With Wii U, Nintendo Finally Admits The Internet Exists

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.


Comments

    Not really...if anything it feels like Nintendo is still playing catch up

    I mean lets look at this

    Video Conferencing - Both PS3 and 360 can already do this

    Checking Messages anywhere you go - again both PSN and XBL can do this already...if you have a 3G Vita then you can check any PSN message at anytime...on XBL, its a little more widespread considering the iOS app and the fact that you can check Messages through the Xbox Live website...people can do these things already

    Seeing what people are playing - We're doing this already on PSN and XBL

    I don't want to sound like that guy...but it still seems Nintendo is just playing Catch Up to Stuff that already exsist on other platforms...Hey I'm glad that they're finally admitting the internet exsist but I'm not overly impressed because I still think its them playing catch up to everyone else.

      If they can sell this as something new or flashy, then people will still be interested, even if it was available elsewhere already (see Apple).

        Nintendo can do one thing right and that's market their brand. They no how to cash in on the market that Sony and MS have been playing catchup on, the non-gamer market.
        I'm not saying they don't have good games, I love me some Skyward Sword, but the Wii managed to tap into mainstream in a way that other console have not done in the past.
        Example; My 50 year old aunt bought one because she got hooked on playing Wii bowling on my little cousins console when it first came out. Never even cared about consoles in the past and hasn't touched it since but that's money in Nintendos pocket.
        Im very interested to see if the Wii U can do the same. If they make online funtionality seem like the way of the future for someone like my aunt when she picks up the controller for the first time they'll be on a winner.

          *they know how to cash in... not no. stupid monday

          True, its the one thing I give the Wii and DS a lot of credit for...it really did bring in a wider audience.

          I would argue though that Apple has beaten them to the punch in terms of making the Internet accessible to a wider audience. My mum is the most computer illiterate person in the world...but yet she absolutely loves her iPad...her iPad is that bridge to that gap for both casual gaming and casual net browsing

          Your right, Nintendo (in the past few years) do remind me of Apple in some way...but I don't know if it's going to work this time. If they're trying to appeal to both core and casual, well I don't really see my mum playing Call of Duty anytime soon just because its on the Wii U...and well she now has her iPad for all her casual needs.

          But anyways...

            Stupid brower...as I was saying

            Anyways...you can't really count out Nintendo...maybe they will pull an E3 2006 and surprise the hell out of everyone by winning everone over...and maybe the Wii U will manage to play to both the Casual and Hardcore....personally, I think its probably going to go one way or the other...either the casual will embrace it and it will alienate the hardcore or the hardcore will embrace it leaving the casual to other devices

              No I wouldn't count them out either, im interested to see what the plan this time is. Will they go for a wide shot and try and capture the bigger market right away or will they build from the core market they have now and introduce new ideas slowly.
              I get what your saying about Apple, but gaming in the lounge room as part of a whole entertaiment system while being connected online with your friends is something Apple hasn't touched yet. The idea of interconnected devices with freedom to browse the internet, yes.

                So Am I...I don't want to sound like the negative internet guy...I'm really glad that they are moving away from those god awful friend codes and actually implementing a Network...and I do like the things they're doing with it. And I want them to blow me away at the actual conference...I want them to do what they did back in 2006 and make me say "Yeah I want that console"

      Gotta agree with Dan on this one. If this thing doesn't have a stellar community system with easy friending, multiplayer queing, and the ability to see or chat with friends on the fly; it's gonna flop faster than Facebook's IPO.

        I would imagine that will be the case (that there will be a gamer tag attached to your Mii this time around)...please god don't let it be friend codes again

        Like I said before, I don't want to sound like that negative guy...but I can't say I'm overly impressed or wowed by something that looks like Nintendo's way of admiting that social networking exsist.

        At this point, I'd rather see games then them admitting that social networking exsist...show me the games Nintendo cause thats all I really care about from Nintendo as a whole now days

      I think I'll have to disagree with you there. It is a "catchup" but at the same time Nintendo is also looking beyond that. "Looking" being the key.

      I believe Iwata mentioned that you can ACCESS this anytime during a game. Both PS3 and 360 can already video conferencing but not whilst during gaming. 3DS allows multitasking and so the wii U will probably do the same. Messaging is similar and requiring a Vita makes it a lot more difficult. How the XBOX one works with the iOS app is the aim although at this time that isn't much you can do with it other then check messages.

      On the other hand, Iwata mentioned that the Wiiverse is browser-based and they aim to allow you to access it on the 3DS, phone, PC, etc. I assume (assume being the key) that you have all the Wiiverse social networking features, video and voice chatting THROUGH these apps. AKA, I can be on the computer and have a video conference with someone who is gaming on the Wii U, check the Wii U forums on my phone as well as what friends are playing, etc, etc. Kinda like how Apple Facetime and iMessage works.

      I believe THAT'S THE AIM.

      Also this is not the full Nintendo Network, this is the Wiiverse within the Network. That's still waiting on full reveal at E3. And I believe that it will similarly catch up but also look beyond what XBOX Live currently has (although chances are they will have it down the line soon anyways).

      Rumour has it that it will feature cloud-based saves, digital distribution, a Wii U points achievement system which will level brackets for players (the latter part is something that developers have been asking Microsoft to do for years) as well as deep integration with social networks allow screenshots to say be directly uploaded, auto-Tweet game progress, and record and upload game videos to YouTube, etc and also an open framework where say third party like EA, Ubisoft or Value can bring their own gaming accounts and network to the system.

      Not sure how that will work though? Does that mean that if say I'm playing ACIII, I can log into my Ubisoft account from my Wii U and the achievements I earn will count for the my Ubisoft account and the Wii U NN Account? Hmmm...

      There's also some other rumour about a low res 3D faces scan thingy that is currently really buggy but allows you to create characters for in game use or something like that.

      So yeah, Nintendo isn't exactly "doing a Sony" (which before someone jumps down my throat, is a JOKE) and just semi-copying XBOX Live and that's about it. They seem to have asked developers what they want and have put thought + the Nintendo touch into it.

        But its not like your going to be able to play a game whilst video conferencing at the same time (I could be wrong here)...if you look at that laughable video, the guy is consistently pausing the game whilst video conferencing...maybe it can work whilst gaming...but to me, it seems that if you want to socially interact then its still going to pause your game in some capacity due to the multitasking nature of it.

        You say there isn't much you can do with the Xbox Live iOS app...well it doesn't look like their aiming that much higher here. It's still the same idea, you can check peoples progress whilst on the go.

        All of those things you mentioned can be done on the current gen of consoles. For instance, I can record and upload video to YouTube from Just Cause 2 on my PS3...that's hardly anything new...sure it might be widespread on the Wii U and compatible with almost everything...but its nothing new that hasn't been done elsewhere. Cloud saves, we have them on the PSN and XBL. Acheivement systems. We have them on XBL and PSN. Tweeting and Facebook integration...we have them on PSN and XBL.

        I'm sorry but the Miiverse screamed catch up to me...here's hoping they can show me something really exciting at the actual conference...but so far, it just looks like Nintendo's version of Facebook...sure its cool that they've catched up...but its hardly exciting...show me something really exciting and fresh then I'll say that they are leading the way...so far they are not, they're just playing catch up.

          And besides...the further implementation of social interaction is where I felt it was going next anyways.

          The Vita currently has a similar system when you think about...I can see peoples activities through Near. I can communicate with those people. I can like their recent activities in said games. I can "emote" with them through Emoticons. The Live Pages can act as a way of developers communicating with the players (no one has made use of it yet though)...Hell on the LivePages I can see what my friends are doing in said game if they have the same game.

          It just seems to me that this is the direction that it was going to head into anyways. And I think the PS4 and next Xbox will evolve in that same way.

          I kind of have the feeling that this is where the next generation was headed anyways and this is the only way the next generation could build on what was started. Mark my word, the PS4 and XBL will indeed build upon that social interaction in their next consoles.

      Wii had a net browser out of the box. X360 is just about to get one. Catchup indeed.

    Nintendo actually used the internet is 1988! SAY WHAT!!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Famicom_Modem

      Also, In 1995: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellaview

    Internet? Need freinds who game. NOt big news for me

    I've got to say, Nintendo is saying all the right things. The wii U is actually looking pretty decent. But reading this article, which addresses many of my concerns with the wii, I realize now there is nothing they can say or do that will make me want to buy this.

    After three generations of disappointment, I just don't trust the brand anymore. I'm cynical. I don't think I'll ever believe they'll get the third-party support to make the console a good investment. I don't think I can be convinced no matter how wrong I am or how much evidence there is to the contrary. It makes me wonder - are there others like me, who are now irrational cynical about Nintendo products. Will this kill their attachment rate?

      nope, but people like you might...someday anywho

        I don’t see how you can argue that Nintendo have let you down three generations in a row.

        I mean Wii you can definitely make that argument, Gamecube too to some extent but I think you’d be absolutely nuts to say the N64 wasn’t good value.
        Remember that in its lifetime it was the most powerful of the consoles available, and some of the games on there were all-time classics.

        You can say it didn’t get the 3rd party support you might have liked but if you were a serious gamer in the late 90’s theres no way you could argue that games like Mario 64, Goldeneye and Zelda: OOT weren’t worth the price of admission. At the time those were absolutly the best games availiable.

          The N64 had a comparatively small library compared to the PS, incredibly weak third party support, and if I recall correctly had hardly any games released in the two years leading up to the cube. Up until then it had some awesome exclusives, which you listed, mostly made by Rare and Nintendo.

          The games were real expensive compared to the playstation due to cartridges, its power was never really capitalized on due to the space limitations of the cartridges - in my opinion the prettiest game of that generation was Parasite Eve 2.

          The thing is though, this is all subjective: as a poor 12 year with just an N64, the last two years, in which the platform was borderline abandoned, hit really hard. The fact that it happened again with the cube and the wii (poor highschooler, poor uni student retrospectively), I just can't get over it.

      Yep I fell just like you do. I was loyal and they never evolved. I didn't quit on Nintendo ... They quit on me.

      To each their own, the gamecube is my favourite console of all time, I suppose it consfuses me how you could be let down by both a core gaming console AND a casual console, in my mind the GCN and wii are polar opposites. What exactly are you after in a console? I really don't mean to sound like I'm insulting you here, but do you only like ultra violent gory games or something? Because that's the only thing the gamecube was really lacking for, though even then it had a good run if you were a RE fan. The gamecube had some of the most well designed video games ever. Is there any chance you were just a teen back then and were on team xbox or something and that's just colouring your memory?

        Quantity of quality games. Nintendo consoles have quality games (some of the best), but they tend to be few and far between.

          Also, I think the gamecube, as a 'core' console was far weaker than the xbox.

    looks like they are getting things right so far, better online standard game controller. There will always be naysayers. i know the Wii deserved the criticisms but the Wii U looks like they are doing everything they can to satisfy the hardcore community, i just hope they have the games to back this up as well.

    So what if ps3 and Xbox can do all that? Playing catchup? I'm sorry, who was the most successful console maker this gen? Is it true that most people proffered motion control over internet gaming? Is it still true that only half of Xbox owners play online?

    It's funny, it seems like Nintendo are suddenly ahead of the other guys with this thing. And Nintendo has a chance of actually fulfilling the goals Sony and MS set out with their consoles: to create a multimedia device. Something that's been an abject failure on their part. I mean, who actually uses their ps3's and 360s to go on the net? A small percentage I reckon.

      "Who actually uses their PS3 and 360s to go on the net"

      Ahhhh I do...everytime I sign on to the PSN or Xbox Live...I believe I'm using that thing called the NET

      That's the thing though...they're not ahead. At least not in the Social Aspects of the console...they're playing catch up to what everyone else has already been doing. Nothing wrong with that, but call it what it is instead of just "blowing" Nintendo (because that's what every Nintendo fanboy seems to do now days)

      I don't say that with any negative malice...I'm saying it because that's what it is...they're finally catching up and admitting that Social Networking exsist. About time Nintendo, but I'm not going to blow them and tell them they're the best for doing so.

    It's not that they didn't know about the internets, it's that they deliberately avoided using it in the same way as Microsoft and Sony. Nintendo is in the family-friendly games business, not the foul teenagers dropping racist/sexist/homophobic slurs before teabagging you games business.

      Nintendo *was*
      RIP.
      Never really bothered me, but then I only have 2 friends on my PSN friends list and neither of them have been online in 3 months, and one of them is a real life mate...I primarily used consoles for single player or couch multiplayer. Don't get me wrong, I game heavily online, I just do it on PC.

    I think Nintendo's problem of late is that they are always trying to be different, to be the first to do something. Sure this has worked for them in the past, but the problem is they aren't content to embrace existing standards and follow a formula that works, even if they developed that formula in the first place. They just keep pressing on, innovating their way into the future, but leaving behind the people who love them for their past.

    I really hope there is some semblance of a conventional online system for the Wii U, with a friends list and all the usual chat and community options you expect from something like Steam or Xbox Live. It sounds like they may be heading in the right direction, but I'm worried it may be all gimmicks with no sensible underlying substance.

    I think it looks great. And definitely something that won't turn off the casual type of player. Something that parents will find suitable for their young ones to be a part of. I just hope it's got enough scope to do every thing that current platforms do.

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