Nintendo was initially quite slow to adopt an online presence compared to its main rivals Sony and Microsoft. But more recently, Nintendo stared getting more adventurous and even jumped into the mobile app space using key IP including Mario and Pokemon. Now it looks as though Nintendo is going to introduce some kind of location-based rewards system for Switch and smartphone gamers.
As Nintendo Wire reports, Nintendo filed a new trademark in Japan for the term "Nintendo Check-In." The trademark also included an image, which shows Mario's cap inside the well-known map location icon. The trademark filing by Nintendo was confirmed in a tweet by @trademark_bot.
You may remember that back in March 2016 Nintendo introduced a new Nintendo Account aimed at non-Nintendo devices and was later used for the Nintendo Switch to register up to eight users on a single Switch. It seems very likely that Nintendo Check-In will be linked to the Nintendo Account as it includes all portable devices that could take advantage of it. There could also be support for the 3DS especially as Nintendo would like to sell a lot of the new 2DS XL next year.
As to what Nintendo Check-In is specifically, the use of the map icon suggests it's a system of "friendly" tracking of your location. So if you're using your Switch away from home, or playing with Nintendo apps on your smartphone, Nintendo Check-In could be active to track and reward you. There's also the potential for it to reward visiting specific locations, for example, Nintendo could have an event in your city and attending it will result in some digital goodies being added to your account.
Nintendo intends to launch its $20 online service subscription in 2018. With the trademark for Check-In only just being filed, I wouldn't be surprised to see it officially launch alongside the subscription service next year. Until that happens, Nintendo will keep us guessing as to what features and rewards Check-In will offer.