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Nintendo eyes smartphone catch-up via chat app launch

Nintendo's forthcoming Miitomo smartphone app lets users create an avatar to share information.

OSAKA -- Nintendo plans to roll out a free communications app next spring as the smartphone latecomer focuses on gaining registered users to strengthen its core game business.

     The forthcoming Miitomo app is similar to the Line free messaging app. Users create avatars, dubbed "Mii," to share information upon friending each other. It was developed jointly with Japanese game publisher DeNA, a capital and business alliance partner.

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