Nintendo fans can finally celebrate their beloved gaming system on their handsets. In March of next year, Nintendo will launch its first-ever mobile app, Miitomo, a communication focused game interface with customizable personal avatars.
Earlier this year, Nintendo announced its partnership with DeNA, a fellow Japanese company focused on mobile apps and development. Together, the duo is committed to bringing Nintendo’s familiar game style to the handsets of millions of users around the world, as well as launching a new online gaming community.
In addition to its social focus, Miitomo will also focus on entertainment and include internal mini games and other gasification features. There are even discussions about linking the game to users’ Facebook friend lists so that players can communicate with people already in their social spaces.
Currently, the only revenue potential built into the free-to-play game is clothing users will be able to purchase for their avatar.
Despite obvious links to the gaming community, Nintendo hasn’t been on the forefront of handset gaming. The partnership with DeNA has been something Nintendo avoided speaking about as recently as January 2014.
According to Nintendo’s rep at the time, “Nintendo’s intention is not to make Nintendo software available on smart devices.”
Despite Nintendo’s early resistance, the company has made a few things about the mobile developments perfectly clear. For one, DeNA and Nintendo will only be working on original games specifically optimized for the smartphone experience—that means you’re not going to see Mario or Luigi on your handset anytime soon.
What’s more, all the existing Nintendo IP will be eligible for development by the new license. So, even though Nintendo says no Mario Cart for the iPhone 6S, it’s possible all of that might change sometime in the future.
What the Future Holds
In some ways, it feels like Nintendo is testing the waters before it dives straight into the mobile game world. Depending on how things go with Miitomo, the company may gain some much-needed confidence.
However, all of this raises interesting questions about the success of one gaming platform and its potential success crossing over into new territory. Can Nintendo make a successful game for handsets? Or will it regret the discussion to cross over if Miitomo doesn’t play out to plan?
Nintendo fans should be open-minded come March of next year. They may not get exactly what they’re expecting, but it could be something better.