Nintendo Network Announced; Digital Distribution Of Games Envisioned

Hinted at in the boxshot of a 3DS game last week, the Nintendo Network was formally announced by the Japanese games maker today in a conference call with investors. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata says the service will offer features different from the Wi-Fi Connection supporting its current Wii and DS hardware, and is seen as a distribution channel for full versions of retail video games.

"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," Iwata said during the call.

Notably, Nintendo is exploring the possibility of selling full retail titles for the 3DS and the upcoming Wii U console through Nintendo Network. Iwata wouldn't say when such plans would begin, but the company does have the means to put them in place now. Significantly, Iwata said Nintendo would have to consider its relationships with retail vendors. SD card capacity also would be an issue.

NIntendo Network's other features will include the means to deliver (and purchase) premium downloadable content, hinted at in an earlier firmware update. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, whose box cover tipped off the Nintendo Network, will be the first title supporting this. It goes on sale in Japan on February 16.

Nintendo Network also will offer personal accounts for Wii U users. The accounts will allow multiple users per system and will move online profiles from the console itself into the cloud.

Nintendo Confirms Nintendo Network [IGN]


Comments

    It's crazy that Nintendo are just getting around to this now.

      Yeah you're right, it's actually been so long since PSN and Live had these kinds of functionalities. I LOVE Nintendo, but wow - this makes you realise how behind the ball they got after the first few years of the Wii.

    I swear the moment I can downlad retails titles from a Nintendo service, the usage of my Nintendo handhelds will skyrocket. One of my favorite things about the PSP, I own like 5 UMDs and about 40+ games digitally.

    Better late than never... but this is pushing it. I'm still waiting for Nintendo to tell me what's going to happen to all those Virtual Console games I have on my Wii when the Wii U comes out... are they all bunk? That'd be pretty cold, Nintendo, pretty cold indeed.

      Yeah, cause it's not like you can have your Wii-U console right next to your original Wii console.

      Seeing as the Wii-U is going to (finally) be in HD, and the Wii runs component cables, all it'll take is a change of channel and a few button pushes and you're done.

      I'd rather keep my old games on the Wii than have to bugger around with transferring and everything just to save 2 minutes.

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