When it comes to online functionality, Nintendo doesn't rank particularly high among developers – and they know it.
Earlier, Shigeru Miyamoto expressed the company's need to rethink it's online strategy on a macro level. Now, in an investor Q&A session held during E3 last week (via Kotaku), CEO Satoru Iwata explained that Nintendo isn't too pleased with its own online games to date.
Of course, I have heard commentary that people feel that Nintendo's online functionality is behind the others or is lacking in some ways. And I can say that we are not currently satisfied with the online efforts that we have made so far, and we are working at ways to improve those. On the other hand, I do not think that online functionality is something that we should be devoting resources to for every single product. Instead, I think that Nintendo's ability to create an offline experience that feels incredibly unique and compelling is a particular strength that we have.
Iwata pointed to New Super Mario Bros. Wii as an example of a unique offline experience. According to Iwata, Miyamoto ultimately decided not to devote the necessary resources for an online component because he felt that the "true value" of the game would be based on shared experiences of people in the same room.
When it makes sense for a game to include a robust online component, he said, then it'll get one.
Going forward, what we will continue to do is to evaluate the individual products and experience that we're creating on a product-by-product basis, and make a decision as to whether or not it's more important to devote resources to making that offline experience more fun and compelling for products where that is going to be the most important element of the game play; and then for products where it is going to be more important, to add online functionality and make that online functionality robust and compelling. We will continue to focus our efforts there when it's appropriate, but it's going to be a product-by-product decision.