Welcome to Objection! This is where we take the time to go on-depth on current gaming issues, and let you guys continue the discussion in the comments section. This week we’re talking StreetPass. Nintendo seems to have overlooked this feature in its marketing, but could it end up being the handheld’s best feature?
Joining us this week is Vooks, from the website Vooks!
MARK: So, Mr Vooks, no Aussie Nintendo Store update this week, so let’s talk StreetPass. How have you found the whole experience so far?
VOOKS: Personally, I’ve had not a lot of StreetPass action so far here in sunny old Perth. I’ve taken the 3DS everywhere I go, up on the dash in my car and only had 3 real hits so far. What I mean by real hits is that I’ve only passed two random people on the Mii Plaza and one separate figure battle for Super Street Fighter. The rest of the 27 hits I have on the system are from the three systems in my house talking to each other when I get home every day. The green light never turns off around my place, it’s kind of annoying really. I have been reading and hearing about people have great StreetPass experiences so far though, that’s something at least.
MARK: I had an incredible experience. I work at Circular Quay, and on Tuesday night I met up with some friends. I decided to show my friends the 3DS and discovered that, on the walk from my office to the restaurant I had picked up a StreetPass notification.
I had a notification from a ‘Choc’. Now I know a Choc, who comments quite frequently on Kotaku and Neogaf forums. ‘It can’t be him,’ I thought. But then – how many ‘Chocs’ can there be in Sydney with 3DSs?
So I reached out to him and asked – it turns out it actually was him. He was in Circular Quay on Tuesday night, and we walked past one another at some point. I’ve never met ‘Choc’ so I have no idea what he looks like, but we were in close enough proximity to actually exchange Miis and I find that absolutely incredible.
I was completely blown away.
VOOKS: Great experience! That’s going to be the great thing about StreetPass, it’s going in a way to bring people together. Now at the moment all you’re doing it trading Mii’s, but think about what games could do with it as well.
However, back to Mii’s for a minute, just think – you catch the train every day, and every day you catch someone – you could eventually meet them and say ‘hello’ and bam you have a new friendship. Personally, I use my Mii’s message to advertise my website, I really want to see if anyone will go to it after meeting my Mii. Yeah, I’m kind of sneaky that way.
I think that at conventions and events it could play a large part as well, one of my friends went to a convention recently and picked up 47 in one day – that’s a crazy amount of Miis. Now if they meet again – that’s building something. Iwata is right about one thing – it’s social gaming. I just hope to see the idea of it expanded for games, Animal Crossing will be insane and hopefully future firmware updates will allow more ‘games’ to be added to the Mii Plaza.
MARK: It’s strange. It connects people in a way that’s really tangible with a common bond.
The day after the 3DS was released I picked up three StreetPass notification on the train, which was awesome, but at the back of my mind I couldn’t help thinking – how many would I have gotten if StreetPass was on the iPhone?
But then it hit me – StreetPass on the iPhone wouldn’t work because of the nature of the audience. Everyone has an iPhone – the fact that two people in the same space have an iPhone is completely meaningless now. But when two people connect via the 3DS, it feels a bit more special in a hokey way. Every time I get a StreetPass hit I know that person is a gamer, an early adopter who loves Nintendo products. I know we have that in common and that’s awesome. It’s like we walked past one another on the street and gave each other a knowing nod.
If StreetPass is integrated into games that niche bond is going to be all the more tangible. You mentioned Animal Crossing, but I can’t wait to see what they do with Pokemon – and I frickin’ hate Pokemon!
VOOKS: Yeah the amount of people who have an iPhone is crazy and it certainly wouldn’t feel as special. It’s a special moment when you get one, you do feel connected to that person – yes that does sound very corny but for me it was like that. I’m sure we’ll even see StreetPass knock offs hit the App Store or indeed the Android Market soon enough though – it’s a top idea.
Pokemon will be absolute nuts with it; they’ve already kind of done a ‘StreetPass Lite’ with Pokemon Black and White with the C-Gear. I think they’ll take it the next step with battles with your team, and even things like trades. Say you want a specific Pokemon, walk by someone who has it and if it matches they’ll trade or maybe it’ll send them a message and if want to connect up later online that could work too.
Nintendo though need to step up their game and tell more people about it. They’re so focused on the 3D screen and AR Games they’ve forgotten a little about StreetPass (and the Wii, cough).
MARK: The thing is, though, StreetPass is such a difficult thing to explain. When it was first announced I was just confused and I didn’t even give the feature a second thought until, quite literally, the 3DS was released in Australia.
And even when it’s explained correctly, it’s meaningless until you experience it firsthand. I’m kind of enjoying how it’s a feature of the 3DS that is slowly bourgeoning, and growing naturally. I really can’t wait to see what smart, clued in developers do next.