Nintendo has won over a big crowd with its first mobile app.
Launched on Thursday for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices, the Miitomo app was downloaded by more than 1 million registered users over its first three days, a Nintendo spokesman said on Monday. That figure counts only people in Japan because the app has yet to expand beyond Nintendo's home country.
Miitomo sailed to the top of the iOS charts in Japan on Friday, Bloomberg reported, pushing the Line messaging app into second place.
In the age of smartphones and tablets, people have gravitated to mobile games. This trend has been a challenge for companies dedicated to console and PC games. Nintendo had long avoided mobile apps, content to focus on games for its Wii consoles and handheld devices. But the company, which has lagged far behind Sony and Microsoft in the console market, has been forced into mobile apps to stay relevant.
Miitomo is not so much a game as it is a social app. You create your own character known as a Mii, which also populates Nintendo's consoles. Your Mii asks a series of questions to learn about you and to build itself around your personality. Other Miitomo users do the same. People can then interact via their Miis.
Miitomo is free but offers in-app purchases to buy clothing and other items. Miitomo users can also set up a Nintendo Account that connects them across PCs, smartphones and Nintendo devices.
The app is due to land in other countries, including the US, UK and parts of continental Europe.
Miitomo is the first of five mobile apps that Nintendo will launch over the next 12 months. The other four apps will be games. Nintendo hasn't revealed which character will star in the first mobile games but said it will be a well-known one. The company is famed for creations such as Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong.