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Reaction: Nintendo Finally Arrives Online with Wii U

Posted by James Newton

Better late than never

Nintendo's pre-E3 show just wrapped up, with an unprecedented focus on Wii U's online functions.

The machine's innovative new Miiverse online system took centre stage, and Nintendo's put it front and centre in the console itself too. When you power up your Wii U, you'll see the Miiverse Plaza, a vibrant, online connected community: other players will fill the plaza with comments about games they're playing, introducing you to new games and a whole community. Wii's online functions are all behind Channels; Wii U puts them right in your hands, right from the start.

It's the scope of the features that impress most, though. Miiverse aims to connect consoles and players even for single-player games.

Imagine playing the new Zelda and getting stuck in a temple; instead of opening up a strategy guide or a web browser, the Wii U's social networks can be accessed from any game with a few taps, suspending the game in the background. Post a message asking for help, and other users will be able to respond; if you get really stuck you can start a video chat with them to discuss strategies. You'll be able to check into the Miiverse on 3DS and, in future, all web-enabled devices.

No Nintendo console has offered such open communication before, and while that's damning with faint praise, Wii U truly does look leaps and bounds beyond Wii and even 3DS. While there will undoubtedly be limitations — hey, this is Nintendo we're talking about — the framework is far stronger than we've seen before.

Yet there's still an unmistakable air of Nintendo-ness to all this. Mii characters gathering around icons in a plaza; sending handwritten notes and doodles to friends and social networks; commiserating when you die on Super Mario Bros. for the hundredth time. It's less about connecting consoles and more about connecting players.

After spending so long trailing so far behind the competition, Nintendo could finally have an online service that leads the way.

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User Comments (47)

Chrono_Cross

#1

Chrono_Cross said:

This is probably going to be one of the best features of the console. In a way, this sort of terminates the purpose of forums.

NintyMan

#3

NintyMan said:

I'm not the most devoted social media member, but something like this would be very cool and be very helpful after getting stuck in a game. While open-world online isn't new, it is for Nintendo and that makes it huge for Nintendo with all kinds of possiblities. I might not have to buy so many strategy guides now.

theblackdragonAdmin

#4

theblackdragon said:

@Chrono: No offense, but this is Nintendo we're talking about — I'm not holding my breath for something that'll replace the need for internet forums entirely, here, lol. :3

6ch6ris6

#6

6ch6ris6 said:

@irken004

i have enough confident in nintendo-nerds that this wont turn out to become xboxlive

and i think you can turn it on and off to see what strangers say. there will be an option to show only people on your friendslist

RaylaxStaff

#7

Raylax said:

This could be good... so long as it finds a way to prevent immediate and widespread abuse. I hope Nintendo has a strategy to prevent each game of Super Mario being gently pebbledashed with crude doodles of Peach's jubblies and strategies largely involving the phrase "suck less"

TheBaconator

#8

TheBaconator said:

The ability to post anything you want to others and video chat with old men you've never met as the Nintendo Direct webcast suggests, seems like a pretty big move for Nintendo with them enforcing parental controls so heavily on past consoles. Looks neat, though.

Chrono_Cross

#9

Chrono_Cross said:

@Irken
Sounds like an internet forum.

@tbd
Why would I be offended by that? All I'm saying is that it could be an easier to way to find a nice, short answer to a problem your facing with your current game. And potentially substitute internet forums.

Nintendaholic

#11

Nintendaholic said:

yes im guessing they will have a report system that can get the player banned temporarily for being crude

Slapshot

#12

Slapshot said:

While it isn't anything new: my PS3, Vita and iPhone (via Raptr) are all interconnected. It's still good to see that Nintendo is finally on-board the online train. :D

motang

#14

motang said:

Did I hear Iwata right, that we can take screen shots and video of the games we play.

Edit: never mind, you can take screen shots but not videos of the gameplay.

JettiBlue

#15

JettiBlue said:

Wow, I'm impressed! And very happy! It looks like our Big N is not finally getting online right, but even better, getting ahead of the others maybe!

Kaeobais

#16

Kaeobais said:

I wonder if they did all of this so that they could get it out of the way for much bigger announcements during E3? I know it's just hopes and dreams, but something about this is giving me a feeling that we'll be seeing something great at E3. I'm crossing my fingers for F-Zero.

Oh please, great Miyamoto in the sky, give us F-Zero!

g1i1ch

#17

g1i1ch said:

@6ch6ris6 I agree, it's something I've noticed recently. I mean really really notice. Young kids and immature people seem to group on 360. Violent people seem to group on the ps3. And all nintendo fanboys seem to be nice and get along pretty well.
I mean it's not exact at all, and there's bits of everyone in every group. Just the general feel I get.

kyuubikid213

#18

kyuubikid213 said:

I can't wait for the WiiU now. Before, price was a big deal. Now, PRICE is almost nothing. Just so long as it caps off at $600, I'm certain that the WiiU will be worth it.

komicturtle

#19

komicturtle said:

Nintendolife should strike a deal with Nintendo to tie NL accounts with Nintendo Network.

I'm sure TBD and James could persuade them, right? :P

nfzeta007

#21

nfzeta007 said:

@g1i1ch Its partially true, certain people are attracted to certain things and it shows in most things, it might not be that its so for everyone but it might just be the company or console has a bigger pull on certain people.

I know people might not like me saying this but look at COD and the sort of people you run into often, the same goes for LoL, both are fairly good games but something about them just seems to attract the 'wrong' crowd.

dizzy_boy

#24

dizzy_boy said:

would be nice if you could chat to people online while actualy playing games, rather than backing out of them every time you need/want to talk to somebody. still, it`s good nintendo are adding this in at the start.

Objection

#25

Objection said:

This could be REALLY cool. I hope it delivers. (Speed is gonna be the big issue where the Wii failed big time.)

Token_Girl

#29

Token_Girl said:

I don't see this being used that much in games. Nintendo's going to have such strict moderating policies and some of that won't be able to be moderated with simple algorithms because of handwriting (seriously, how do you police for every spoiler and penis drawing). Or are they just going to rely on parental controls for the obscene and...I don't know for the spoilers.

Dodger

#30

Dodger said:

I'm interested. First thought was how you are going to moderate this. Just like my Dad when he watched the presentation. And everyone here, judging by the comments section.

You can talk about parental controls all you want but Dad and Brother aren't going to have the parental controls on. If you have the risk of your family seeing crude stuff everytime you turn the system on or die in Mario then I don't even want to imagine CoD Wii U. This seems better for a handheld then a console.

I like internet modes. Playing against a human is much more then then playing against the AI. Some developers seem to think that I want any more of that person then their brain. I don't want to talk with somebody, I just want to play a game. Does this really add anything if it just winds up being another way to have your mom insulted?

I'm still watching though. This is the first time Wii U has interested me.

RevolverLink

#31

RevolverLink said:

This should be really awesome feature for when you find yourself stuck in a game although, on other side of the coin, it does make me a bit nervous about spoilers.

DarkEdi

#32

DarkEdi said:

This is excellent. I hope we uses a synchronize between Wii U and 3DS so we don´t add again the same FC.

Jono97

#33

Jono97 said:

I hope that you won't need a Wii U to have Nintendo Universe. Also, is that skype?

eviLaTtenDant

#34

eviLaTtenDant said:

I really hope you can voice chat while playing instead of having to video chat.I mean this whole "players hand-holding each other" could be taken to a completely new level as well if your friend's performance was streamed to your console live. Maybe it could also give you the control so you could show him exactly how something's done in the game.

TheAdza

#37

TheAdza said:

For someone like me who rarely plays online due to lag and data limits, but still enjoys DLC and eShop games and VC, this sounds perfect. It also seems like something I would be very happy letting my 12 yr old son get online with, a happy place of Nintendo fans in a MiiVerse all talking and chatting together about popular games. I can't wait to get one of these at launch. Starting to save now.

Whopper744

#38

Whopper744 said:

awww man. @Vintage beat my to that avatar :p

Can't wait to really get online with Nintendo. Here's hoping for use of headsets for online games as well.

Dashtag

#40

Dashtag said:

Yeah, I really want good online finally. But I want there to be a really good offline mode.

rjejr

#42

rjejr said:

So, what does the start up screen look like if you aren't online b/c either you have dial up (I'm assuming broadband required right?) or your service provider is down? I know at least 99.9% of the people posting on here are doing so over broadband but America has broadband limitations. And when my kids go on the PS3 I have them set to NOT log on automatically. There are plenty of PS3 games you can play w/o going online. And I don't think there are too many Wii games that require it. I turned off "always-on" long ago due to heat issues.
And I hope w/ all of this they include a NIC. Wifi sucks where I keep my Wii so everything - PS3, Wii, laptop - are wired.

Onett

#43

Onett said:

@Dodger

You're speaking as if all of the foul text will be automaticly visible without having to befriend them first. All of Nintendo's past consoles with online functionality require a friend code before certain functions become available. I can almost guarantee that you will need to obtain a friend code before you start seeing text and have the ability to video chat. In addition, I'm positive there is a option to turn off the text as well. :)

Terave

#44

Terave said:

This is interesting. Hoping to learn more about it at E3. If Nintendo gets it right with this console, then that means the choice isn't that hard.

Dodger

#46

Dodger said:

@Onett That's pretty much what I'm wondering. Iwata said that messages from other people playing the same games as you will show up also. Friend codes are also gone in favor of accounts. There is a friends list but like I said, messages from other people playing the same games as you will show up.

It might be that only friend messages show up while you are playing but that kinda takes away the point of this. I can already text a friend about a game or something. If they are marketing this as a gaming social network then having only your friends list show up is kinda boring because I'll likely only have a few real life friends with a Wii U and maybe a few online friends that I would feel comfortable having their messages show up in my living room on the big screen.

I am pretty sure that video chat will be friends only. I think Nintendo was trying to show that that dude is his grandpa, not a creepy stranger who wants to be called Grandpa and knows about his social life. We're dealing with Nintendo, not Goombario.

I still want to know more because if they don't have a good way to stop foul messages then every account that will be played with kids in the room will be turned off. You can avoid the stupid CoD players by not playing online, not by turning off a major function of the system.

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