Nintendo has been infamously reticent when it comes to embracing mobile devices, but the company is slowly changing its tune — and soon there will be an app to prove it. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata recently revealed that Nintendo is working on an app that would let users use their Mii avatars outside of games and the company's own Miiverse social network.
"It would be fun for players to use their Mii characters as icons on social media."
"It would be fun for players to use their Mii characters as icons on social media," he told Japan's Nikkei business daily. "We are currently developing an application that will allow users to do that." The app will be officially announced later in the year, and right now there are next to no details — we don't know what social networks it will support and on what mobile platforms it will be available.
It doesn't sound like the most robust app — it's a far cry from actually developing smartphone apps or games that utilize Nintendo vast library of well-known characters — and it shows how slowly Nintendo has been moving in the mobile space compared to its competitors. While Microsoft has Smartglass and Sony lets you stream PlayStation games to certain mobile devices, Nintendo has done very little in this space. In 2012, Nintendo released a Pokedex app for iOS, and more recently it partnered with Japanese mobile developer Gungho to create a Super Mario spin-off of the studio's massively popular Puzzles & Dragons game. However, the new release will be coming to the 3DS as opposed to smartphones.
Iwata previously expressed an interest in making smartphone apps early last year, though little has come of that in the time since. It's also clear that, apps aside, Nintendo remains steadfast in its decision not to make smartphone games, and instead focus on its own dedicated hardware — just today it launched a new version of its 3DS handheld in North America. "In the past, I have opposed making smartphone and tablet versions of Nintendo titles," Iwata explained. "Prices for content aimed at smartphones and tablets are falling quickly. I am still wary of the category."