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Nintendo’s first game will sell clothes

Nintendo’s first smart phone game will let players buy clothes for their characters as in-app purchases, the president of DeNA, Isao Moriyasu, said today. Moriyasu confirmed more details about Miitomo — developed by the venerable video game publisher in partnership with Japanese mobile giant DeNA — in an interview with the Wall Street Journal today, describing how players will communicate with each other using their Mii avatars, and suggesting that Miitomo may also include mini-games.

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The DeNA president says communication is “central” to Miitomo, with users talking to each other using Miis “who actually look like your friends in real life,” an experience Moriyasu says offers a “distinctly different feeling from text-based communication.” To that end, DeNA is considering linking Miitomo with players’ Facebook friends list, Moriyasu saying that he thinks “it could be fun connecting with friends people don’t often communicate with.”

The app Moriyasu describes sounds more like a social network than it does a traditional Nintendo game, but he notes that Miitomo has “a distinct Nintendo feel” that will give players “a certain comfort and nostalgia.” He differentiates it from other social networks by specifying its focus is entertainment, but long-time Nintendo fans may not be comforted byMiitomo‘s early descriptions — specifically the fact games seem to take a back seat to chat functionality — no matter how much Moriyasu says it looks and sounds like a Nintendo game.

In-app purchases, too, may be a sticking point. Clothes for Miis will be the first items available for purchase with real money, but Moriyasu says there are “various possibilities” for future microtransaction options. DeNA doesn’t have the best track record in that field — many of its most successful titles are collectible card games that work hard to steer players toward repeat in-app purchases — but it may be that the finished product is closer to something like chat app Line, and its microtransactions are for entirely inessential items like that service’s wildly popular stickers.

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