Why Nintendo’s Miitomo should frighten every other mobile game publisher


Late last month, Nintendo released its first mobile game in the United States: Miitomo, launching a ton of hype. This app is based on Nintendo’s adorable Mii characters, which first appeared in 2006 with the launch of the Wii console.

So, what is this game like? My experience felt more like a social experiment or interaction, similar to Glu’s Kim Kardashian, Zynga’s The Ville, or EA’s Sims. There has been a lot of commentary and debate on whether the app is even a game or just a gamified social experience. But let’s leave the debate on definitions and gameplay aside and focus on a more important question: given all the hype, how is the game doing?

I turned to SurveyMonkey intelligence to find the answer: Miitomo is crushing it, and Nintendo seems to have a hit on its hands.

Propelled by featuring from both Apple and Google, Miitomo quickly rocketed to the top of the charts. The game saw average of 370,000 downloads every day for the first week of launch (3/30/16 to 4/7/2016). Roughly two-thirds of this activity is on iOS, with the remainder on Android.

Miitomo currently has 4 million monthly active users (MAU) and about 1 million daily active users (DAU). That makes the game’s player base almost the same size as the population of New Zealand! An average user on a typical day has two-to-three sessions with a total of 7 minutes-8 minutes spent in the app.

Monetization has also increased steadily, and the game is now making $40,000 combined per day across iOS and Android based on SurveyMonkey Intelligence. Roughly 80 percent of the revenue is from iOS, with Android only contributing 20 percent.

On a per-user basis, the app has an ARPDAU (Average Revenue Per Daily Active User) of 3 cents to 4 cents. While low compared to midcore games like Supercell’s Clash Royale, this is actually a healthy number for a more casual game like Miitomo, especially early on.

The big missing piece is retention, which will take another week to get a better read. Without good retention numbers, Miitomo will be just another 15-minute wonder. But if it can convince players to stick around, Nintendo could have an instant classic on its hands.

Follow our blog and Twitter to get an update on that metric next week.

Abhinav Agrawal is VP of SurveyMonkey Intelligence, which provides competitive intelligence on thousands of mobile apps. Before that, he was VP of Games for Zynga and managed Words With Friends and FarmVille.

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