At a recent investors briefing, Nintendo laid out their plans for a new Nintendo Account system, a new rewards scheme, and their new mobile game Miitomo so we’ve decided to pull out the useful parts and lay them out for you here. The most significant message that I took from the entire thing is that if you’re not a My Nintendo member by the end of March 2016, Nintendo will want to know why, though even the best laid plans can go astray.
The new My Nintendo reward scheme will launch globally in March to replace the old Club Nintendo. It’s a name change that suggests Nintendo is anticipating an oncoming rush of individualism in their customers. No one wants to be in a club anymore. Pfft. They want it all to be theirs. It’s not your Nintendo, or the club’s Nintendo. It’s MY Nintendo. The scheme will be across 3DS, Wii U, smart devices, PCs, and Nintendo’s next system, NX. If you’re already a Club Nintendo member this will automatically transfer to a My Nintendo membership.
Nintendo say that My Nintendo will serve as a “bridge” between Nintendo experiences on their dedicated systems and other smart devices and that it’ll be “much more than a traditional rewards program.” Unlike Club Nintendo’s coin system, the new program will start off by rolling out two levels of points: Gold points and Platinum points.
Platinum Points will be earned by playing smart device apps or logging onto the Nintendo eShop and will be able to be exchanged for range of digital content like wallpapers, items, and themes. You won’t get Platinum Points for playing on your Wii U or 3DS, but you’ll still get the for logging onto the eShop.
Gold Points will come from making digital purchases of Wii U and 3DS games and you’ll be able to exchange them for discount coupons to purchase more games for the consoles. This is a purely digital rewards scheme; there was nothing said about points earning customers money off physical retail copies of games, but it seems that Nintendo are pushing towards a more digital existence anyway so it’s not entirely surprising that they’re not overly concerned with physical rewards.
Alongside the rewards scheme there’s going to be an updated Nintendo Accounts system. If you’ve ever purchased anything from the Nintendo eShop on your 3DS or Wii you’ll already have a Nintendo Network ID and this can be carried over. But if you’ve not, you’ll be able to sign up for an account from February 17th, which will also enroll you in the My Nintendo rewards scheme and sign you up for news about Miitomo’s release. UK and Ireland customers who do so will apparently receive an as-yet-unknown bonus.
It’s not actually clear yet if the new account system will make any changes with regards to an incredibly annoying feature of the old system: hardware locking. Right now if you’ve purchased something from the eShop and you’ve broken the device you purchased it with, you have to call up Nintendo’s customer services and ask them to transfer your Nintendo ID and purchases over to your new console, providing them with your old console’s serial number. It’s an annoying and drawn out process that would be easily solved by having purchases locked to an account that’s accessible on multiple devices. Like most other consoles do.
Miitomo is the mobile game that launches alongside the new rewards scheme in March this year and it’ll be available on iOS and Android devices. Miitomo seems to be more about gamifying communication than purely existing as a mobile game, really tapping into Nintendo’s playing together ethos.
Each player creates their Mii avatar and communicates with their friends by answering light-hearted questions to find out more about one another. The questions are probably more in the area of “what food have you been craving lately” than “what do you consider a fate worse than death and would you wish it on another?” Miis will apparently also be able to visit each other, which really takes the strain out of having to do things like get dressed and go outside. Honestly, relationship maintenance can be so demanding.
When your Miis visit one another you’ll be able to use a feature called Miifoto in which you’ll be able to create and share pictures of you and your friends’ Mii characters. You can store the pictures on any smart device and share them across various social media networks, taking the Nintendo Mii experience beyond just gaming. Who needs club selfies or Instagrams of that group brunch when you had all the Miis together at the weekend?
Nintendo has set the bar high when it comes to the My Nintendo scheme, hoping to have 100 million members as soon as possible. It’s their initial checkpoint. And it’s perfectly achievable for them, I’m sure. I’d just like to know a little bit more about this Nintendo NX they’ve been sitting on for so long now. I imagine it’ll be heavily connected to all these new account systems and reward schemes; you’ve created a nice segue opportunity there, Nintendo. You should take it.