Nintendo has taken a very long time to move into the iOS gaming arena. But today the company announced its first iOS game called "Miitomo". And the gaming world responded with a gigantic, collective yawn as disappointment set in for those who had hoped to play Mario, Donkey Kong, or Zelda on their iPhones and iPads.
Chris Kohler reports on Nintendo's first iOS game for Wired:
Nintendo’s first smartphone game is a communication game called Miitomo, and it will be released in March 2016, the company said today.
New Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima, in his first public appearance as the company’s head, said at a press briefing today in Tokyo that in the free-to-play game, users will create a “Mii” avatar character, which will go out and communicate with their friends’ Mii avatars automatically.
Miitomo is meant to facilitate more communication between friends, getting them talking about things they wouldn’t have brought up on their own, Kimishima said at the press briefing today in Tokyo. “You might dig up some previously-buried topics of conversation, learn about a surprising side of your friend you’ve never seen before, find things you never knew you had in common,” Kimishima said.
Kimishima said that Nintendo plans to release 5 smartphone games in total by March 2017, and that any of Nintendo’s popular franchises might be used for these games.
So there you have it, Nintendo will not be releasing Mario Kart, Zelda or any of its other top franchises as its first game on iOS. What a bummer for iOS gamers around the world!
Nintendo succumbs to the 'free to play' disease
I've been curious to find out what Nintendo's first game would be on iOS. I recently gave up on iOS gaming and bought a Nintendo 3DS XL to play games. But I had hoped to see one of Nintendo's top franchises make an appearance on iOS, and I hoped that Nintendo would resist the awful urge to release a "free to play" game.
Unfortunately, the company has gone down the same road as so many others and been infected by the idiotic "free to play" plague that has infested the iOS app store. I truly loathe those kinds of games. Nothing in life worth having is free, and "free to play" simply means that you end up paying more in the end to actually enjoy your iOS game.
Part of me understands why Nintendo is releasing a "free to play" game. So many users seem unwilling to pay a reasonable price for high quality games and apps that the "free to play" model has taken over. But the joke is on those same users since they'll end up paying via in-app purchases if they want to have a good experience playing a game.
Where are Zelda, Mario and Donkey Kong for the iPhone and iPad?
As I noted above, the lack of one of Nintendo's top gaming franchises such as Zelda, Mario or Donkey Kong is truly disappointing. Who the hell cares about something called "Miitomo?" Nobody knows what it is and, at this point, nobody probably cares either. I certainly don't since it seems to be less of a game and more of an alternative chat or other communication app.
I could be wrong about this and "Miitomo" could do very well in the iOS app store, but somehow I doubt it. Imagine the excitement if Nintendo had released a Mario game instead of "Miitomo?" The Internet would be on fire with iOS gamers lusting for a new Mario platformer. Instead everybody's rolling their eyes at Nintendo's timidness and bad decision.
I'm not alone in my disappointment with Nintendo's first iOS game. Apple redditors shared their thoughts in a recent thread and most of them weren't very happy:
Vpzl: ”Please, say it's not so. This is somehow worse than not releasing a game at all.”
TheColorsDo: ”Nintendo said that they weren't going to port games. Their strategy is going to be to make mobile content that drives you to their hardware. If you want to understand this game, you have to understand the Blue Ocean strategy that they used for the Wii. If you're a gamer, this game isn't for you, it's for a wider audience that they want to court to their other platforms. ”
DarleneW: ”Ugh... Sorry, Nintendo, but you just cemented my belief that you have no hope of ever being a force to be reckoned with in video games again.”
Emgirgi: ”They actually are a force to be reckoned with right now in handheld gaming. The 3DS has some phenomenal titles. The PS Vita doesn't even compare, and many mobile games right now are shit. And this game is probably going to be one of the shit mobile games that plague App Stores. They should continue to focus on the 3DS as their handheld platform of choice. ”
Oddisay: ”Seriously heartbreaking. How idiotic are the execs at Nintendo..?”
DownvoteBatman: ”For moments, I had faith...Back to Nintendo Nintendo. Their stock's now almost -10%.”
Kapoorsu: ”A freemium game -_- seriously. I would gladly pay upto $20 for classic nintendo games. So much potential to make money from iOS devices and Apple TV. Heck they could even make some games for the Mac and charge $30-40 a game. ”
Jollyllama: ”Wow, that thread from earlier today with people imagining Mario or Mario Cart or another triple-A IP is just a graveyard of dreams.”
LeDash: ”Re-releasing the n64 versions would let me relive that and get me interested in Nintendo again. at this point for me it's pc or xbox. Nintendo's a relic of my past at age 27. ”
EvilMorty: ”Exactly what no one wanted ”
Sure glad I bought a Nintendo 3DS XL instead of waiting for iOS games
Personally, none of this affects me. I'm still loving my Nintendo 3DS so I can play all of the great Nintendo games I want. But if you don't own one, you're going to have to wait a while longer and see if Nintendo actually releases a game that is worth owning on the iPhone or iPad. Or you can skip over to Amazon and just buy a Nintendo 3DS XL right now.
That would be my recommendation instead of waiting around forever to find out if Nintendo's top game franchises ever see the light of day on iOS. My guess is that it will be a long time - if ever - before we see Mario, Zelda or Donkey Kong on the iPhone or iPad.
Did you miss a post? Check the Eye On Apple home page to get caught up with the latest news, discussions and rumors about Apple.
This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?