News Article

Talking Point: Going Mobile Will Give Miiverse a New Lease of Life

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

A true Nintendo social network

We think that many Wii U owners are likely to agree on one key point: Miiverse is a welcome and excellent new feature on the system. Nintendo was clearly aware that it'd be a major feature and selling point, giving the platform its iconic pre-E3 demonstration and reveal with the viral star, Non-Specific Action Figure. It's also the first thing you see when you log into your Wii U account, in one form, with hundreds of Mii characters flooding onto the screen to show you what they're playing, while sharing their thoughts and illustrations as they do so.

As a platform, Miiverse is a demonstration of one of Nintendo's strongest design principles — taking established ideas and giving them a twist. When exploring the console's app it can feel like a quirky twist on Facebook, Twitter and in all likelihood a few other social networks besides. It can feel on the one hand very open and flexible, while it's also kept clean by a remarkably efficient moderation system; the odd naughty post may get through for a short amount of time on occasion, but when browsing communities you're unlikely to see much, if any, profanity or questionable content.

In fact, what's arguably the most surprising aspect is how well Miiverse works, as in recent years Nintendo has often been considered well behind the curve in online and social areas. It's proof, along with the ever-improving eShop platforms and solid online infrastructure on Wii U, that Nintendo is becoming more capable of delivering in these areas, either through internal expertise or with well-chosen third-party assistance. There's also some evidence that the effort is worthwhile, with the Miiverse communities showing decent levels of activity, while many of you told us — in our big Wii U survey — that you've not only accessed Miiverse but also participated with 'Yeahs', posts and illustrations.

What's also hugely reassuring, as confirmed by Nintendo, is that due to Miiverse being a browser-based app it can be easily and frequently updated. Much like posting an article on this site, or making adjustments to buttons or layout, changes can be almost instantaneous, which allows the Miiverse team to continually read feedback and make subtle enhancements. We see it with new communities popping up regularly, the emergence of "authorised" developer accounts, and of course Miiverse notification posts from some of the company's most senior figures.

By using this kind of infrastructure, Nintendo has also made the job of bringing the service to smartphones and tablets much easier than it could have been with a more insular "app" setup on Wii U. It was confirmed at E3 2012 that Miiverse would come to smartphones, PCs and — which we hope is still the case — 3DS, with the concept video showing a friend browsing his timeline on his phone and keeping up with his pal's progress. And Miiverse is perfect for that kind of immediate engagement, with its use of messaging between friends, "following" other accounts and viewing a personal timeline of that content.

The problem with a lot of this is that, at the current time, plenty of activity can be happening that's relevant to you and you could be none the wiser. Using Miiverse on the Wii U is an excellent experience, and in many cases it's well integrated with games, but when you're not within 30 feet of the console with your GamePad, or even away from home, you become completely disconnected. That strips Miiverse of one of social networking's most important features — immediacy. We'd bet good money that when you look around on a bus, train or anywhere in public and see lots of people staring at their phones, a good percentage will be catching up with the latest on their Twitter or Facebook feeds.

By having Miiverse accessible in browsers — on phones, tablets and computers — Nintendo will go some way to encouraging Wii U owners to engage with the platform in a more regular and meaningful way. It could become quicker and more dynamic while chatting and exchanging messages with Nintendo friends, and provide a fun dose of Wii U gaming culture on the go. If its authenticity is to be believed, we can see an early version in the video below.

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We hope that Nintendo does more than provide a basic browser-based recreation of Miiverse, however, and makes the necessary investment to create mobile apps, like the Twitter and Facebook equivalents. Ideally, it'll be possible to link your Miiverse account with an email address to enable notifications of interactions, while current Android and iOS apps for the big networks include immediate notifications that appear on screen, for example making you aware of a fresh interaction on Twitter. If that kind of information is provided right away, the potential for more enjoyable exchanges with Nintendo gamers is obvious to see.

By going mobile, Miiverse has the potential to develop from a fun diversion on Wii U, to a unique social network just for Nintendo gamers. Each console and manufacturer — including Sony and Microsoft — has its own flavour of userbase, and we occasionally read comments that being a committed Nintendo gamer isn't always something commonly shared on a lot of social networks. Perhaps it's because, since DS and Wii, Nintendo systems have become synonymous with such an alternative approach to their competitors, and so fans that profess to favour the big N often stand out. It's not always the case, but occasionally being a Nintendo fan in the wider world can make a gamer feel somewhat distanced from those with preferences for the offerings on Xbox or PlayStation.

That's not a bad thing, necessarily — it's good to have varied interests and for the whole gaming industry to be supported by loyal gamers of all types. But if Miiverse becomes a Twitter/Facebook-style service easily accessible and intuitive on any device, then posting about beating a level or "Yeah-ing" a Yoshi doodle will feel completely natural. It can be a social network unlike any other.

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User Comments (45)



Raghav said:

They should make the Wii U and the 3ds connect already. As Nitnedo said before they will.



hcfwesker said:

Miiverse is a great app on the WiiU, I'm addicted to it. But had I not tried it first hand and only knew about it by reading about it and seeing video demonstrations, I wouldn't care for it. So I don't agree on the statement of it being a major selling point for the system.



Big_L91 said:

yeah deffinatly not a selling point, but i spend more time on miiverse than i do playing games recently.



Big_L91 said:

also gotta wonder if sony and microsoft are creating PS and xbox versions as we speak.



GiftedGimp said:

Miiverse is like the WiiU itself, its got a great base to start from but its obvious Nintendo intend to expand/update & improve over time.
I wouldn't be suprised if at some point you'll be able to share in game video clips, and/or it will also link to social networks like Facebook & Twitter and possibly even to YouTube.



ThomasBW84 said:

Fair points on the selling point line. That said, when the mobile service is up I think Ninty should make a big deal of it, maybe include it in adverts alongside the eShop etc.



Haywired said:

I must say, I don't entirely get Miiverse yet. I'm wondering if people here could convince me of why it's good (after all, when I first got a 3DS I thought Streetpass was completely pointless and now I think it's awesome and am rather obsessed with getting Streetpa
ss hits and puzzle pieces, so I'm totally open to having my mind changed).

I mean, so far I've heard that it's "a great way of interacting with other gamers" (like what the internet already does...) and it's "a great way to get help on games if you're stuck" (like what the internet already does...) I mean, this website seems like a far superior way to interact with other Nintendo gamers than Miiverse.

Does the world really need another relentless, exhausting, overwhelming stream of Twitter-esque social media noise that's slowly destroying our brains and driving us all insane? Another outlet for the 21st-century plague of mass verbal diarrhea and information overload.

So far, it just seems to me to be a neverending flood of inane and banal comments from random people: "Nintendo rocks!" "Mario is fun!" "Level 24 is hard!" etc. I don't really get the appeal, but I'm totally willing to be convinced. After all, I want to like it, I don't want to dislike it.



luminalace said:


I think the whole point is that you don't need to leave your Wii U to communicate with other users. Also the community is helpful and because of the screen shot option you can really convey why or where you are stuck. The immediacy of it is also great. Much easier to talk Mario or Need for Speed when you are playing it than coming to a website afterwards.



Haxonberik said:

That would really help for me, since I dont want to depend on my internet connection to visit the Miiverse.



Slapshot said:

I do think that Miiverse would be a great addition for Nintendo in the world of mobile devices. The mobile install base is astronomically high and making the Miiverse social network availability that widespread has the potential of being a great thing for Nintendo.

Then again, it also poses a real threat to the service as well. While Miiverse is regularly moderated at current, when a few million users turn into tens (or even hundreds of) millions of users - can Nintendo keep the social service moderated properly? Is it going to allocate a team large enough to take on a task this large?

I'd like the think that it would take thousands of employees working around the clock to keep the service properly moderated. This will cost Nintendo a substantial amount of capital, on a daily basis. It will need to find a way to profit off of Miiverse moving into the mobile front. Selling apps on the mobile marketplaces would be just the thing to bring in this kind of revenue - eh?

Great thought line Thomas. I enjoyed the read.



Moonhillwat said:

Miiverse is awesome, however, I get annoyed when it seems every other post on a wall says "Is this game any good?" Well, what do YOU think? Can you not see all the posts around you where users are expressing their enjoyment? Moreover, did you not see the last person right below you ask the exact same question?

Another one that can get annoying are the "'Yeah' this if..." posts. Sometimes, these attention-seeking posts are abundant instead of posts actually discussing the game.

People want Miiverse to be like Twitter and Facebook? It's already happened. :-/



nocode said:

The last second of the video shows "Miiverse for Nintendo 3ds". Too bad it ends there.



LordessMeep said:

I for one absolutely love the charm of a Nintendo interface, regardless of it being clunky. A good example I can provide is the eShop on the 3DS - the opening music makes me instantly cheery. Sure, you have to scroll through an insane number of arbitrary groups; but I love it all the same.

Having the Miiverse on mobile platforms would be great for Wii U owners. I do hope both the Miiverse and the NNIDs make their way to the 3DS soon.



hcfwesker said:

@Blizzaga yeah begging is one of the worst things about most Miiverse users. They really believe yeahs mean something, and they posy "yeah this if ..." or "give me a yeah if..." for the dumbest reasons. Ex. "Yeah this if you have a WiiU" ... well DUH!

And, also agree on the over use of "is this game good" and of course "Yeah if I should get this game" and the ridiculous "I'll buy this game if I get 50 yeahs" ... reason I LOVED the Miiverse update for "player's post" to only show posts of users who own the game.



VeeFlamesNL said:

Yes, I would love it! My Wii U depends on terrible internet connection, to the extent that I am rarely online. But I will go on my phone and browse all day!



ledreppe said:

Miiverse on my smartphone should be great. I can keep up with the latest while away from home.



Savino said:

The most expensive social network in the world!!!

Only for the elite!!




DerpSandwich said:

I don't think I'll ever want to use Miiverse anywhere but on my Wii U, personally. But that's great that other people will be able to enjoy it. Though I have to say, the service is getting less and less pleasant all the time. Soon all the actual comments will be completely and utterly drowned out by "yeah beggars" and people asking if games are good.



marck13 said:

I love to see that Nintendo follows the messages posted by their system users and how they post news, info and updates directly to the people who care most.



Captain_Balko said:

@Haywired I'll try to outline why I personally find Miiverse much more entertaining than other social networking sites. Hopefully I can help change your opinion.
1. Nintendo Charm: I think that Nintendo puts a little bit of personality in everything they do. The colours are fitting, the sound effects add to a calm atmosphere, and Miiverse as a whole has that Nintendo charm that is impossible to replicate.
2. Game Help: I recognize that anybody can go on a walkthrough on the computer, but, personally, I find going on walkthroughs to be an unpleasant experience. I mean, you have to look at the table of contents and figure out where you are in the game in correlation to it. It's possible that you won't find the specific part you are at, so will have to carefully sift through earlier pages in order to find the area you are stuck at, which is time consuming and tedious. You might accidentally read ahead, and spoil a part of the game. Heck, sometimes even the table of contents have spoilers on them in walkthroughs (for example, I remember one walkthrough had "Fight with [insert secret last boss name here]" for the final chapter, which spoiled the game for me). And if you ask on the internet, it often takes a while to get a reply, plus, the replies are generally not very accurate (and that might be because your question isn't accurate). Miiverse solves these problems by giving you a screenshot function to pinpoint where you are in the game for other plays. Furthermore, it sorts through who has the game and who doesn't, so random trolls can't answer your question wrongly like they can on the internet because you'll know if they have the game or not.
3. Nintendo Fans Only: If you have Miiverse, you have to have bought a Wii U. Period. Plain and simple. I strongly dislike people on the internet that constantly trash Nintendo for no reason (looking at you, Sony fanboys), even on pro Nintendo sites (the kind of people who haven't owned a Nintendo console since N64 but create accounts on Nintendo discussion sites anyways just to piss people off). Miiverse prevents (or at least lowers the likeliness exponentially) of random losers posting stuff like "NINTENDO SUCKS SONY RULES!!!" on a pro Nintendo community.

I hope I helped change your opinion.



moo99 said:

The mobile aspect is great, but if you NEED to read Miiverse when you're not on WiiU, you have problems.



chewytapeworm said:

Will be surprised if Miiverse ended up on the 3ds. Don't get me wrong, it'd be nice! And I don't know why, but I just don't think it will happen.



Dpullam said:

I would most certainly use MiiVerse if I had a smartphone. With any luck, MiiVerse will be arriving on the 3DS in the future once all of the bugs are kinked out as well. I'm looking forward to seeing how much this feature can add to your gaming experience.



JSuede said:

@Captain_Balko I still see people trolling in Miiverse, but the overwhelming stomping they get by nintendo fans makes it worthwhile. My one gripe is that the character limits are short. I can be a bit long-winded at times, so combating a troll can get tedious. Even upping it to Twitter levels would be nice.

Once I get on Miiverse, I get completely sucked in. Whether I'm checking out art, just browsing posts or commenting on questions people have...I love it. Having it on my phone is going to be incredible. It truly is a social network for gamers.

Sony is going to be integrating Facebook with the PS4, None of my friends really play games so they really don't want to see a million posts about stuff I'm playing. They just don't care and seeing a youtube video of a cool clip isn't going to change their minds. Who knows what the neXtBox will do, but honestly....I don't plan on getting one. They will have to really wow me in order to get me at all interested in buying one.

I love that the developers actually get on and post things as well. It brings a level of transparency that doesn't get swallowed up by PR spin. Same reason why I love the Nintendo Directs. Sure those are PR things, but it is straight from Nintendo instead of second or third-hand



kyuubikid213 said:

Here's what I want. I would very much like the 3DS version of Miiverse to function exactly as the Wii U version does. Sharing screen shots, yeahs, everything. But most importantly, I want the streamlined method of adding friends. That may be a bit much, but I'm certain it will be appreciated by all users.



CaPPa said:

Won't Miiverse being available on mobile devices open it up to anyone and let an influx of trolls onto the network? Unless there is a system to only allow Wii U owners access then it'll be a horrible move.

Also if it is browser based then wouldn't it be accessible through the 3DS browser too?



guilhermecahu said:

I still don't understand why they did a mobile version <before> a 3DS one. Why? Where's the 3DS Miiverse? Or did they forget 'some people' have bought their portable console?



SethNintendo said:

I hope that you have to use an existing network ID made on the Wii U to prevent people joining just to spew hate. There needs to be something in place because I don't want to see it become like most of the internet (filled with Nintendo hate).



CptStone said:

We need to get the word out on this share it on your facebook, email to friends . .We are the only ones that will save this system. . Miiverse needs to be known . .
Free online gaming for everyone!!



Prof3ssorMGW said:

I hope they make a way to record game matches/races etc. & then share those videos on Miiverse.



mcusc5435 said:

I am a huge Nintendo fan but I disagree with the decision to put smartphones and PCs ahead of the 3DS to get Miiverse. The 3DS is a Nintendo brand portable console so the people that own them should get Miiverse before people that potentially do not own any Nintendo branded products on smartphones and PCs do.



alLabouTandroiD said:

A small notification on the app icon that there's new content for you would really be the best option imo.

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