This year is set to be a wild one for Nintendo and it will all kick off in March with the releases of its new, cross-platform account system and loyalty scheme, and its first mobile app developed with DeNA. Sign-ups for the apparent social networking app, called Miitomo, will open on 17 February.
Nintendo revealed the release plans in a briefing to shareholders on 3 February, as well as details about Nintendo Account (the ID system) My Nintendo (the loyalty scheme) and Miitomo. The former two offerings replace the gaming giant's old online infrastructure, which was in need of a freshen up.
The new system is platform agnostic – meaning it will not be tied to any specific past, present of future Nintendo device – and will be accessible online and through mobile apps. Users will also be able to sign up for Nintendo Account using their Facebook, Twitter or Google log-ins, or create one using their email address.
Nintendo Account users will be able to purchase games through the website and mobile app, and set them to automatically download to the Nintendo 3DS, Wii U or future consoles. By making purchases, users will earn Platinum Points (replacing the old Stars system) which can be used to buy cosmetic 3DS items, for example.
In addition to this, Gold Points can be used to unlock discounts on various games but Nintendo has not detailed how these Gold Points will be earned. The service will include a messaging service but features like friends list management will be added at a future date. The services will be launched in 39 countries.
Miitomo, meanwhile, will launch on iOS and Android phones and tablets in Japan first, before rolling out to the UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada.
Here's how Nintendo describes the app
Miitomo is a social experience that uses Nintendo's Mii characters to engage friends in a light-hearted, playful and welcoming social setting. Mii characters first debuted on the Wii console and to date, more than 200 million Mii characters have been created around the world.
Using Mii characters users will be able to interact with their friends in an entirely new way to spark fun and interesting conversations by answering questions such as: "What song has been stuck in your head lately?", "Do you believe in aliens?" or even "If you saw a nose hair sticking out of your friend's nose, what would you do?"
By answering questions in Miitomo, users will be able to discover surprising information and secrets about their friends, as well as share their experiences with others easily by taking and sharing photos featuring their Mii using the Miifoto feature.