I’ve been closely following Nintendo’s first smartphone “game” Miitomo and I was finally able to download and try it out last week. My interest stemmed from reading the initial description of it. It’s not really a game but a messaging app built around the concept of Miis. I remember creating myself as a Mii about 10 years ago, and they look just as cartoon-y now (although it’s neat you can generate a few versions from a photo). I was quite curious how Nintendo can make this a successful (and profitable) game.

After playing it for awhile, I can see that it may be successful. The target demographic seems to be female and/or young. It drives engagement by providing canned questions that can generate discussion (although in a way, that is also quite limiting to be forced into topics). Monetization is done via standard freemium means – you buy in-game currency which you exchange for clothes that outfit your character. There are a couple of very basic RNG games where you can win some unique clothing items. I can see how this app my appeal to Japanese people, but I don’t think it will be successful in North America (especially the male teen/young adult market).

The app itself also feels unnatural. It’s cross platform, but the UI is completely custom. It feels like a kid created the UI design (which may be on purpose) and feels unfinished (the look and constant appearance of loading indicators are driving me crazy). I hope this aspect improves in the future.

I might leave this app on my phone for awhile, but I’m not sure if it will get prolonged use (I say this about a lot of games and end up playing them for months though).