The Club Nintendo replacement - My Nintendo - hasn't launched in the West as yet, mainly due to the fact we're waiting for the accompanying launch of Miitomo to make its way out of Japan. It's going to happen this month, but the vagaries of mobile app releases mean it could be tomorrow, 31st March or anything in between; there may not necessarily be much advance warning, either, and the official website says (at the time of writing) it's 'launching soon'.
That Japanese release, however, has given us a first look into the 'economy' of My Nintendo, in terms of how much we need to give in order to start getting hold of some goodies. It's worth pointing out that we're doing this initial look based on the Japanese details, but we will be re-assessing once the loyalty service kicks in for Western gamers.
First up, let's look again at a table we shared earlier, which shows the 'missions' we must undertake to win Platinum coins / points (through activities) and Gold coins / points (buying downloads).
Of course, those Gold missions are in Yen, so below is a breakdown (roughly) into US dollars but, remember, the values may shift in the localised promotion.
- 500-1000 Yen ($4.49 to $9) = 10 Gold Coins
- 1001-2000 Yen ($9 to $18) = 20 Gold Coins
- 2001-3000 Yen ($18 to $27) = 30 Gold Coins
- 3001-4000 Yen ($27 to $36) = 40 Gold Coins
- 4001-5000 Yen ($36 to $45) = 50 Gold Coins
- 5001-6000 Yen ($45 to $54) = 60 Gold Coins
- 6001-7000 Yen ($54 to $63) = 70 Gold Coins
- 7001+ Yen ($63 +) = 80 Gold Coins
There'll be some localisation tweaks here, likely bringing the numbers down, as a full-priced Wii U download in the US is typically $59.99. It seems a reasonable bet, then, that a full retail download on Wii U will earn 80 gold coins, with discounted retail titles and then download-only games coming in the lower brackets.
Moving on to Platinum points, these will evolve and change dynamically (in some cases) depending on applicable apps and services. So right now they're related to Nintendo Account setup and Miitomo, both of which are the first practical ways to accumulate these coins. What we have are easy-to-earn and hefty one-off awards combined with smaller bonuses for logging in and interacting with the eShop, Miiverse and Miitomo on a daily or weekly basis. For those looking for easy early wins then setting up and linking a Nintendo Account, Miitomo and Twitter / Facebook accounts can serve up a rapid 400 coins; a face-to-face friend add in Miitomo is another 100.
Let's take those Platinum coins and assume, with relatively little effort, we have a quickfire 500 points. What does that get us in the Japanese iteration of the loyalty programme? Well, below are the rewards available for that many coins (the full list of rewards is right here).
- Mario Suit – 250 Platinum Points – can be redeemed until 5/1
- 1 game ticket – 85 Platinum Points – can be redeemed 5 times until 4/1
- 5 game tickets – 420 Platinum Points – can be redeemed 2 times until 4/1
- 10 game tickets – 250 Platinum Points – can be redeemed 1 time
- 20% off Dr. Luigi (Wii U) – 230 Platinum Points – can be redeemed 1 time until 7/1
- My Nintendo Theme 1: Mario – 200 Platinum Points – can be redeemed 1 time until 5/1
- My Nintendo Theme 2: Donkey Kong – 200 Platinum Points – can be redeemed 1 time until 5/1
That's only a little over half of the original Platinum list, including no full games at all. In Japan you need to rack up 1000 points to get My Nintendo Picross – The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess or DS title WarioWare: Touched!, both as 3DS downloads and available until 1st October and 1st July, respectively. Going back to the chart above, then, we'll need to link more accounts into our Nintendo Account for another combined 30 coins, then ensure we hop onto Miiverse and the eShop for 30 weekly points each. To get to 1000 within a month, though, the requirement is to tackle some of the daily Miitomo challenges. They're pretty simple and only worth 5-10 coins a pop, but necessary to get to 1000 more promptly - or a bit less to 'buy' discounts on a few retail downloads.
In the first few days of My Nintendo, in Japan at least, early Platinum coins can either be saved towards bigger prizes like those exclusive 3DS game downloads, or immediately splurged on 3DS themes or Miitomo extras. With time limits, though, it'll be a tough ask to get everything. Connecting Miitomo and My Account to various social networks will help, as will logging into the eShop and Miiverse regularly, but the key could be hitting daily targets in Miitomo.
What Nintendo is doing in Japan is locking a lot of the rewards (many of which are discounts) behind gold coins, necessitating plenty of spending on the eShop. Below are the gold coin rewards to kick the programme off in Nintendo's homeland.
- 40% off Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D (3DS) – 130 Gold Points – can be redeemed 1 time until 7/1
- 40% off Ultimate NES Remix (3DS) – 105 Gold Points – can be redeemed 1 time until 7/1
- 50% off Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move (3DS) – 50 Gold Points – can be redeemed 1 time until 7/1
- 40% off New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U) – 160 Gold Points – can be redeemed 1 time until 7/1
- 50% off Metroid: Other M (Wii U) – 90 Gold Points – can be redeemed 1 time until 7/1
- 50% off Super Mario Galaxy (Wii U) – 90 Gold Points – can be redeemed 1 time until 7/1
- Super Mario 64 (Wii U) – 120 Gold Points – can be redeemed 1 time until 8/1
- New Super Luigi U (Wii U) – 240 Gold Points – can be redeemed 1 time until 8/1
- Pikmin 3 DLC: Battle Enemies! Stages 7-10 (Wii U) – 30 Gold Points – can be redeemed 1 time until 8/1
- Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (3DS) – 50 Gold Points – can be redeemed 1 time until 7/1
- Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii U) – 320 Gold Points – can be redeemed 1 time until 7/1
- Metroid Fusion (Wii U) – 85 Gold Points – can be redeemed 1 time until 8/1
- Super Punch-Out!! (Wii U) – 100 Gold Points – can be redeemed 1 time until 8/1
Working on an assumption that a full-priced Wii U retail game equates to 80 gold coins, some of these deals are reasonable. The Discounts seem somewhat less exciting, but nevertheless do provide a chance to grab cheaper games or those on your wishlist (Metroid: Other M isn't out as a download yet in the West). As for the full game and DLC downloads, a $60 eShop spend nearly gets you Metroid Fusion for free, and spending about $20 on something could be enough for the Pikmin 3 DLC pack. At the other end of the scale the most expensive option (Donkey Kong Country Returns, a Wii download on Wii U that normally costs $20) would be available if you splash out on about four retail games, or $240 in the US. New Super Luigi U is better value at 240 gold coins, but you need a copy of New Super Mario Bros. U to run it.
In terms of these Gold coins, then, we're looking at a proposition that won't mean regular goodies for many, and it's a pity that DLC and 3DS HOME Theme purchases don't count in the promotion. We don't all buy every retail game as a download, clearly, nor do we all rack up significant eShop expenditure. For those spending on both Wii U and 3DS there's obviously extra benefit, and with the rewards being download-only there's certainly a push by Nintendo to get more of us into the mindset of downloading more content. If all you do on the eShop is buy occasional Nindie games, however, it's a long path to rewards.
So, what to think of the My Nintendo loyalty economy so far, based on the details out of Japan? Well, it's important to remember that it is a loyalty programme and successor to Club Nintendo, so it's never going to throw a load of freebies at us for nothing. By splitting the currency types Nintendo is doing a mix of rewarding engagement with apps and services (Platinum) with goodies for those that spend a lot of money on the eShop (Gold). The initial Japanese list is a fairly even split with 12 Platinum rewards and 13 Gold, though the Gold coins have the majority of the discounts and downloadable game rewards. The focus with Platinum currency, at least early on, is on more 'unique' download content and My Nintendo exclusives.
The Platinum currency strikes us as being the more generous so far, with the opening days and weeks giving users plenty of opportunities to accumulate enough coins to pick between the top options. The Gold is the more difficult to judge, as you need to rack up a lot of eShop purchases for modest rewards, with the discounts perhaps giving more bang for buck in terms of monetary value (especially with high retail prices on the download store). The limited retail slate from Nintendo, though, and the continued desire some have for physical copies and special editions, leave the targets tougher to hit. You'd have to buy a lot of Nindie games before getting a reward - but, again, that's the point of a loyalty programme.
In summary it seems like a solid initial offering for My Nintendo. There's perhaps more potential and enticement in the Platinum currency, though it'll be interesting to see how values and rewards differ when the programme launches in North America and Europe.