Nintendo and mobile developer DeNA’s first smartphone app has been announced as a ‘free-to-start’ social game called Miitomo.
As the title suggests, Miitomo will be based around Mii avatars and will allow Nintendo players to engage in simulated conversations between their Miis and other Miis across the Nintendo Network via their smartphones. Players will have very little input in what’s actually said in these interactions aside from choosing what topics and themes they want to share and for their Miis to chat about. All communication will appear to be generated by AI, much like in the Sims games.
Interactions can be restricted to just friends or can be opened up to others in the Miiverse and chat with strangers can be sparked by ‘friendly communication starters’. In his first big announcement as Nintendo Worldwide President Tatsumi Kimishima clarifies:
“These ‘friendly communication starters’ have an advantage that even the people who are less willing to send messages can easily participate.”
He adds “Another unique characteristic of Miitomo is that you may be able to find out unknown aspects about your friends or unexpected commonalities you share with your friend because Miitomo may pick up the topics that you usually do not discuss but would be willing to answer if asked. What we would like to realize is, through such communication, you will be able to deepen friendly relationships and have more people with whom you can play games.”
According to the info which emerged from Nintendo’s corporate briefing today, where the announcement was made, Miitomo (not to be confused with legendary Zelda creator Miyamoto) will be free-to-start – meaning that payment is likely to become a requirement to enjoy full features of the game as they become available.
Mii avatars can be imported from an existing Nintendo Network ID or created new and as screenshots show them in flash news threads (with more detail than the regular Wii U and 3DS Miis) we think the real-life cash transactions will be primarily used to buy outfits and extra gear.
Despite previously promising the first Nintendo mobile game by end of the year Miimoto is now billed for a March 2016 launch with four more titles expected to hit smartphones throughout next year. No indication yet on whether Apple or Android will be used as Nintendo’s launching pad into the mobile gaming business.
Nintendo also commented on the future of its new mobile direction and also touched briefly on the new loyalty scheme that will replace the much-loved Club Nintendo and will offer free DLC – but no specific info was given. The full details from the Nintendo corporate briefing can be read through on the official website.