Unlike its predecessor, Wii U is a system that is steadily making a big noise about functionality beyond simply playing a game. In North America there's TVii, an app that allows subscribers of various TV services to navigate around programmes, access bespoke content and update social networks with comments. It's the kind of thing that's already possible on smartphones, tablets and laptops, and will no doubt be popular in living rooms.
That's not worldwide, however, but Miiverse most definitely is. First unveiled by Satoru Iwata in a pre-E3 Nintendo Direct broadcast, it's intended to bring gaming living rooms together in an intuitive way, and connect gaming and social networking activities. With Twitter-style "bubble" messages, dedicated message boards, suggested functionality such as private messages and video chat, as well as upcoming smartphone apps and 3DS functionality, it's a concept full of potential. In an interview with AllThingsD, Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime explained why Miiverse could be "a key differentiator compared to other companies in our space".
I think that it will pleasantly surprise people. As the network grows and the installed base grows, it will prove to be a true killer application for the system, and I say this loving what we have done with Nintendo TVii and loving all the games. Until you try it and experience it, you may not totally understand it.
...People have to leave the current paradigm behind to understand what we are trying to do. Miiverse is going to be embedded right on the game platform, so literally some of the activity will be able to happen immediately as people experience it. What Miiverse is doing is quite different from anything else that’s being done, especially with the ability to hand draw messages and things of that nature.
Describing Miiverse as a potential killer app is clearly a bold statement, but shows the confidence that Fils-Aime has in Wii U owners enjoying and making use of its various functions. We expect to hear a lot more about Miiverse — and the operating system behind it — from Nintendo in the weeks up to launch, but are you as excited about it as the NoA boss? Let us know in the comments below.