Nintendo stock jumps as new Miitomo app downloads top one million

[TOKYO] Nintendo Co rose the most in more than a month after downloads of Miitomo, the company's first foray into smartphone apps, surpassed 1 million.

The shares jumped as much as 7.3 per cent to 16,380 yen as of 9:57 am in Tokyo on Tuesday, the biggest increase since Feb 15. The free messaging-based application has been at No 1 among social-networking apps in Japan on Apple Inc's iOS devices since its release on March 17, according to market researcher App Annie. Line, the country's most popular instant messenger, fell to second place.

Nintendo is seeking to bring back players who migrated away from games on company's dedicated hardware, such as the Wii and handheld DS devices. The Kyoto-based company has promised to bring hits like Super Mario Bros and Donkey Kong to smartphones, helping to boost its share price 33 per cent last year.

So far, President Tatsumi Kimishima has been coy, saying only that Nintendo's next smartphone game will feature one of the company's beloved characters.

Miitomo downloads crossed the 1 million mark three days after its release, according to a post on Nintendo's official Twitter account. The app, currently available only in Japan, lets users automatically generate a cartoon-like avatar using a photo taken on the smartphone. Players can tweak minute facial features, set personality parameters and choose the character's voice.

Nintendo plans to make Miitomo, a play on the words "me" and "friend" in Japanese, available in 15 more countries this month, including the US, France, Germany and Russia. The company has said it will roll out five games for mobile devices by March 2017.


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