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Was Nintendo's 'Miitomo' App Just A Flash In The Pan? User Retention Rates Say Yes

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When Miitomo debuted several weeks ago, it was an instant hit and quickly became the talk of the town. Nintendo's first mobile app reportedly gained over 10 million unique users worldwide, and Nintendo was praised for its successful foray into the mobile scene.

However, that was then and this is now, and while Miitomo may have gained 10 million users during its meteoric rise, the app apparently has trouble retaining them. 

In order to understand Miitomo's current crisis, we need to understand what Miitomo is. Miitomo, in essence, is a social game that allows players to interact in a virtual world. The game hinges on the Miis that Nintendo has made plenty of use of since it introduced them on the Wii in 2006. As a matter of fact, the first portion of the game focuses almost exclusively on them.

Players start by setting up and customizing the Mii they will use as their avatar by selecting different hairstyles, facial features, outfits and accessories. From there, players give the Mii a nickname, choose its personality and answer questionnaires whose answers are later shared with other players in the game's world.

This portion of the Miitomo can easily have players invest a few days of their life in the game, however, the activities and mini-game that come afterward are apparently causing the player base to leave in droves, and according to data from a SurveyMonkey Intelligence report, the mass exodus from Miitomo far outpaces that seen in other major mobile games.

For example, more than half of the users who play Miitomo on a given week don't come to play in the next — a number that is clearly bad for its longevity. In a similar vein, the average amount of weekly users has dropped to just over 2.5 million. That is by no means a bad number, but it still means that only a quarter of the 10 million people who downloaded the app still regularly open it.

These results are no doubt sobering for those who assumed downloads had a direct correlation to commercial success, but many who have experience with the game are hardly surprised.

"I'm still using it, but in fairness, I can understand why people would lose interest," one user said. "Really, all you do is answer questions the game asks you, and see the answers your friends gave. And I guess dress up and play some obnoxious Pachinko game."

"I deleted it a week and a half in," another user stated. "There wasn't anything to do. Your Mii just sits in the house and you answer the same 2 dozen survey questions over and over. There's no real 'game' in this app."

Even if Miitomo hasn't panned out to be what everyone expected so far, it's still too early to count Nintendo out of the game. Miitomo has proven that Nintendo has the ability to draw a large volume of users to its apps, which means that all it needs to do is make future mobile games more substantial in content. Considering that the next three games coming to mobile are Fire Emblem, Animal Crossing and Pokémon, Nintendo appears poised to do just that.

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