Could the Nintendo Network actually be Nintendo’s answer to Xbox Live and PSN?

During Satoru Iwata’s latest financial briefing, the Nintendo president revealed a few interesting tidbits about Nintendo’s new console. First and formost, it looks like Nintendo is finally going to be taking online seriously with Wii U. The new online network that Nintendo has christened the ‘Nintendo Network’ will be far and away Nintendo’s most ambitious step towards really delivering a compelling place for gamers to game online.

While details about the new network are still scarce, Iwata has promised that with Wii U, personal accounts that will allow multiple user accounts per system will become a reality. This means that online profiles will no longer be system based. Whether that means each player will be given a friend code, or if an Xbox Live gamertag style system will be implemented remains to be seen.

Whispers of an external hard drive for the Wii system and claims of patents showed no fruit in 2011. Since the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 made their debut the users have been spending money buying one sata hard drive after another to save every exciting moment of game play and upgrade their system. Nintendo showed no signs of wavering from their flash memory. And why should they change? The resourceful Wii user had already found a hack to save all their games onto an external hard drive? Much to the dismay of the average Wii user, the little console that could wasn’t planning to jump into the hard drive era with the likes of it’s competitors.

Iwata also reiterated that paid add-on content in the form of DLC will be coming down the pipeline for Wii U and 3DS. While we already knew that games like Theatrhythm Final Fantasy would allow players to purchase new songs as DLC, this is the first time Iwata has commented on how Nintendo would like to use the technology. In addition to DLC, Nintendo has shown interest in providing the digital distribution of full retail games. Nintendo has stated that they will be taking into consideration their relationship with retailers however, because you don’t want to piss off Gamestop after-all.

The biggest take away out of all this seem to be that Nintendo is finally wisening up and stepping up their online presence. For too long Nintendo has promised to offer online functionality that would rival that of Xbox Live and PSN, but have fallen far short of the target. If all of these plans come to fruition, it looks like the Big N will finally be able to stand toe to toe with the likes of Sony and Microsoft in the online arena, and stand a fighting chance.

5 Responses to Could the Nintendo Network actually be Nintendo’s answer to Xbox Live and PSN?

  1. Mohan says:

    God, I sure hope so!

  2. Richard says:

    If Nintendo would sell full retail games as downloads…and especially if they reduce the price to 30 dollars and less as a result of saving on manufacturing…I’d buy a lot more games.

  3. monkat says:

    Call me a pessimist if you must, but past forays tell me that they still haven’t figured out online retailing. They will continue to treat their online services, as a content publisher, as something for “Enjoy Your Massage!”, and ignore the potential of throwing some good-but-risky ideas onto it for cheap. They will, at best, create a system that rivals XBLA, while Microsoft pushes further with the next iteration. They will fail to take the dollar-metrics of PC digital distribution into account, and continue to view sales as a “first-week-million-or-bust” thing, and keep download versions at $60 many years down the road.

    Do I have a lack of faith? Sure. Is it a tad biased? I suppose. Has Nintendo given me a single reason to believe that they will make any advancement in the world of online service and retail? Not a one.

  4. Hyawatta says:

    Digital Distribution of Retail 3DS & Wii U Games: Need Ideas

    “…we already have the necessary infrastructure to digitally distribute the software on a scale as large as the packaged software. We can start it as soon as we decide to do so.”

    “As for the actual digital distribution method, we need to consider what kind of cooperation we can make with wholesalers and retailers, but we think that there must be various solutions other than just positioning digital distribution as an enemy to them. Upon close consultation with them, we would like to determine the details of our digital distribution.”

    “…there must be a solution other than positioning digital distribution as an enemy to wholesalers and retailers.” – Satoru Iwata

    This is of key importance. Does anyone have any ideas on how to solve this problem? Are there any other companies out there that are already implementing a solution to this? This problem is all that’s standing in our way of getting to download retail games right now. The sooner this gets solved, the sooner we get to stop lugging our physical carts around with us everywhere.

    Here’s an idea just to get the ball rolling:

    Allow the retailers to sell download codes or items, such as figures or cards, which use NFC to act as download codes. This way, retailers can also sell the digital versions of the retail games. I do not think it would be fair to Nintendo if the retailers were the only ones allowed to sell the digital content, though. Nintendo should still be able to sell the digital versions of the retail games directly from the eShop on the 3DS and Wii U. The price of the digital versions should be lower than the physical versions, but that is ok because the retailers can still sell the cheaper digital versions anyway. Just make sure that the prices of the digital versions are still the same from the retailer and from Nintendo’s eShop.

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