By now, we’ve had plenty of time to theorize what would come of Nintendo’s partnership with DeNA (opens in new tab), representing the gaming giant’s first ever venture into smartphone territory. We now have a game name: Miitomo, which has been pushed back to March 2016, along with the announcement of a new service called Nintendo Account.
Very little’s been shown of Miitomo so far, but this free-to-play app (with purchasable add-ons, of course) will reportedly allow your Mii to interacts with other Miis while you’re away, helping shy players make new friends hands-free. Based on a WSJ report (opens in new tab), it sounds a bit like Tomodachi Life (opens in new tab), scaling back on the celebrity coupling and psychedelic dream worlds.
Meanwhile, Nintendo Account will connect users on consoles, PC, and mobile device alike. It’ll use a cloud-based system to save progress and transfer data between mobile and console games, suggesting that they could interact with one another. The first batch of games will be compatible with Nintendo Account, which will likely let you save your progress across systems.
All told, Nintendo has plans for producing at least five games with DeNA by March 2017 – and depending on how successful they are, mobile game development could very well become a fixture for Nintendo. With the Wii U slipping behind the processing power of its console counterparts, and the 3DS install base paling in comparison to smartphones, mobile profits could help recoup some of the losses that Nintendo’s faced over the past couple of years. DeNA Chief Executive Isao Moriyasu has said that the company is hoping to make more than 3 billion yen a month (about £17 million) (opens in new tab) on these games; for now, we’ll have to wait and see how Miitomo handles microtransactions, and above all else, gameplay.