“If you saw a nose hair sticking out of your friend’s nose, what would you do?” This is not the type of question players might expect to find in a smartphone game, but then again, Nintendo has never made such a game — until now.
The question above is just one example given by the Japanese gaming giant of queries that players of its first smartphone game — called Miitomo and due for release next month — would ask fellow players. The company says playing the new game is "a social experience that uses Nintendo’s Mii characters to engage friends in a lighthearted, playful and welcoming social setting."
Last March Nintendo announced its intentions of entering the smartphone market by partnering with Japanese mobile games developer DeNA to produce five games over two years. Many expected the company to leverage some of its iconic video game characters in its first foray into the new world, but instead has opted to produce a low key title that may not immediately appeal to a wide audience.
Miitomo, which will be free to download on Android and iOS devices, will see players use their Mii characters (3D avatars players can customize to look like themselves) to navigate a virtual world, interacting with friends "in an entirely new way to spark fun and interesting conversations by answering questions." The game will also allow players to take and share photos with friends.
Nintendo's most recent set of financial results show that it is in a state of limbo with hardware sales declining and without a blockbuster software title to boost sales — even during the lucrative holiday season. The company is set to unveil a new console — code-named NX — later this year but that is unlikely to go on sale until 2017, which means Nintendo will be hoping its smartphone efforts pay off.
While Miitomo isn't using any of the company's powerful brands to help drive revenue, the company's President Tatsumi Kimishima said Tuesday that the second smartphone game from Nintendo would use one of the company's best-known videogame characters, though he wouldn't say which one.