Nintendo to Launch its First Mobile Game App in March

The Miitomo gaming app is the first of five the company expects to release by the end of March in 2017, according to Nintendo.

Nintendo first mobile game app

Almost a year after announcing that it will bring its most popular games to smartphones and tablets, Nintendo says it is readying its first mobile gaming app, Miitomo, for release in March in North America for iOS and Android devices.

Users can preregister for the new Miitomo app starting Feb. 17, according to a Feb. 3 announcement by the company.

"Miitomo is a social experience that uses Nintendo's Mii characters, which first debuted on the Wii console, to engage friends in a lighthearted and welcoming environment," the company said in a statement. "Users can spark fun conversations and learn more about each other by answering questions such as 'What song has been stuck in your head lately?', 'Do you believe in aliens?' or even 'If you saw a nose hair sticking out of your friend's nose, what would you do?'"

Game players also can take and share photos featuring their Mii using a built-in Miifoto feature, according to the company. A new My Nintendo rewards program will also launch with Miitomo and be able to connect with the app.

Users must have an online Nintendo account to play the game and can sign up using their existing email, social media accounts or current Nintendo Network IDs. Pre-registrants who sign up between Feb. 17 and the official launch will receive a special Miitomo bonus, according to the company.

"Miitomo is a uniquely entertaining mobile experience that only Nintendo can deliver," Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of sales and marketing, said in a statement. "Featuring Mii characters, users will be able to interact with their friends in an entirely new way that transforms communication into a form of play."

The Miitomo game app is the first of five that the company will release by the end of March 2017.

Nintendo first announced that it would finally be bringing some of its games to mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, back in March 2015, according to an earlier eWEEK story.

Nintendo said, at the time, that it would be joining up with a Japanese mobile gaming company to begin bringing some of its popular video gaming characters to smartphones and tablet computers in an attempt to reignite its sagging business and global sales.

For years, Nintendo resisted bringing its games to small mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, so as not to dilute its gaming console business, but that began to change as the company refocused to seek new ways of retaining and bringing in new customers for its video game titles.

Under the deal, Nintendo is partnering with Japanese mobile game company DeNA to develop games for mobile devices using some of Nintendo's most beloved gaming characters, including Super Mario, Zelda and Pokemon, as it works to reinvigorate its sagging games business.

The games that will be developed will be built to work specifically with small mobile screens and devices.

Nintendo helped power the video game console industry starting in 1983, when it launched its original Nintendo Entertainment System. The company has since sold more than 4.3 billion video games and more than 680 million gaming consoles around the world, according to figures provided by the company.