Nintendo currently has three apps out to date, but Pokémon Shuffle already gained popularity as a 3DS game long before it became an app so for the purposes of this article we’ll just focus on the two apps exclusively on the app store. Miitomo started Nintendo’s mobile app market with an attempt to create a social media experience and for a short while it seemed to work, till fans realized that the app was really limited in how you can interact with other players. Then Pokémon Go comes out and now only does it top charts but it consistently ranks as an app with high usage, high profitability and has caused many unexpected results, both good and bad.
Miitomo’s first failure was in its attempt to create an experience where gamers can socialize with one another. The app limited the interactions by focusing them all on randomly generated questions rather than giving the players the ability to start open ended conversations. Where Pokémon Go succeeds in this is in the fact that many people can easily identify who is playing Pokémon Go simply by watching the people around them. In recent weeks we’ve seen many people socializing and even some people coping with social anxiety due to the app. A phenomenon that not only Miitomo did not, but in many ways could not do. All of this is of course before the inclusion of trading and battling within the app which will raise this accomplishment of Pokémon Go to new heights.
Miitomo’s second failure was that it’s overall purpose for Nintendo was to create a strong start into the mobile app world and for a little while it seemed like it would succeed but while many people downloaded the app few people kept using it. This again is due to the limitations the app has in regards to how people actually interact with one another. Pokemon Go was not only able to top the charts in IOS and Apple but it also surpassed Facebook which is an incredible accomplishment all within its first week.
Another thing that was lost to Miitomo was its inability to be included into the daily lives of users. Clearly the purpose of anything social media wise is to have daily frequent usage out of people, but unfortunately not only are people not using Miitomo frequently, many people stopped using it daily. Pokemon Go has a massive daily usage and has become a part of not only the daily lives of many fans but businesses and public organizations have started using Pokémon Go as a means of marketing, creating social gatherings and conventions have started making time slots allocated for Pokémon Go.
The final point I wish to bring up is the reason why any big corporation turns out a new product, money. Like many apps Miitomo makes use of micro transactions but since the app fails to keep people interested long enough to play it regularly; it’s even less likely to get people to pay actual money in order to gain more in app items to further the app’s experience. Pokémon Go was not only able to generate a lot of revenue for Nintendo for micro transactions, but also cause the company’s overall value to increase to a level higher than its competitors Sony and Microsoft. Pokemon Go was also able to help Gamestop increase its profits and has generated revenue for many businesses who have successfully used Pokemon Go as a tool to bring in customers.
So overall what Miitomo failed to do was create an experience that would keep people returning for more, something that Pokemon Go not only accomplished but succeeded in ways that were completely unexpected. With any luck Nintendo is carefully looking at the things that made Pokemon Go succeed much farther than Miitomo ever could and will use that information to create new apps that could perform at a similar level.