Nintendo is known for a lot of things, but online isn't one of them. The 3DS took a step in the right direction by allowing users to register friends as well as view what they're playing, when they were last online, and what their favorite 3DS title is. The company's next home console, Wii U, looks to take things even further.
We already know Wii U is set to ditch friend codes. In an interview with MTV, acclaimed Nintendo developer Shigeru Miyamotoopened up about the future of Nintendo's online experience. "We're not going to sit here and say that our goal is to become the number one online gaming company, because that's not our goal," he said. "But, understanding that the types of experiences our consumers like to play do often contain elements to them that can be improved or may even require an online connection and also knowing that the system is going to have a browser I think suggests that obviously internet and internet connectivity is going to be very important for the system."
He went on to discuss possible creative uses for online. "There are opportunities to take advantage of online to expand a local, same-room multiplayer experiences by connecting that to the internet and making new types of play that way," he said. "Also by having the smaller screen, being able to go online and perhaps see what game your friend is playing or see what TV they're watching, I think there are a lot of possibilities for how you could use that," he said. "Certainly internet functionality is something that will be important for the system."
Who knows what the future holds?
As for how Nintendo plans to move away from its current friend code system and towards individual accounts (something more like a gamertag system, in other words), Miyamoto-san didn't have much to say other than that he expects Miis will be involved to some capacity. "We have introduced Miis to the world and everyone will hopefully have their own Mii, so obviously I think there are possibilities along those lines," he said. "And I will say that this is a system that will have a great deal of appeal for its online connectivity."
But even though the company is becoming more modern in their online plans, it's probably safe to assume whatever they do will still have a strong focus on privacy and parental controls. "A key word for Nintendo in the online sphere has been creating an experience that's comfortable for all players, so we'll still look at that and stick to our idea of trying to create an online experience that's welcoming to everyone," he said.
Are you excited that Wii U is ditching friend codes once and for all? Are you ready for the company's online to be more competitive with Xbox Live and PlayStation Network? Or will you miss the privacy if it becomes an out-and-out gamertag system? Let us know in the comments section below!