The current online system, utilizing Friend Codes, is lackluster to put it nicely. The complaints of fans have been heard, and Nintendo is hoping to address them through the new Nintendo Network. The Nintendo Network will cover the 3DS and Wii U; and as of now, will be serving up DLC. Iwata says that unlike Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, they will be aiming to build a platform that can deliver various services to customers; delivering a more comprehensive experience. In the future users can look forward to things like competitions, communications with friends, and various digital content.
One item that’s on the table for the Nintendo Network is offering full games via the service. Many factors will influence this decision however:
“The decision must be made by taking into consideration such factors as the relationship with the wholesalers and retailers, and the best way to be embraced by consumers, as well as the environment surrounding the market and consumers, such as the required memory capacity on consumers’ SD memory cards. However, as an option for the future, the significance of this business field will increase.”
Lastly, Iwata revealed that the Wii U will introduce a personal account system (or as the rest of us like to call them: profiles) which will increase “the ease of using a video game system when the hardware is shared by multiple family members.” I know what you’re thinking. Yes, none of this is new. Yes, Nintendo is late to the party. But at least Nintendo is finally coming around to the idea that a functional, well made online system is important for consoles. That being said, they really need to come out swinging on this one. Doing what XBox Live and PSN were doing a few years back really won’t impress anyone. Nintendo will need to pull out some new, innovative features as well as some good exclusive content to have people take them seriously online.
I have faith though. Nintendo is probably the most innovative of the Big 3. If they take their innovative approach to the online sector I’m sure they can come up with something impressive. If that fails however, they can just release a download only Mario game and watch us all go crazy.