Multimedia Designer & Storyteller

Deeper Customization Needed in Nintendo's First Mobile App Miitomo

After changing my clothes more than 60 times in Nintendo's first mobile app, Miitomo, I've climbed the in-app fashion ranks and become a "Trailblazer". (My wife might disagree.)

I've managed to win a hard-to-get sword from the app's Miitomo Drop minigame. On guard!

I've answered over 100 questions with (sometimes) witty replies and read more than 200 (sometimes) witty answers from friends.

I've gone all-in (as much as a 35-year-old male can without losing his Man Card) on Miitomo. But now, sadly, I'm growing a bit bored.

By all accounts, Nintendo's first mobile app has been an early success in the US and around the world. Nintendo has proven that the company's quirky take on gaming can carry over into the mobile realm, drawing millions of early-adopters.

But a key hurdle awaits: the company needs to show it understands that, unlike console games, mobile games and apps are never really finished.

Here are three specific ways that Nintendo can keep Miitomo pulsing with life over the next year:

  1. Allow players to customize their rooms, just as they can customize their clothing and accessories. Yes, this might move the game too close to the Animal Crossing series and its most recent iteration, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. But allowing players more control over how their rooms are decorated will motivate them to visit their friends rooms more often (something I rarely do).
  2. Add a variation of Badge Arcade, a free-to-start game for the Nintendo 3DS, alongside the Miitomo Drop minigame. Call it "Sticker Arcade." The two games would totally fit together. And instead of badges, the crane machine game could award stickers, which could be used both inside the app and outside -- for example, in emails and text messages.
  3. Give players something to do in their rooms (besides pacing back and forth). You know, like in a real room. Options to watch TV, play Wii U, draw a picture, take a nap, move furniture around, drive a remote-controlled race car or drone, or play solitaire  would make the room a more significant space. (Canned options and animations could vary, depending on your character's personality.) It would be fun, for example, to visit a friend's room and catch him or her watching TV at one point during the day, and then watering his or her orchids the next.

Deeper levels of customization within Miitomo would certainly keep this user coming back for more -- and probably millions more.

I'm optimistic we will see future changes to the app -- Nintendo has indicated as much. But the company should incorporate such improvements sooner, rather than later.

Would you call me a fashion "Trailblazer"? Didn't think so.

Would you call me a fashion "Trailblazer"? Didn't think so.

A new paint job and some curtains would be nice, no?

A new paint job and some curtains would be nice, no?