Last night was Satoru Iwata’s investor briefing and during the event a few pieces of information were divulged about the upcoming Wii U and it’s online plans. Yet again the fact that the console would be released worldwide before the end of the year was confirmed but we also found out some more…
First of all were some hints at Nintendo’s online plans. The current name Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection is now out and in it’s place will be Nintendo Network. “Unlike Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, which has been focused upon specific functionalities and concepts, we are aiming to establish a platform where various services available through the network for our consumers shall be connected via Nintendo Network service so that the company can make comprehensive proposals to consumers,” Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata said. ”For example, competitions and communication among users, as well as the sales of digital content, will be covered within the Nintendo Network.”
Whereas previous systems had accounts that were tied to the system hardware, rather than the user, the Wii U will utilise individual user accounts to link to the Nintendo Network. Iwata admitted the need to solve situations where the same console is shared by multiple family members.
As far as downloadable content goes, we already know third parties are starting to deliver, kicking off with Theatrhythm Final Fantasy on the 3DS but Nintendo themselves have kept fairly quiet. Well turns out they are considering it for their own software even giving Mario as an example. Iwata said “If a Super Mario user gets tired, we can then sell digital extras which will drive extra revenue, encourage higher communication amongst users, and possible increased satisfaction and hardware install bases.” How about it? Would you like extra stages available to download for Mario Bros 3DS or new courts for Mario Tennis 3D? Sounds good to me.
The Wii U control also had a new feature announced called NFC or Near Field Communication. What’s this you ask? Basically it’s a method for exchanging data between two or more devices over a short distance. It’s similar to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth except there’s no need for a base station or pairing therefore making connections safer and easier. It’s sort of like crossing the QR code reader from the 3DS with StreetPass functionality. Sort of.
The possibilities seem very exciting though. Imagine the Skylanders series but without the need for the portal device and just the figures. Or collectible cards that allow new content to be accessed when connected. Can you think of a Nintendo franchise that might benefit from this? Pokemon perhaps…
Finally a rumour has been floating around indicating that Nintendo are seriously considering changing the name of the Wii U. What to is unknown but given the feedback received from the too similarly named to it’s predecessor 3DS, it may come as no surprise that the company would want a name that is more unique. Of course this is just rumour at the moment.
With around four months until the re-launch of the Wii U at E3 here’s hoping we get some more information before then. Come on Nintendo. Please!