Gaming giant Nintendo is on the ropes.
The firm behind classics like Super Mario, Donkey Kong and The Legend Of Zelda has been lagging behind PlayStation and the Xbox in the console war and earlier this year saw profits drop on its hand-held Nintendo Wii U.
According to a report from Japanese site Nikkei, Nintendo will be ceasing production on the Wii U by the end of the year. The console launched back in 2012 a full 12 months before PlayStation 4 and Xbox One but its lack of robust graphics and online functionality meant it never quite took off.
Despite these woes, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel for Nintendo in the form of mobile gaming.
The firm’s stock jumped 8.2% this week after it announced that it’s first mobile app Miitomo had been downloaded more than a million times in the three days after launch.
Miitomo, currently sitting at the top of Japan’s free app store, doesn’t rely on Mario, Link or classic Nintendo characters. Instead, it allows users to create ‘Mii’ cartoon avatars, build up their profiles and interact with others with connectivity to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
“Tomo”, in case you’re wondering, means “friend” in Japanese.
Nintendo has said that the app will roll out in the US and the rest of the world by the end of March. They’ll also be following Miitomo up with five other original games, some of which will include flagship characters Mario and Donkey Kong.
Nintendo America president Reggie Fils-Aime admitted that he thinks Miitomo has proved a success thanks to simplicity and focus on social interaction.
“You have your smartphone with you and you’re engaging with social media on it all the time, so it made sense for us to go down this path with Miis,” said Fils-Aime.
“Additionally, creating more traditional gameplay experiences with our intellectual property on these devices is going to take time.”
Gaming fans in the UK can pre-register interest in the app here, and get a more in-depth look with the video below: