Annoying friend codes. Lacking multiplayer functionality. If there’s any area where Nintendo’s really lagged behind Sony, Microsoft and even smaller indie game-makers, it’s been in capitalising on the connectivity that the web offers game designers and game players.
But with the Wii U, it finally looks like they’ve gotten a big clue.
Arguably the biggest features shown in today’s Nintendo Direct conference all had to do with connecting players with each other in a variety of ways. An activity feed that lets you see what others have done on a particular game appeared to connect the Wii U to a smartphone, and was also promised to be functional on any web-enabled device. Not only that but the Wii U gamepad also got used as a video calling device.
In the streaming presentation, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said that the company had as their goal creating something that will help unite people rather than divide them, whether in the same room or thousands of miles apart. The Miiverse and this cross-platform evolution of the Nintendo Network may just be a Nintendo-styled spin on Twitter and Facebook, but what they’ve shown is already lightyears ahead of where they’ve been. If these ideas play out the way Nintendo hopes, Sony and Microsoft may be the ones playing catch-up.