Nintendo’s first smartphone application, “Miitomo,” now has a U.S. launch date: March 31st. In addition, the company says it will also be available in several other countries at the same time. While the company didn’t detail which countries will also receive the app, it will likely include several European markets, and others available on the list posted here to the Miitomo’s website.
That list suggests that, in addition to its debut market of Japan and the U.S., the app will also reach Canada, the U.K., Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand. Nintendo says that other countries may still be added, too.
For those who missed the news the first time around, Nintendo’s first application is, sadly, not a new Mario game for iOS and Android smartphone owners. Instead, the company ported the concept of “Miis” – the animated avatars introduced with the launch of the Wii console years ago – to a social gaming platform.
In Miitomo, users create and customize their own Miis with different hairstyles, facial features, outfits, accessories and more. They give them nicknames, choose how they should speak and customize their personality.
The app will ask you several “getting to know you” questions, like “what TV show are you watching?,” “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?,” “where did you go last weekend?,” etc., and records your answers. The Miis then interact with others in a virtual environment, where their answers are shared with each other. Friends can respond to you with hearts, picture messages, or written messages.
There are also other in-app features, like a shop where you can buy more outfits and accessories, and a game where you can win exclusive prizes.
While potentially interesting to children not yet ready for a social network like Facebook, Miitomo is not exactly the sort of app Nintendo users have been hoping for. The company, for now, is still choosing to sit on a gaming goldmine, with regard to its Mario line of games – one of the most iconic gaming franchises ever. But it has not yet publicly committed to bringing those games – or even their characters in some new environment – to the iOS or Android platforms.
However, the company has at least previously acknowledged the consumer demand for such a thing to occur. Execs also said that Miitomo is only the first of several planned apps arriving over the next 12 months – so there’s still hope.
The company is prepping for a world where it offers a variety of mobile applications, however. With Miitomo, Nintendo also debuted its “My Nintendo” rewards programs which doles out points to users who do things like linking their Nintendo account to an app, interact with apps and other Nintendo services, buy digital games from the website or other Nintendo storefronts (including the newly enhanced Wii U and Nintendo 3DS shops), and more.
The points can be redeemed for games, in-app items, coupons, and other downloaded content, the company says.
Miitomo, which launched in Japan on March 17, has been received well in that market, says Nintendo. The app was downloaded over a million times within the first three days of being live, and was also ranked as the #1 most downloaded app in both the Apple App Store and Google Play.
The app alone may not be the game that fans have craved, but it’s a notable milestone for Nintendo, which has long held off on porting its content to iOS and Android. The company admits this, as well, in today’s announcement.
“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, in a statement. “Miitomo brings the special Nintendo charm and polish that people around the world love to an entirely new format and audience,” he added.