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Nintendo opens new account system in Japan

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Nintendo Accounts available on Japanese Nintendo consoles

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Nintendo Accounts, Nintendo's new online and smartphone service, are now available in Japan. Japanese customers — or those who own Japanese Nintendo consoles — can now register for their own account, which will enable them to access various features connecting a 3DS or Wii U with other Internet-capable devices.

First announced by Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima at a briefing for investors in October, a Nintendo Account allows players to access their Nintendo content by logging in through a variety of social media services, as well as an existing Nintendo Network ID.

The Japanese Nintendo Account page explains how the service works in greater detail. Gamers away from their consoles will be able to access the eShop to make purchases, something which was previously restricted to the console-only Nintendo Network ID. All downloads will automatically be sent to the appropriate system.

As an added incentive for Japanese fans to try out the new online service, Nintendo is giving back 100 yen for every 1000 yen spent on the eShop using a Nintendo Account. That promotion runs through Feb. 1.

Beyond the new method of online shopping, Kimishima previously discussed further capabilities of the Nintendo Account, including the ability to assemble a friends list, receive game-specific notifications and create cloud saves. He also teased future interactivity at places like theme parks.

Alongside Nintendo Account, Nintendo has opened up a new Japanese blog site. Topics, as it's called, collects a variety of news, Q&A and fun facts for fan perusal. Both the Topics blog and the Nintendo Account represent Nintendo's increased interest in communicating directly to fans through pre-existing, non-console platforms.

As for Nintendo's other smart device-compatible endeavors, like the new rewards program My Nintendo, the company maintains a March 2016 release window. My Nintendo, much like the recently deceased Club Nintendo, will offer points in exchange for buying and registering Nintendo games with the service. These points can then be spent on special prizes, and will also grant players discounts on other Nintendo games and products.

Miitomo, Nintendo's first dive into smartphone gaming, will also launch next March. Nintendo showed a bit of the communication app off to its investors in October. Although no in-game footage has yet been seen, screens and details provided by Kimishima indicate that Miitomo will rely on user-created Miis to communicate with other players.

Miitomo is the first of at least five smartphone games Nintendo has in the works with co-developer DeNA.

There remains no word yet on when any of Nintendo's smartphone initiatives will be making it overseas.

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