Why close service for Miitomo? Looking back on 2 years of MAU – Nintendo/Apps


On January 25th, Nintendo announced that it would close service for its smartphone app “Miitomo” on May 9th.

In this article we use data from App Ape to look back on trends the app experienced in the 2 years following its release.

A look back on Miitomo

Miitomo was released in March 2016 as Nintendo’s first attempt at the smartphone app game business. It became a hot topic as the first smartphone app from Nintendo, and enjoyed a massive boom in popularity.
In this social game, players used an avatar called a “Mii” to interact with their friends, and they can enjoy dressing their Miis or playing mini-games in the app.

MAU down to 10.4% of the peak level

Looking at App Ape data on trends in monthly active users (MAU) starting from the release of the app, we can see from the latest data for December 2017 that MAU declined to just 10.4% of the peak level.

Data Source: App Ape Analytics (Analyzing approximately 300,000 Android devices in Japan)/Active users from App Ape estimates
MAU (Monthly Active Users): The number of monthly active users in the target period for an application, including the number of users who opened the app even once per month

While users did increase briefly following a major update in November 2016, the decline became inevitable after that.

Why service was closed

Nintendo commented on the reason for closing service, saying “We have optimized our operational resources in order to continue producing new smartphone apps.” From App Ape data, we can infer that the decrease in active users was a factor in closing service.

Miitomo’s primary source of revenue was the purchase of “Miitomo” coins, a virtual currency used inside the game.

Data Source: App Ape Analytics (Analyzing approximately 300,000 Android devices in Japan)/Active users from App Ape estimates
Heavy Users: Players who use the app 2/3 of the days of the month or more
Middle Users: Players who use the app 1/3 to 2/3 of the days of the month

Looking at the latest data for the ratio of users by frequency of use in December 2017, we can see that there are many dormant users, but few middle users or heavy users. This suggests that there are few paying users, so Nintendo was unable to secure profitability.

Later apps from Nintendo performing well

Yet, there are many apps released by Nintendo that are performing well. “Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp”, released in November 2011, has become a major hit. In just one week after its release, it reached and then maintained the number one spot in the daily active users (DAU) ranking in the game genre as aggregated by “App Ape”.

“Fire Emblem Heroes”, another Nintendo app, has also succeeded at monetization outside JApan, with sales abroad accounting for 54% of total sales.

News of the close of service for Miitomo is a good opportunity for app companies to reconsider the importance of securing heavy users, as well as the lifespan of service and appropriate intervals for updates. If you want to receive more detailed reports and data, please inquire with App Ape.