Following a disappointing earnings call, Nintendo announced that it will produce five smartphone apps over the next 18 months.
Nintendo’s first mobile game will be released in March 2016, with four more following over the course of a year, the Wall Street Journal reports.
This first app, Miitomo, centres on the Nintendo Mii creations that anyone with a Wii will be familiar with. Mii characters are virtual people you can create in your likeness (or not – it’s your call)
As well as creating Miis, Miitomo will give these avatars a world in which to connect and communicate with other Miis.
The upcoming app has already drawn comparisons with Second Life and Nintendo’s own 3DS game, Tomodachi Life.
The life simulator game will be free to download with in-app purchases enabled for premium add-ons. Other apps planned for 2016 and early 2017 will be pay-to-play.
Nintendo is developing the apps with DeNA and, though company president Tatsumi Kimishima said they don’t intend to simply convert current console games into mobile versions, that doesn’t mean familiar characters won’t make an appearance. So, yes, we may yet get Mario on our smartphones in 2016.
Kimishima also revealed that there will be new titels added to both the Wii U and 3DS line-up in time for the end-of-year shopping season.
Nintendo’s move into mobile gaming comes as no surprise to those listening to the latest whispers from the company and, following an earnings call that missed analysts’ expectations, the company needs a new approach to convince investors.
The Japanese gamesmaker reported an operating profit for the first half of the fiscal year for the first time in five years, but the overall figures from the financial report fell short. Analysts forecast an operating profit of ¥14.4 billion, but reality missed the mark at ¥8.98 billion (about €70m).
Miitomo was originally set for release this year but Nintendo has decided to push it to early 2016, hoping for a global launch.