The Wii U launch is nearing folks, and even though we know a ton about the console, there are still plenty of question marks, namely the way users will connect with each other online. Surprisingly, Nintendo has been taking their consoles online since 1995, far sooner than either Microsoft or Sony had even thought about making a gaming console. Click on through to take a tour of Nintendo’s foray into the world of online.
Super Famicom – Satellaview
Did you know that as far back as the mid-90′s, Nintendo was already toying with the idea of a connected console? The Satellaview system was developed by Nintendo as an add-on adapter for the Super Famicom. The adapter came bundled with an 8M Memory Pak and the BS-X Game Pak.
The Satellaview wasn’t exactly online as we know it today. There was no online multiplayer. There was no voice chat. You couldn’t even send a text message to other players. No, the Satellaview was all about delivering extra content to players on a TV broadcast-like schedule. Users could get on their Satellaview at certain times of day to download game episodes. Digital magazines and software versions of NES and SNES games were also broadcast every day, giving users extra content to play while waiting for the next episode of their favorite game.
Non-game content was also distributed through the Satellaview, such as digital versions of magazines, music, and comedic performances. Nintendo also released beta versions of upcoming student projects on the service.
Sadly, the Satellaview experiment was eventually discontinued. From April 23, 1995 to June 30, 2000, content was broadcast to the console via the BS network. Following a disagreement between St. GIGA (the company responsible for broadcasting the signals to the console) and Nintendo in April 1999, the partnership between the two companies ended causing Nintendo to drop support for the console. St. GIGA continued to broadcast without Nintendo until June of the following year, until it ceased to support the Satellaview at all.