Miitomo's User Base Has Declined Sharply, But It's a Success Overall

Miitomo's User Base Has Declined Sharply, But It's a Success Overall

People are quickly tiring of Miitomo, but the app is still a solid mobile debut for Nintendo.

Interest in Nintendo's premiere app, Miitomo, has cooled substantially according to recent data from SurveyMonkey. We knew it would happen. It was inevitable as the churning of the tides, the setting of the sun, the change of the seasons.

But Miitomo's decline was quite steep and fast compared to most mobile fare, possibly because it's a social app instead of a traditional game.

Miitomo boasted a strong start when it launched in March. It didn't see the numbers Clash of Clans or Candy Crush Saga pull in, but it definitely caught people's attention and made a tidy sum of money.

But interest in mobile apps and games typically burns hot then quickly fades, and it looks like Miitomo's popularity is on the downswing. According to the numbers SurveyMonkey published on May 23, Miitomo is currently "played half as often on average in a week as Clash Royale," another big-name mobile release that hit digital stores around the same time as Miitomo (March 2 versus March 31).

If people aren't socializing on your social network, there's a problem.

Obviously, unlike Clash Royale, Miitomo is more of a social app than a game. Arjun Lall, who summarized the data for SurveyMonkey's analysis, believes user disinterest causes something of a domino effect in an experience like Miitomo. If your friends abandon Clash Royale, you're probably going to keep on playing. But if your friends leave behind Miitomo, you have little reason to stick around yourself -- especially if your friends list is small to begin with.

"Miitomo is a social game. Much of the value of the game comes from the presence of your friends," Lall writes. "Why dress your mii up in a cool new outfit if there is no one to see it? So as the game declines things get worse and worse for the remaining players who end up living in a ghost town."

Lall goes on to point out that Miitomo is a good example of how an app isn't guaranteed continued success just because it debuts at the top of the charts. He also notes that despite immediate appearances, Nintendo's mobile debut is a strong start and proves Nintendo's brand recognition alone should be more than enough to make it a contender in the competitive marketplace.

"It's clear that Nintendo can drive a significant volume of mobile users to its apps," he writes.

Miitomo may fade, but cat memes are forever.

Indeed, it's already confirmed that Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing are coming to mobile, and Nintendo promises they're "pure game applications." Given Miitomo's strong start, it's easy to believe Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing will turn a lot of heads, too.

As for Miitomo, it generated some nice revenue with minimal effort. It introduced people to the new My Nintendo awards program. Folks had fun with it, even if only for a short time. Though Nintendo undoubtedly wishes people remained interested for a longer period of time, I doubt the company considers the app a failure in any regard.

In fact, it's probably been invaluable in collecting user data for Nintendo's future projects on mobile and on consoles [cough].

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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