan, surpassing over 1 million users since its launch earlier this month. Nintendo is hoping the success of Miitomo will repeat itself worldwide, and create a new avenue for Nintendo in the mobile market. “With Miitomo, Nintendo takes its first step into the world of smart devices,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “Miitomo brings the special Nintendo charm and polish that people around the world love to an entirely new format and audience.”
This is not the only game planned for a mobile release. Nintendo is currently working on Pokemon Go, an Augmented Reality phone game set to release later this year with Niantic Inc. Nintendo, along with Google, has also invested over $20 million into Niantic, making it clear that Nintendo is looking to Pokemon Go to be a valuable asset to their mobile presence in the future.
It is still unknown how the mobile market will affect Nintendo at this point. Low Wii U sales and mediocre 3DS sales is a possible reason for the growing shift to mobile gaming within the company, although Nintendo is promising to launch the long rumored NX in the future. For now, Nintendo is looking closely at Miitomo, and along with Pokemon Go is planning to launch at least five mobile games by 2017.
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