Nintendo is taking its sweet time in making its Miitomo app available to us US Americans. But the waiting, in so much as there has been waiting for a glorified Nintendo-only social network, is almost over. After a bit of exclusivity in Japan, the app is set to go live in the United States and "several other countries" on Thursday, March 31st. Want to know which other countries? So do we. Update: the UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Canada.

Miitomo is a combination of a social network and a sort of Tamagotchi system. Users create or import Miis, the player avatars that Nintendo has been using since the launch of the original Wii, then customize them with physical characteristics and clothing. Then you send your Mii out into the big wide Miiverse, where it will talk with your Nintendo friends. And also strangers. It's kind of like a simulator for being a really terrible parent, only your child is a tiny cartoon version of you. Miis will ask each other questions, which can be answered by the real "players" behind them.

Playing around in Miitomo will earn you Platinum Points, a Nintendo virtual currency that can be spent on goodies on the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS (assuming you connect your Miitomo account to an active Nintendo account). Players will also be able to access Nintendo's digital store on the web or phones, but at the moment it's only for purchasing games and themes which can then be used on the consoles... but not on PCs or smartphones. At least not yet.

Miitomo is live. Go get it from the Play Store - there's the app widget right down there.

Press Release

REDMOND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Don’t miss out on being a part of a Nintendo first! On March 31, Miitomo, the company’s first-ever smart device application, is launching in the United States and several other countries. Miitomo is a free-to-start social experience that lets users spark one-of-a-kind conversations with friends in a whole new way using Mii characters. The app recently launched in Japan and was downloaded more than 1 million times in its first three days of availability, while achieving the #1 most downloaded free app status in both the App Store and Google Play storefronts.

“With Miitomo, Nintendo takes its first step into the world of smart devices,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “Miitomo brings the special Nintendo charm and polish that people around the world love to an entirely new format and audience.”

Getting started with Miitomo and being a part of this Nintendo milestone is easy: After downloading the application for free on the App Store for iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, along with Android devices, users create a Mii character and customize facial features like eyes and hair, as well as voice and personality. Users can also use the camera on their smart devices to snap a photo of themselves, which can be used to create a Mii, or they can simply import their Mii from their Wii U or Nintendo 3DS systems using a QR Code.

Once their Mii is ready, users can add friends who already have the app in person, or by linking the app with their existing Facebook or Twitter accounts. After that step is complete, it’s time to answer some questions! Miitomo creates conversations and turns discussions into a form of play by prompting users to answer all kinds of fun questions. How would you define your fashion style? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? If you were given ten grand to spend in one day, what would you do? The answers get shared among friends, sparking interesting conversations – part of the fun is discovering unexpected facts about your friends. When users hear how their friends responded to questions, they can give answers a “heart” or a written or picture comment.

To preregister for Miitomo, users can sign up for a Nintendo Account at https://miitomo.com before March 31 to receive an email when the app is ready to download. People that create their Nintendo Account and preregister before March 31 will also receive Platinum Points for the new My Nintendo rewards program, which will simultaneously launch with Miitomo. Aiming to be much more than a standard rewards program, My Nintendo is a comprehensive service that rewards users for interacting with Nintendo products and services in a variety of ways. Miitomo users who link the app to their Nintendo Account will be able to take advantage of My Nintendo to enhance their experience. Platinum Points can be earned by interacting with Nintendo apps and services, including Miitomo. Gold Points are earned when purchasing digital versions of games from Nintendo.com or Nintendo eShop on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. Both Platinum and Gold Points can be redeemed for rewards like games, download content, in-app items and eShop discount coupons.

In addition to Miitomo and the My Nintendo program, Nintendo is also launching an enhanced Wii U and Nintendo 3DS shop on Nintendo.com on March 31 for users with a Nintendo Account to purchase digital games. Featuring an expanded catalog of more than 2,000 games, this digital store can be accessed on personal computers or smart devices. The shop serves as an additional purchase option to Nintendo eShop on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, with all purchases being sent directly to users’ Nintendo 3DS or Wii U systems for download. Users can now easily find and purchase games that are new, popular and on sale, as well as use filters to search by genre. Purchases of games from this site, as well as Nintendo eShop, will earn My Nintendo Gold Points.

For more information about Miitomo and My Nintendo, visit https://miitomo.com.