Nintendo’s mobile future is about to begin.
The Japanese publisher and developer revealed today that preregistration is open for Miitomo, its first mobile game made in partnership with DeNA. It comes out next month. You can register here by signing up for a Nintendo Account, a new service from the company that will link its multiple platforms. Doing so will alert you when the game becomes available. Miitomo is a big deal for Nintendo. While the company’s Wii U console flounders in the market, this new push to mobile could help Nintendo make money off of a growing industry worth $34.8 billion in 2015, according to Newzoo. If Miitomo is a hit, the free-to-play app could help Nintendo get off to a strong start in mobile. Also, those who register for the game enter Nintendo’s new account system, which makes them potential buyers for future products (including its next system, the mysterious NX).
Nintendo will lure fans into registering for Miitomo by offering Platinum Points for My Nintendo, the company’s new rewards program that will launch with the game.
“Miitomo is a free-to-start social experience that lets you spark conversations with your friends in a whole new way and uses Nintendo’s Mii characters, which first debuted with the launch of Wii Sports in 2006,” Nintendo explained in a press release sent to GamesBeat. “Miitomo creates conversations and turns discussions into a form of play by prompting users to answer all kinds of questions. Did you know that your best friend’s favorite food is pizza? Maybe, but did you know her favorite music genre is secretly polka? And that she believes in aliens? The answers get shared among friends, sparking interesting conversations – part of the fun is discovering surprise facts about your friends that you never knew before. When users hear how their friends responded to questions, they can give it a ‘heart’ or comment through text or with a picture.”
Miitomo’s isn’t a traditional game, instead focusing on social elements. While it probably would have been safer for Nintendo to use a recognizable brand like Mario or Zelda for its first mobile release, the company seems intent on taking a risk, as its often done in the past. Sometimes, those risks pay off, as it did for the Wii, a motion controller-based console that sold over 100 million systems. But the Wii U, another risky console that focuses on a tablet-based controller, has struggled to find an audience, and Nintendo has sold just 12.6 million of these systems since its 2012 launch.