Posted by: seanmalstrom | October 30, 2015

Email: Miitomo

Master Malstrom

While your retro gaming jaunts do amuse me, I am more interested in your Nintendo business acumen.Did you hear about “Miimoto”? No, that’s not a misspelling of “Miyamoto”. It’s Nintendo’s first foray into mobile apps. It appears to not be a game, but a social application involving Miis. In my reading I happened to stumble upon the following blog post about it.Miitomo: What’s Nintendo trying to do with its first smartphone app?

One paragraph in particular caught my attention.

“I think Miitomo is something of a Trojan Horse for Nintendo’s new “Nintendo Account” service, which will span smartphones, PCs, consoles, and handhelds, with a single login, trading data between them. Getting people excited about making Miis hooks them into that ecosystem — whether they love Nintendo or not.”

This of course reminded me of Yamauchi’s Trojan horse, which you may recall from the book Game Over. According to the book, Yamauchi thought he could get Famicoms into everyone’s homes via the kids’ games, and then get the adults in the family to buy more “mature” software like business applications. That’s why the Famicom was fitted with an expansion port for a modem or keyboard.

Except, could Miitomo actually be the REVERSE? In other words, Yamauchi’s Trojan Horse was intended to use games to sell non-game software, and it failed. Could Miimoto be the opposite, trying to get non-game software to eventually help Nintendo sell their games?

What are your thoughts on this subject? Do you have an interesting take on Miimoto?


A Glorious Reader


In my world, there is no *time*. All the generations compete together. A game today still has to compete against Pac-Man and Super Mario Brothers. Just because games are better than 8-bit does give it an advantage over Super Mario Brothers, but not a decisive one as they find out if they make a 2d platformer. Hell, it wasn’t long ago that Nintendo never even considered 2d platformers for home consoles. The entire Wii model was based off of the NES and Atari Eras. The Wii marketing was influenced by Atari’s marketing, for example. These ‘Retro jaunts’ are actually paving the way for the future. This is why when the Wii appeared, I could say, “Aha! There it is! There she is! The console that can do the same job as my Atari or NES!”

Technology won’t define the ultimate blockbuster. Despite all of the advances in gaming of the 1980s, Tetris was a simple game with blocks that outsold all. Today, that game is Minecraft. We buy these fancy consoles that do ‘crazy graphics’ yet we play simplistic games with blocks. It is too funny!

The more I am here, the more I feel at times as the Arilou from Star Control 2 (or in darker days, the Orz). I do not understand why people get the context wrong or see drama where it does not exist. Did you know that when Iwata’s successor was named, gaming forums screamed because Iwata’s successor (who we don’t know the name off hand because no one really cares) is a BUSINESSMAN. “What!? Did they hire a BUSINESSMAN to be the Nintendo president? How dare they!” There are gamers out there who actually believe Iwata was not a businessman and that his business skills was not THE REASON why Yamauchi chose him as Nintendo President. Of course, Iwata was a businessman. As for this generation, what is there to say? Everything runs into what we have seen before, but what is new for Generation Eight is ‘how do consoles sell in a financial depression?’ This is what we are seeing now. It is why Microsoft changed its success metric to Xbox Live subscriptions instead of hardware sold. It is why you don’t see analysts having orgasms over PS4’s ‘victory’. With Generation Nine, we will see how game consoles sell during a time of war. I don’t think we’ve seen that type of console market experience!

Anyway, the Nintendo mobile games are really no different than the Nintendo cartoons of the 80s or Nintendo Power. Nintendo makes things to reach out to audience to bring them to their products. Most people spend time in front of their smartphone. Therefore, Nintendo is making ‘games’ for it so people will want to buy Nintendo stuff. The value of mobile games to Nintendo is primarily in is marketing of Nintendo.

We don’t know much about the game to say much more.

We need to know more about the Nintendo NX. But Nintendo is not telling us about it yet. We are in the quiet time between generations for Nintendo.

There can be no analysis because there is nothing to analyze yet. Nintendo’s path will be the one that Iwata put in place before his passing. I expect the Nintendo NX to make money by reducing Nintendo costs. Cross development will be common.

Wait for more information to come out.




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