Video game giant Nintendo clung tightly to console-based gaming for as long as they could. Long known as resistant to mobile phones as gaming platforms, the company announced in March of this year that it was teaming up with Japanese mobile gaming company DeNA to release officially licensed Nintendo games for mobile devices. Over half a year later, Nintendo has finally unveiled their first entry into the mobile gaming world – and man, are we disappointed.
The company that is known for introducing the world to such classic gaming franchises as the Super Mario Brothers, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and Donkey Kong finally announced their first mobile game during a press event in Japan yesterday. Much to the dismay of Nintendo fans around the world hoping for a title featuring one of the company’s iconic characters, the first game, titled Miitomo, looks more like a social network than a game.
Miitomo allows its users to create a virtual avatar of themselves, called a ‘Mii’ (also used in Nintendo’s Wii, Wii U, and 3DS platforms), and interact with other Miis online. After creating a Mii, Miitomo users are then asked a series of questions such as “what do you do on your days off?” The answers are shared by your Mii to other Miis in an attempt to spur conversation.
The idea of the app, according to Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima, is to use the Miis to enhance personal relationships outside of the game. Users “may be able to find out unknown aspects about your friends and unexpected commonalities you share with your friends because Miitomo may pick up the topics that you usually do not discuss but would be willing to answer if asked.”
While Miitomo may be a novel idea, it’s not quite what fans were expecting. To add insult to injury, the company announced that they were delaying the release of their first offering until March of next year. Investors were not impressed – according to Forbes, shares of Nintendo’s stock fell 9% upon news of the delay. And while it may make sense for the company to test the mobile waters before introducing a game featuring one of their major characters, many see this as a risky first offering for the company.
Disappointing news aside, Nintendo did announce that Miitomo will be the first of five mobile apps the company is developing with DeNA, and they are anticipating the other four titles to release before March of 2017. Perhaps the next offering will be a bit more exciting to Nintendo’s loyal fanbase.