In the past generation, online gaming has become a necessity for any console to possess in order to thrive in the multiplayer aspect. However, Nintendo‘s Wii was more than a bit behind in comparison to the Xbox 360 and PS3. So, with a new generation on the horizon and the Wii U launching soon, what is Nintendo going to do different?
At an investor relations meeting following Nintendo’s E3 2012 press conference, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata was asked about the new Miiverse feature and if it could properly compete with Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Sony’s PSN. Iwata explained that they couldn’t copy what the competition had done on the Wii U, admitting that they had gone too far ahead for them to catch up.
“I think that what we see in terms of online gaming networks on existing dedicated gaming platforms is not particularly well suited to the approach Nintendo has taken. Therefore, I can’t sit here and say to you that we can very quickly overcome or catch up to other companies, which began to work in the online field from many years ago and have been building these online networks on other platforms, and I don’t think that would be a smart strategy, either.”
The decision was made, therefore, to develop their online service in a different direction, which led to the creation of Miiverse. The focus of Miiverse would be interactivity between each player, so Nintendo focused a lot on the social networking aspect of the feature while creating it.
Iwata continued by saying – as Nintendo did at their E3 press conference – that not only playing the games on the Wii U, but also discussing what was played through Miiverse’s communication features would provide an enjoyable experience for everyone. This would also give some players the chance to learn about games they hadn’t heard about and consider playing ones they hadn’t considered before. He also mentioned that the Wii U would be supporting free-to-play games and microtransactions, but wouldn’t elaborate further.
While Iwata saying that the company doesn’t want to copy the competition is a bit dubious, given the design of the Pro Controller, they do appear to be trying to distance themselves from the other companies by quite a bit. Still, the focus on social interaction for Miiverse can be viewed as a bit troubling, as Iwata didn’t give any details regarding online play during the meeting. This, combined with the lack of online multiplayer for Pikmin 3, may raise some concerns about just what the Wii U will do in that area.
What do you think of Iwata’s comments? Do you think the Miiverse is a smart move on Nintendo’s part?