News Article

Feature: Taking Off to the Miiverse

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Remember everyone, it's all about empathy

Apart from those living in Japan, many Nintendo gamers will have now spent some time with Wii U, Nintendo's new home console and foray into a variety of bold new directions. A great deal of focus, unsurprisingly, is given to the company's first dalliance with HD visuals, and more prominently the various uses of the GamePad. While the latter is undoubtedly bringing a lot of innovation to game experiences, we feel that Miiverse is worthy of a special mention and, even at this very early stage, a fair amount of praise.

While 3DS has made some decent inroads in online social functionality with Swapnote/Nintendo Letter Box, along with the ability to jump into a chum's game from the friends list, it's still relatively simplistic. Compared to Wii, however, it's a leap forward, with the friend code and messaging system on Nintendo's previous home console being rather slow, inconvenient and unattractive, to be kind. In fairness, Wii brought a lot more to the gaming landscape, and was never given the sufficient tools to offer a social experience comparable to that on Xbox 360, PS3 or even PC services such as Steam. With Wii U, of course, there were no such excuses to be made.

And so we have Miiverse, Nintendo's answer to a social network on Wii U. When describing Miiverse it's tempting to be lazy and just say that it's so, well, Nintendo. It becomes immediately apparent that the service is quickly evolving into the most friendly video game social space out there, possibly the cleanest we've ever seen. The occasional rude picture trickled through on launch day in the U.S., according to some humorous posts on Twitter, but in general it's clear that a combination of a friendly user base and a remarkably efficient moderation system is keeping it family friendly, 99% of the time. Even communities dedicated to titles with notoriously foul-mouthed and abusive — in general terms — gamers on alternative systems are welcoming and relatively troll-free; we're looking at you, FIFA 13 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II.

Which brings us to the Communities, of course, which are a major part of the main Miiverse app. In one sense, the community counts can act as a basic popularity contest — poor little Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013 only has 111 participants in Europe and Oceania at the time of writing — and shows which titles are engaging Wii U owners the most. By breaking up posts into these communities Nintendo can monitor content easily, and it also keeps gamers relatively on topic, with any madness generally being dealt with.

It's not foolproof, mind, as a rather peculiar campaign by a popular internet game critic has taken over one community with a series of posts dedicated to a Hollywood star; if you want to see for yourself, select Americas as your region and track down the Rabbids Land community. As has been observed plenty of times, the communities, messaging and Activity Feed functionality combine to be like a cross between Twitter and Facebook; yet the Rabbids example does highlight one minor niggle mentioned by multiple members of the Nintendo Life team — there's no "say what you like" area, where you can post a message on any topic for your friends or followers to see. As we've said, we can understand the practical reasons why posts are limited to communities, but it's also clear that determined gamers will try and break that system. It also means that if you want to post something nice along the lines of "yikes, the Wii U internet browser's pretty darn fast", there's no intuitive place to do so.

Beyond that minor complaint, however, the platform is off to strong start. While an included friend list area on the system is useful, the ability to send and receive friend requests via Miiverse makes things nice and simple, while being able to view a feed of just your friend's posts and also send them direct messages is a real step forward; each step's easy in a clear, well structured touch interface. Miiverse is also a place where, perhaps for the first time, it's possible to truly feel part of and follow a Nintendo community while gaming on your console, a welcome and wide-reaching extra beyond websites such as this, of course.

It can be a platform to express yourself, with which to show off some artistic doodling skill. The charming WaraWara Plaza is an early entry point, with unknown Mii characters running to a bubble and showing off their messages and pictures. It's the relatively minor touches that help, too, with the ability to type with the keypad, hand write messages, show your mood with your Mii's facial expressions and to post screenshots from compatible games. These touches lead to a pleasing variety of posts from all sorts of gamers, and it can be a small thrill when a stranger that isn't registered as a friend decides to "yeah" one of your posts, the equivalent of a Facebook "Like" or Twitter retweet. It's surely that tingle of excitement and eagerness to see what others are posting that brings us the the "empathy" that Satoru Iwata so wants from Miiverse.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about Miiverse is that, on day one, it's so instinctive to use and full of functionality. We can't imagine that Nintendo will rest on its laurels and leave it alone, with the 3DS showing evidence that the company is eager to embrace change and continually update and improve consoles with system updates; for one thing, with such an active community it'd be nice to have more than 100 friends. One thing's clear, however, which is that Miiverse is providing a social element that includes some of the functionality seen on Xbox 360 and PS3, while also avoiding some of their pitfalls. It's clean, fun, friendly and — we'll say it again — very Nintendo. It seems fitting to let the words of Satoru Iwata finish us off, which reflected his hopes for Miiverse back in August; based on our early experiences, we think it's on the right path.

We have reached an era where even a single-player game experience [can] have a social component that is very important. And I think, again, that social component is mandatory.

...I feel that we need to create—or present—a gaming platform as the place to create that 'social graph' for folks who are in gaming circles, I guess. So that's kind of the reason for creating Miiverse.

When we looked at the timing of how we are going to be implementing it, [we said], 'Okay, when are the best points when people want to have social interactions and makes them want to reach out and say, "Me too," "I did that," "I feel the same way,"?', I think, on a very human level, that is what will give them a sense of satisfaction.

What do you think of Miiverse so far, what do you love or hate? Let us know in the comments below.

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User Comments (60)



-KwB- said:

Miiverse is amazing !! Thumbs up for Nintendo !! Keep on going, you're going up the good path !!



ToxieDogg said:

Give this post a 'Yeah!' if you think the Miiverse communities are a great idea

But seriously...I'm finding Miiverse and the whole online aspect of the Wii U to be the best part of the console rather than the GamePad. Nintendo have created something very special here. And it



Lanmanna said:

Miiverse was a pleasant surprise for me. I thought Nintendo would continue with their cruddy practices of not being able to connect with strangers without friend codes.



Doge said:

Very well done Nintendo, its waaaaaay better than 3ds friend codes



daveh30 said:

Love it. online communities on other systems are way too testosterone driven, to put it mildly. MiiVerse is friendly, inviting, and to me much more mature than the knuckle draggers who insist they can only play "mature" games on "mature" systems, and that Nintendo is for babies...



Rapadash6 said:

Miiverse is the Wii U's killer app, in my opinion. It's actually fun to surf through communities and read what others have to say about specific games. Unlike any online video game blog, though, Miiverse also encourages creativity with the touch screen interface, judging by some of the amazing doodles I've seen out there. What's best about Miiverse, though, is that it opens up the online environment for Nintendo fans, all while keeping things very much Nintendo centric. It's probably too early to say it beats out Xbox Live in that reguard, but it's a really good start for a company with whom usually shy's away from such interactions.



Dreamcaster-X said:

AGREED!!! When I first heard about Miiverse I thought it sounded so lame but what a surprise. It's intuitive, friendly, addicting, & actually VERY useful!!! Much like the Wii U itself, it's just one of those things you have to try and chances are you will like. Thanks for making me a believer big N!!!



WaxxyOne said:

I am floored by the fact that I have been active in Miiverse since the day the console came out (yes, even despite the initial issues it had) and the most offensive post I've seen is someone who hand-wrote the word "Fart" into a message. I don't know what immortal creature Nintendo made a pact with to get the only online forum in the world with no flamewars or trolls, but it's working great so far.

When I heard that Miiverse was basically Twitter with communities relating to the games, I wasn't all that excited, but now that I've seen it in action I'm having a lot of fun reading people's comments, checking out the amazing artwork that some of the more talented players have shared, and posting my own thoughts from time to time.

I hope that this feature will be seen as an important part of the experience going forward. The integration into the Mario game was sheer genius, but it's not as easy to see them doing something like that for Zelda or Metroid, let alone some of the more serious 3rd-party games. Can't wait to see how it's used in future titles.



idork99 said:

@Barbiegurl777 I second that comment!!

I don't have a Wii U yet but it does sound like a lot of fun. Hopefully the experience can maintain when it arrives for the 3DS.



Dreamcaster-X said:

Yeah it's so cool how you can take a screenshot, pop out of the game monetarily & say "How do you defeat this" or the like and get really quick responses, then pop back into where you were & continue. It's pure genius!!



Axed84 said:

I absolutely agree with what everybody else has said. While I've always been reluctant to participate in any gaming forums online (mainly because of trolls and/or flame wars), I've been surprised by my own willingness and ability to very easily integrate myself into the Miiverse community. Well done, Nintendo!



Moshugan said:

I agree, well done Nintendo!
And it can only get better. For example, I would like to see different forums for off-topic and other discussion. It would also be nice to be able to give feedback about the service directly in Miiverse. Finally, I'd like to see the 100 letter limit be lifted (or upped to say 500) when private messaging a friend.



OverturePT said:

What can I say that hasn't been said? Wasn't expecting it to be so fun, but it's highly addictive, I spend hours on that app. The communities all seem great and friendly, I guess what you would expect from Nintendo players, and since we never had this kind of thing before on a home console, everyone is extremely excited to read and share their opinions through the console instead of getting on their PC's and go post on a blog or something. Nothing that hasn't been done I guess, but it's fun, actually looks very good, and most of all there are hundreds of friendly people there (some funny ones and talent as well ). I love it.



jon_simmons said:

i want a community just about the wii u itself. a place where people can discuss questions or problems with the system.



Varia01 said:

I got my Christmas gift early! Yep it is the the Wii U. My parents gave to me and my younger bro on the 1st and we love it so far. My favorite minigame is hmmm.... that is hard, either Metroid blast or Zelda battle quest, maybe Metroid. Now about miiverse, I can't help but put posts in it. Surprisingly, I receive yeahs often from a lot of people. I got 3 yeahs on one of my posts saying that I can't even get past the first level in donkey kong's crash course. I love miiverse indeed.



JayRydah said:

I have came to find out that im spending a whole lot of my time on miiverse. I mean I cud scroll da communities for hrs n b entertained by all the creative drawings n helpful tips on levels amd games. I think hands down 1 of the best features on the wii wud think more then half of the people on there are artist with amazing not even close to bein a artist and I somehow drew the guy on my profile pic.haha



Mowzle said:

I'll add my two pence here for us 3DS users - the sooner it comes to the handheld console the better. Let's all get to join in the Nintendo fun!



Skotski said:

I go on the Miiverse to ignore the fact that I actually have to push myself forward and risk all my loot and skills in ZombiU...



Sean_Aaron said:

Miiverse is definitely a nice surprise. I've posted a couple of times myself. It's a good way to judge a game's popularity and get a sense of whether or not it'll be for you just by reading the comments.

Very nicely done Nintendo!



Schprocket said:

I've seen some absolutely fantastic artwork - I've seen some crappy art work too (I'm in amongst the latter) - but it encourages people to give it a shot.

I, too, have been surprised at the lack of trolling in the BLOPS community with some troll-free and fanboy-free interactions on what the game is like on this platform.



Dreamcaster-X said:

@Schprocket Yeah, the lack of trolls is quite refreshing. So far I've only encountered one and thats AMAZING considering most online forums are crawling with them.



Aqueous said:

You make it sound nice Tom. I'd love to go on it but I have no Wii U, oh well. I still get to visit here.



DarkNinja9 said:

love MiiVerse its awesome and i like just scrolling down and seeing how creative some ppl are ^-^

cant wait to hear about miiverse on the 3ds now when is it going to happen D:



koopa_Trooper79 said:

I think they need to market it better in the adverts on tv and the net and show it off better. when i first heard about it i thought hmmmm ok sounds cool......its far better than Cool, Nintendo have done it again as they alwsys do, they create a new trend that every one then copies (lazy xbox n Playstation)....

Think ive spent the same amount of time looking at posts n doodles (amazing doodles at that) as I have playing on the games.....Just need an option to see ppls profiles and have the ability to comment back on posts seen in Mario Game Map (ballons)......apart from that its brill and i know they will keep adding to it and making it even better



Ren said:

very nice. I don't have one yet and I never thought twice about it but it sounds like they knocked this one out especially considering their past attitude with Online functions. I can't wait to try it.



hendie001 said:

I was not expecting much out of it but it rocks . Reminds me of nintendo life as far as people being respectful.



LittleIrves said:

Absolutely the secret killer app of this system. Reggie said so much a month or so ago.
GamePad : Miiverse :: Glasses-Free 3D : StreetPass



alLabouTandroiD said:

I don't know when i'll buy a Wii U but i'm looking forward to trying out Miiverse.
I still think it would have been near perfect in combination with all your high scores and achievements shown in your account. That would have added more longevity and some surprise factor to your performance. It even might have motivated me to return to games i've long forgotten about.



NintyMan said:

I didn't expect to enjoy Miiverse as much as I have now. Miiverse is my favorite feature on the Wii U because it just feels awesome to post witty game comments or make drawings for fellow Nintendo gamers to see. I put emphasis on "Nintendo" because I've realized that Nintendo gamers for too long have not shared the level of community that XBox or Playstation fans could. Not only does Miiverse bring that community feel, but it also has a certain Nintendo flavor that makes it all the more endearing.

I also love that like Nintendolife, Miiverse is for the most part very clean and respectful, which is often difficult to maintain for a forum-like setting.



Emaan said:

Miiverse is wonderful. I love that Nintendo did this. Its just got that Nintendo charm that no one else can pull off. Its really cool to interact with so many other players across the globe, so seamlessly at that. A job well done, Nintendo.



TheAdza said:

I love Miiverse but it keeps freezing my system. Have to unplug the Wii U to reset it. Quite frustrating as otherwise I would be using it so much more.



Lobster said:

I love, love, LOVE Miiverse. It's amazing how well it flows and there's been very little offensive content. (I saw a "fuuuuuuuuuuuck" posted on a NSMBU level and someone drew a picture of penis people that made it into my NintendoLand plaza. I didn't care about the first - made me laugh - but wanted to report the second and couldn't figure out how...)

It's amazing how many Yeahs my posts can get, plus I love seeing the creative stuff from all over. I love helping people who are stuck in a game and I love getting help and opinions so fast from other gamers across the world.

One thing that cracks me up, if you change your mind about liking a post, it's called "unyeah." LOL. A bit clunky! But if THAT'S my biggest complaint, rock on, Nintendo!



TysonOfTime said:

How is Jim's Willem Dafoe Community coming along anyway?

I feel as if Miiverse needs to survive solely for that.



arrmixer said:

I gotta admit its good.. I'm not into any social media but this is actually good.. basically the same as social media but different at the same time time..



Wonder_Ideal said:

"I was not expecting much out of it but it rocks . Reminds me of nintendo life as far as people being respectful."
Here that Nintendo Life? Miiverse is gunning for your job!



koopa_Trooper79 said:

Its great so see all the mii's running towards the game they r playing, i like using the trigger buttons to move the game icons just to see them all run about makes me smile every time. yeah its great thats its all clean aswell....ive seen a drawing of a arse but thats it, again made me laugh......i went to write a comment on a leval and started with Oh God.....and got told i cant say that lol



capitalism said:

Great article, it sums up the strengths of Miiverse pretty well. It's an amazing service and like the article says, very Nintendo.



gavn64 said:

it is stunning nintendos version of social media is brilliant but it keeps freezing oh and ye cant "yeah"



NintyMan said:

Anyone else just like to watch the comments and drawings pop up on the WaraWara Plaza? I didn't expect to do that much either. Miiverse just exceeds expectations like that.



Drawdler said:

"When describing Miiverse it's tempting to be lazy and just say that it's so, well, Nintendo."
Then if that's the case, call me lazy, because everyone else has already said everything I wanted to say about the Miiverse- it's so, well, Nintendo.



Lobster said:

Really, my first "WOW" moment of Nintendo Magic with the WiiU was seeing the Miis running around the Plaza with the Miiverse comments and drawings popping up. It's been the one thing that consistently tickles me, every time I see it.

They added some new communities tonight! It was hilarious to see the comments fill out quickly, especially because they appear to all be shovelware games. Defoe has some competition with that 30 Games bear.

Less than three weeks old and already spawning its own memes. -wipes tear-



RetroGBHippie92 said:

I can't wait to try this out when I open my Wii U at Xmas time. It'll be just like NintendoLife on a stick!



CharbroiledEwok said:

I'm generally pleased with the Miiverse. MY complaint is with the Wii U Chat app. If everyone will recall E3, they showed the gamer pausing a zombie game, then, when the Miiverse community failed to help, calling the old man on a Rascal for help. He then rolled immediately back into his game.

Why can't we do that? Why require us to back out and load a separate app?



3dbrains said:

sitting on the toilet (sorry too much info) typing this on my WiiU
Loving the internet browser. Miiverse is amazing, thanks to everyone who helped me on ZombiU and Trine2 XxxxX



erv said:

so far, miiverse is incredible. There's some room for improvements in speedy getting to where you want to be, but they are minor.

I think this is the first social networking thing done really right, without being too generic. This is awesome.



Ducutzu said:

Miiverse is awesome and I love helping to make it clean. I have reported a post by one claiming to work for, where he wrote "yo bitches"... and it was removed promptly.



Chunky_Droid said:

I love Miiverse

I just think they need a Wii U community, where you can talk about the console itself.



Phle said:

I like Miiverse so far. I haven't used it a lot, but I think I will use it more as I get used to it. My head tends to learn a bit slow, so new stuff always takes some time to figure out, even stuff other people just get right away.

@Chunky_Droid Yes, that would have been nice, I would like that too.

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