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Nintendo announces first smartphone title Miitomo, delays launch to 2016

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Nintendo's first foray into making games for smartphones and other mobile devices won't happen this year, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima announced at an investor briefing in Tokyo today. Instead, the game maker is now eyeing March 2016 for a global launch of its first mobile title, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

The first mobile app from Nintendo is called Miitomo. It will be free-to-play with paid add-ons, Kimishima reportedly said, while other Nintendo mobile games will be paid apps.

Miitomo will reportedly use Nintendo's Mii characters to communicate with other players, apparently in an attempt to foster communication and sharing with people in real life. According to Nintendo's presentation slides, Miitomo users will answer questions from their Mii which will then interact with friends via the "safe and secure" communication app. Nintendo hopes Miitomo will enable connections between friends who might be reluctant to contact each other and further deepen friendships.


Nintendo announced earlier this year that it would partner with mobile game company DeNA to produce games for mobile platforms. The first of those games was expected to launch sometime in 2015. The company plans to release about five games for smartphones and tablets by March 2017.

As part of its mobile plans, Nintendo will create a new account service, called Nintendo Account. Nintendo says the Nintendo Account service will work across Nintendo's hardware devices as well as mobile and PC platforms. The company shuttered its Club Nintendo rewards program earlier this year.

The company also plans to use cloud-based technology to share save data between mobile platforms, PC and Nintendo's own hardware.

Kimishima explained that the delay in launching Nintendo's smartphone software is due to requiring more time to promote its mobile efforts. He said that Nintendo will start promoting Miitomo after the holiday season.

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