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Nintendo details new rewards program and first smartphone game

Nintendo details new rewards program and first smartphone game

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In a call for investors following the release of some less than stellar third-quarter earnings, Nintendo president and CEO Tatsumi Kimishima has provided details on a couple of important new initiatives for the company. First up is My Nintendo, a new general online service that replaces the old Club Nintendo rewards program while offering some extra features.

Some of these have already been put in place in Japan. Once registered with a Nintendo Account, the company's new catch-all ID for its consoles and services across other devices, you can log in for personalized information and discounts, and you're also finally able to buy games online and have them automatically download to your console.

My Nintendo starts in March

From March, however, a new points program will begin. You can earn platinum points by doing things like playing Nintendo games on your smartphone, opening the eShop on a Nintendo console, and "satisfying special conditions," while gold points are garnered through the purchase of 3DS and Wii U downloadable software. Platinum points can be exchanged for digital contents and original products, while gold points get you discount coupons for eShop games.

The My Nintendo service will start in the middle of March for Japan, and later that month for the rest of the world. Nintendo plans to add further features like friend management, cloud data services, options for when you visit a brick-and-mortar store, and more. Nintendo's first target is to achieve 100 million users.

Critical to achieving that goal and also launching in March is Miitomo, Nintendo's first smartphone game — or "entertainment app," as the company calls it. It's a life-sim game similar to the Tomodachi Life series from DS and 3DS, where you use your Mii avatar to communicate with real-world friends, and Nintendo is evidently hoping that its personal nature will drive adoption of My Nintendo and the company's services in general.

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Miitomo also includes features like Mii Photo, letting you put your Mii in photos AR-style and share them on various social networks. The app has been localized into eight languages and will be initially available in 16 countries; you can pre-register from February 17th. Miitomo will be "free to start" at first with possible unspecified in-app purchases, and will arrive at the same time as My Nintendo, on both iOS and Android.

Elsewhere, Kimishima noted that Splatoon sold over 4 million copies worldwide since its release in May, which is a pretty amazing total for a game considered a weird experiment on a console that only just crossed the 12 million mark last quarter. The figure means about one in three Wii U owners bought it, which could mean we'll see more bold risks from Nintendo in the near future. Or it could mean we all have Super Splatoon Kart to look forward to in 2023.

Kimishima declined to give any comment on the upcoming "new-concept" NX console, though the company does plan to reveal more later this year.