Miitomo’s Mishaps

It’s been one whole month since Miitomo was first released in North America. And while I would like to say that I’ve been using it everyday since, nothing could be further from the truth. The first week it was out, I found myself constantly checking the app and answering questions. Nowadays, I barely even remember I have it installed on my phone. I am not alone on this, either — Miitomo has also lost its relevance among my friends with each passing day. Where did Miitomo go wrong?

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Reading through posts is a slow and tiresome process.

The main problem is that Miitomo simply delivers information too slowly for a mobile app. When people check other social network services like Facebook or Twitter on their mobile devices, they are looking to get as much information as possible in the shortest amount of time. Information needs to be fast and quickly accessible — which is exactly what Miitomo is missing. In Miitomo, there is no feed for you to scroll through. Questions and answers are slowly revealed to you, line by line, post by post. While yes, you are able to speed up your Mii as they read, this does not change the fact that one post is being shown at a time. You are forced to cycle through every post regardless of how much interest you actually have in its content. Eventually I started to think of opening Miitomo as cumbersome — I had neither the time nor the patience to sit through however many posts there were since my last visit. What Miitomo and Nintendo needs to understand is that information on mobile devices needs to be fast — and Miitomo is anything but fast. If Miitomo wants to keep any resemblance of relevance in our eyes, it needs to implement a way to shift through information faster.

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Miitomo asks simple questions, leaving little room for conversation.

Content is also another one of Miitomo’s biggest problems — the only things that are really on Miitomo are… questions. That’s about it. While it is an interesting way to get people to talk about themselves, the atmosphere does not lend itself to full conversations. On other social network services, people are given the ability to write anything they want. In Miitomo’s case, only some pre-written question prompts are given for you to answer. The prompts — while interesting — are very limiting. In most cases, I felt no reason to leave a comment on a person’s answer. (I did, however, find myself abusing Miifoto. A lot.) I understand that Miitomo is trying to drive home a gimmick of learning more about your friends by reading their answers to pre-written questions, but there really isn’t much incentive to do so. To work around this, Miitomo should consider expanding its uses — instead of just being a simple question-answering app. To draw back and retain more attention, Miitomo could implement minigames between you and your friends — similar to what Nintendo currently does with StreetPass on the 3DS. Regardless of what becomes of Miitomo down the road, it needs more substance than just answering questions.

My final major complaint with Miitomo is how you connect with friends on the platform. As of this writing, you can only add new friends through… other social networking services. Friends can only be added on Miitomo as long as you and your friend are both following each other on Twitter or friends with each other on Facebook. For me, this reliance on third-party social network services just to make friends on Miitomo is unnecessarily complicated and pointless — it defeats the whole purpose of using Miitomo in the first place. If I am just going to connect with people I am already connected to through another platform, why shouldn’t I just stay there? Even friend codes would have made more sense. Friends should be addable on Miitomo via QR codes — like on other Nintendo services. In the end, Miitomo’s reliance on third-party social network services to make friends destroys the whole purpose of Miitomo.

While it does not look like Miitomo will be implementing any of these changes anytime soon, I hold high hopes for Nintendo’s next step into the mobile market. With any first try, mistakes are sure to be made.

What are some changes would you like to see in Miitomo? What are you hoping for in future Nintendo mobile apps? We want to know, so leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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