After a few weeks of news surrounding Nintendo's continued push into smartphone gaming, the company's first app -- Miitomo -- slowly started to disappear from the conversation as users began to abandon the app. Nintendo celebrated an impressive 10 million user downloads a few weeks after Miitomo's release, but since then little news or talk has been circling from Nintendo itself or the game's original downloaders.
A new report by SurveyMonkey attempts to drill down to the reasoning behind Miitomo's rise and fall, which occurred all in the span of about two months. To do so, the site compared Miitomo to King's Candy Crush Saga and Supercell's Clash of Clans, two games which not only debuted big, but kept players engaged frequently on a week-by-week basis. All three games had a similar huge download spike at launch, with Candy Crush Saga topping the charts, followed by a downturn in downloads in the subsequent weeks.
The difference between the games is that those belonging to King and Supercell saw continued user engagement by the gamers who originally downloaded them. According to SurveyMonkey's numbers, Clash Royale is played on average 4.2 days per week by its users, while Candy Crush Saga is played 3.3 days each week. Miitomo, on the other hand, sees users returning just 2.3 days per week. The site's leading theory on this low return rate statistic is a fanbase that "didn't really get Miitomo."
In Miitomo’s case, this lower-than-peers engagement translates into higher churn. The game’s weekly churn more than 50% means that over half of the users of Miitomo on a given week won’t come back and play it again the following week. For some apps that don’t need frequent use this isnt a problem, but for games like Miitomo that are designed for frequent use, churn at this level foreshadows a quick decline.
As others have described it, SurveyMonkey calls Miitomo a social game, whose main value lies in the interaction and presence of friends who can witness the customization of your Mii and the answers you give to the app's questions. Since the only reason for return is content updates centered around avatar clothes and new "Miitomo Drop" levels, the game's feedback loop dissatisfies gamers whose only reason for weekly revisiting is to dress up their Mii to be seen by seen by no one in particular, since they "end up living in a ghost town."
After initial heavy interest in the app, most likely due to its status as Nintendo's first original smartphone game, it appears that most users have decided to simply wait for the company's promise of "pure game applications." What that will take the form of isn't exactly clear yet, but we do know it'll be centered around the Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem franchises to start.