A new account system and membership service called “Nintendo Account” and “My Nintendo” will connect and unify users across Nintendo’s hardware, PCs, mobile devices and online platforms while adding new features and rewarding players, the company announced on Thursday.
Both Nintendo Accounts and My Nintendo will be available in March 2016, the same time Nintendo’s first mobile game Miitomo is set to launch. Nintendo revealed the new systems during a corporate policy and financial briefing in Tokyo, Japan.
My Nintendo will act as the link between game consoles and mobile devices with a Nintendo Account at its base, according to the company.
With Nintendo Accounts and My Nintendo memberships players can send and accept friend requests, have a newly designed friends list across different platforms and log-in to multiple devices. Players will still be able to buy digital games from Nintendo’s website on PCs or mobile devices and have them automatically download to their systems.
Users will be able to register and log-in to their Nintendo Account more easily by using their existing Nintendo Network IDs or their social media accounts from Facebook, Twitter and Google.
Nintendo will also use a cloud-based service to allow players to transfer their game data for use between mobile and console platforms.
Nintendo Accounts will have a rewards system. The new My Nintendo membership program will also act as a replacement for Club Nintendo, which shut down last month. Buying games earns users points that they can then spend on digital content like full games, add-ons, in-game items, discount coupons on future purchases or physical merchandise of Nintendo products. Playing games will now also earn these points too.
Nintendo used the examples of games like Animal Crossing and Mario Kart notifying players they are eligible for discounts or obtaining free in-game items. The system will also send messages about games and updates on new releases.
The My Nintendo membership will include player details like the owner’s profile, purchase history and game records.
In the future My Nintendo memberships will also be incorporated into stores, theme parks and movie theaters as part of the company’s strategy to maximize the strength and sales of its many IPs through various expansions of its audience, licensing and merchandise.
Nintendo already has an account system called the Nintendo Network ID but the company is often criticized for the system not being advanced enough and its home console’s online infrastructure lagging behind Sony and Microsoft’s, which both company’s have had for multiple console generations. Currently Nintendo digital game purchases are also tied to the physical console instead of the user’s account, causing a complicated process to get them onto a new system.