It's been over half a month since Nintendo's social app, Miitomo, went live in Japan, and it's been nearly a week since it received a widespread launch.
The app is quirky, original, and fun, and the fact it's branded with Nintendo's name means it's had a lot of eyeballs on it from day one. It's also ad-free and is fair about its in-app purchases. But baby, the App Store and Google Play are wild worlds, and Nintendo is still a gnat in the mobile market. How's Miitomo doing as a blip in a big yard?
Quite well, it turns out. People are adopting Miitomo in healthy numbers, but what's especially interesting is they're using it for a respectable amount of time each day -- and they're keeping the app on their device.
Miitomo's early download data comes courtesy of SimilarWeb, an information technology company that tracks the rise and fall of the world's hottest apps. Much of its March 2016 app report is dedicated to Miitomo, its general health, and makes note of how Nintendo's social playground bucks certain trends.
"Since its release, [Japanese] users have been spending an average of over 22 minutes a day on the app, and have made it the 13th most popular social app in Japan," writes Joseph Schwartz, one of SimilarWeb's content managers. "[A]s of April 2nd, 3% of all Japanese Android devices had Miitomo installed on them."
At first glance, these numbers aren't exactly fantastic. Miitomo isn't Japan's 13th most popular app; it's the country's 13th most popular social app, so it's got a bit of a climb before it even cracks the top ten of its genre.
But Miitomo isn't exactly a flash-in-the-pan, either. Japanese users are keeping the app on their phones, and that's impressive -- and important. As Schwartz points out, "[M]any apps lose their users within the first 3 to 7 days, which does not seem to be the case with Miitomo, as the app is showing an above average retention rate early on."
And the more energy and time a person invests into an app like Miitomo, the likelier they are to spend money on in-app purchases.
Outside of Japan, Miitomo is doing well in France and Germany, and is gaining ground in the United States, Australia, and the UK. Russia and Brazil have been slower to adopt the app.
It's impossible to tell how Miitomo will fare in the long run, especially outside of Japan, where the app isn't a week old yet. No doubt Nintendo is pleased about the app's strong retention power, though.
Going by my Twitter feed alone, people have certainly taken a shine to editing silly Miifotos and throwing them up on their timelines. Nintendo also has clever ways of making sure users remain engaged, like offering daily photo prompts and automatically snapping silly photos whenever you change your Mii's clothes (then offering to share them with friends / social media feeds).
But some commenters brought up a good point in my Miitomo review: Though Miitomo is successful with people who are familiar with Nintendo's games, non-gamers may not have a big enough reason to get into yet another social app, regardless of how different it is. There's no denying Miitomo appeal fizzles out when your peer group has less than a dozen people in it.
That said, Miitomo is definitely an app that's worth getting adventurous with, especially since the questions it asks you are pretty impersonal and leave tons of room for snarky answers and jokes. Buddy up with those friends-of-friends, people! Make new connections!
Like it or not, Nintendo's first mobile app has its fans, and they're sticking around for now. The big question is, are they spending money? Hopefully the coming weeks will bring us some data on Miitomo's in-app purchases.