Editorial: The Present and Future of Online Services: Nintendo

On second thought, yeah they do!

Gamers do not want online games!

The next generation of console gaming is almost here, and with it, the next iteration of online services. With the Wii U, Nintendo has finally taken another baby step in its effort to catch up to the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live. At the same time, there has been a fair share of rumors about what the future holds for all three services. Over the next three weeks, I will take a look not only at how all three stack up, but also examine a few of the rumors about their future.

Just over a year ago, the Nintendo Network was launched, taking over from the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. At the time, Nintendo stated that the goal was for Nintendo Network to be on par with their rivals’ services. The fact that the goal was just to be on par with the rivals shows just how far behind they were before the Nintendo Network release. With Nintendo finally realizing just how important online gaming services are, it would be expected that the Nintendo Network and all of its features would be ready for the launch of the much-hyped Wii U. That, however, was not the case, with a large number of items that were promised at the Wii U launch not available until mid-December and beyond.

An issue that held Nintendo back in the previous generation was the use of frustrating Friend Codes. The advent of Nintendo Network ID eschewed Friend Codes, but, as with all things Nintendo, it failed to meet similar rival services. At this time, the Nintendo Network ID is tied to a Wii U console, where rival services feature no such restriction. To make sure that a Nintendo Network ID, along with all of its associated purchases, is transferred from a broken Wii U to a new one, it must be sent into Nintendo. It should be noted that Nintendo has promised that, in the future, the Network ID will not be tied to one console.

We will get there.....Eventually!

We want to be as good as everybody else!

With the Miiverse, Nintendo has attempted to turn the Wii U into a social hub for gamers to communicate with one another. The Miiverse was available on launch day of the Wii U and is quite popular, mainly because most early adopters of the Wii U are unabashed Nintendo Fantards and need any reason to feel better about their purchase. One item that is lacking from the Miiverse is an achievement/trophy system. Many gamers are absolute whores when it comes to trophies. The Miiverse would be the perfect area for people to show off their newly earned trophies, yet they are missing.

The future of the Nintendo Network, as with the future of the Wii U, seems rather bleak. A year after its launch, the service is still miles away from its competitors. The highly touted features share a similar attribute with the console they were made for, a ton of promises, but not a lot of delivery. Nintendo continues to burn the goodwill of gamers. They make many promises, yet fail to deliver in a complete manner. Nintendo is driven to turn the Wii U into an entertainment and social hub, however they should focus on fixing the issues that are holding the service back from being comparable to their rivals.

The Nintendo Network is the worst service available at this time. While it is free, it lacks basic features that its rivals also offer for free. The few things that are exclusive to the service are either lame or not fully fleshed out. If Nintendo is to survive this generation it will need to start with making the Nintendo Network a can not miss service. Next week I will delve into the Playstation Network, but for now what are your thoughts on the Nintendo Network?

4 Comments

  1. Joanna 'Runaway' Price
    Posted 2013.02.21 at 16:54 | Permalink

    I think you have to ask which audience Nintendo is aiming for. To me, it seems that most Nintendo games and systems put a lot of emphasis on the casual gamer, which from a marketing standpoint, makes sense: as far as the total population of people who don’t shun games go, there are more casual gamers than core gamers. And for casual gamers, the network is less important, because their social lives are not as tied up in gaming communities as core gamers’ are. That said, the remaining issue is the price point. If Nintendo wants to sell to an audience that is made up most of people whose view on on games consists of “sure, seems like fun sometimes,” they can’t expect to sell at the same price as the companies who make systems for core gamers.

  2. Mel
    Posted 2013.02.22 at 10:08 | Permalink

    As a whole, I think Nintendo’s offerings for this coming generation are simply not going to seem that exciting. Later on, if developers and publishers make more efforts to put games on this console then that could change. However, Nintendo has more than enough liquid assets to see them through what, in my prediction, will be another “Gamecube” for Nintendo.

  3. Ethan 'Ethos' Pipher
    Posted 2013.02.22 at 23:01 | Permalink

    The Nintendo Whatever Network totally misses the point of what online is supposed to be. If you use the network as if it is a video game, then sure’s it’s fine. There’s stuff to do or whatever, but that’s not the point of having your system online. I just want to check which friends are online, what they’re playing, and compare meaningless bragging rights. Maybe invite them into a game if I ever played multiplayer games (hint, I don’t).

    I don’t want to launch an application and dick around and actually spend dedicated time in some sort of half-assed console-based social network. I don’t want to stop playing my game to say something completely banal to nobody in particular so that some 9 year old can read my banal message and then roll his eyes – even though he’s a child – on account of MY MESSAGE BEING COMPLETELY BANAL.

    Nintendo’s trying so desperately hard to be different just because it worked financially with the Wii. Why not see what other people are doing and then DO IT BETTER. Not do it different. If it ends up being different, fine, but it really appears as though Nintendo is more concerned with being different than being better when it comes to their online strategy.

  4. Mel
    Posted 2013.02.22 at 23:21 | Permalink

    I wouldn’t be too surprised if Nintendo’s online fumblings were simply a combination of not knowing what it’s doing and being afraid (still) of ruining its child friendly image by allowing the Evil Internet into the picture.