At an investor meeting, Nintendo President and Satoru Iwata made the announcement that Nintendo will be working on an online gaming network for their Nintendo 3DS and forthcoming Wii U systems. For those not exactly aware, Nintendo’s current “online network” (quotation marks entirely necessary), the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, is something short of a fully functional online gaming network like Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network. Don’t take it from this jaded former Nintendo fan, take it from Nintendo’s President himself, who said the new network will be “Unlike Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, which has been focused upon specific functionalities and concepts.”
The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection is one of the most frustrating experiences in online entertainment, as anyone who has used something other than it and can compare will bemoan the use of the infamous Friend Codes, and Nintendo’s general unwillingness to allow users to communicate freely. Sure, the Internet is a scary, hateful place, but limiting communication and actual gaming features and online functionality to prevent a Nintendo gamer from seeing a curse word on the Internet is taking it too far and ruining their overall product. Now, with the announcement of this real online gaming network, it seems Nintendo has finally come to their senses. Granted, it comes a generation after console online gaming networks have pretty much figured out how to work well.
That’s what Nintendo does, though, implement standard features a generation late — using mini discs on the GameCube instead of DVDs, using DVDs on the Wii instead Blu-ray or some other high density form of storage media, refusing to implement HD graphics until the Wii U, and forcing the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection down poor Wii owner’s throats (myself included) while PS3 and Xbox 360 owners get their respective competent online services. It’s nice to see they at least realize their mistakes and do go ahead with implementing features their consoles should’ve had in a previous generation.
With this new network, Nintendo is attempting to build an online service on par with the PSN and Xbox Live, which would be great, especially if they don’t charge a usage fee like Xbox Live. The network is speculated to not only offer coherent online gameplay, but offer downloads of full games, add-ons, and other kinds of content, which would bring Nintendo’s online service into the modern era, albeit a generation late.
Perhaps most importantly, this would allow Nintendo to actually patch broken or buggy games, which is a humongous hassle to do with their current generation — so much so that Nintendo usually opts not to patch games and instead issues warning announcements to gamers on how to avoid the issue.
It’ll be great to see what Nintendo does with their upcoming network, and maybe now we can finally have a coherent online, ranked Smash Brothers experience.
- A cute, evil Nintendo Entertainment System monster papercraft
- Nintendo finally delves into paid DLC
- And also finally released the official Zelda timeline
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