I thought this was really interesting, not something I knew much about, a cool piece of news by my friend.
People have been talking for a while about Nintendo testing the waters of the smartphone app market. They’ve also been eagerly awaiting the rollout of its first offerings for mobile devices. While some may be wary of the company developing games for hardware other than its own, this move has been a long time coming. I think the 3DS is as awesome as everybody else, but I’m still excited for the opportunity to eventually play with some of gaming’s most beloved characters from the convenience of my phone.
Nintendo has told audiences that it plans to have five apps available by the end of March 2017 and the company finally revealed its first smartphone title during an investor strategy briefing last week. The House of Mario announced its first app and revealed that it is going to be called “Miitomo.” It will focus on communication and social interaction, and it’ll be a free-top-play game for everyone (though it will also support in-app purchases).
The app is very similar to the Miiverse that Nintendo fans have become used to and will allow your Mii avatar to communicate and interact with other users by sharing basic interests and personal trivia. While it might not be the game that fans were necessarily hoping for (like Mario or Zelda) it’s a good starting point for the company as it looks to develop a stronger audience on smartphones before rolling out its bigger, game-oriented titles. It is also important to remember that this is only the first of five scheduled titles and you can pretty much guarantee that your favourites won’t be forgotten.
“Miitomo is exactly in line with how Nintendo should be approaching mobile,” said mobile expert Steve Bailey, of IHS Analysis said in an interview about the company’s announcement. “It is the ideal toe-dip for the company and its fans.”
Much to many people’s surprise, Nintendo’s stock dropped after the announcement but that might have had more to do with the fact that they delayed the game from later this year until some time in March 2016. Shares also fell for DeNA, the mobile developer that Nintendo invested in and made the game with.
It’s hardly surprising that Nintendo is being cautious about bringing its most popular franchises to the App Store. The industry is simply too lucrative to be ignored. However, at the same time, maintaining the credibility and reputations of its most popular intellectual properties is crucial. Many other classic franchises have expanded to the social gaming market with updated interactive takes on beloved games becoming more common. One service has already taken advantage of the new market with a variety of arcade games dedicated to pop culture, including interactive casino twists on fan-favourites like Monopoly and other classic titles. Nintendo has already experimented with this format with its slot-themed Pokemon Shuffle app for iOS and Android. Based on that game’s success, it certainly won’t be the last casual update for a Nintendo title.
The company has stated on multiple occasions that the entire roster of Nintendo characters is available for use on mobile devices. Fans can find comfort in knowing that the Big N is taking its time to make sure that things are done the right way. While there’s much to be excited about with the latest announcements, it looks like it will still be a bit of a wait for fans waiting to play with Mario on a mobile device.