Introducing the Nintendo Network
Nintendo Answers PSN and XBL
Nintendo have today revealed their online network which will power the Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo 3DS in the foreseeable future. Speaking at Nintendo’s Third Quarter Financial Results Briefing, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata ended the briefing by talking about the new network service from Nintendo.
“As those of you who have enjoyed playing “Mario Kart 7” that we launched late last year should know, its online competition mode includes the system called “Communities.” Each player can create his or her own online “Community” and decide the rules and conditions of the races to be conducted there, and anyone who enters the designated “Community number,” can join to enjoy the matches there. With that system, the company is offering a new kind of network service, which is different from the network services Nintendo has been offering under the name of Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. For “Mario Kart 7,” we have already started using the name of this new network service…
…“Nintendo Network” Service.”
“The Nintendo Network service is our network platform which will cover the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U. Unlike Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, which has been focused upon specific functionalities and concepts, we are aiming to establish a platform where various services available through the network for our consumers shall be connected via Nintendo Network service so that the company can make comprehensive proposals to consumers. For example, competitions and communication among users, as well as the sales of digital content, will be covered within the Nintendo Network.”
Iwata went on to say, “The “Community” matches of “Mario Kart 7” that I have just referred to is one example. As for the sales of downloadable add-on content, Nintendo has already started the download sales to the owners of the Nintendo 3DS (in Japan). As for the download sales of add-on content for packaged software, it is expected that “THEATRHYTHM FINAL FANTASY,” which is scheduled to be launched on February 16 by Square Enix Co., Ltd. is going to be the first software title for which applicable music will be sold by Square Enix as downloadable add-on content.”
Iwata dismissed the idea of subscription based payments for downloadable content – “While we are on this subject, when we discuss anything relating to add-on content, our remarks are very often reported by the media by their attaching such modifiers or notes as “the ones used for social games. Please note that Nintendo, as a software maker, does not plan to deploy businesses where our consumers cannot know in advance which item will appear as the result of their payment and they have to repeat the payments and, before they know it, they end up spending a huge amount of money in order to obtain the items they originally wanted to purchase. As a software maker, Nintendo believes that its packaged software should be sold to our consumers in a form so that the consumers will know in advance that they can enjoy playing the software they purchased just as it is. We believe that our consumers will be able to feel more secure if we offer our add-on content as an additional structure in which those who love the game will be able to enjoy it in a deeper way for a prolonged play time.”
Iwata revealed that digital software downloads will be coming to the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS: “For the digital sales of the content, we are also considering the future possibility of digital distribution of packaged software, which is often referred to as “software download sales. This concept was built into the design of the Nintendo 3DS, and we already have the necessary infrastructure. We will prepare the same infrastructure for the Wii U. However, we have not decided the concrete timing of when we will start it. The decision must be made by taking into consideration such factors as the relationship with the wholesalers and retailers, and the best way to be embraced by consumers, as well as the environment surrounding the market and consumers, such as the required memory capacity on consumers’ SD memory cards. However, as an option for the future, the significance of this business field will increase.”
In regards to Nintendo offering a PSN ID or Xbox LIVE Gamertag, Iwata said, “Also for the Wii U, we are planning to introduce a personal account system compatible with Nintendo Network. With this, for example, the ease of using a video game system when the hardware is shared by multiple family members, which has been a challenge we needed to tackle, shall be improved, and we will also be able to construct and offer the system by combining a variety of different services and content. Whether it’s our first-party titles or third parties’ titles, for a number of games, we will actively attempt to achieve compatibility so that our consumers can enjoy our online services that we will deploy under the name of the Nintendo Network.”
Will the Nintendo Network be able to compete with the more established online services of Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation Network? Only time will tell however the its refreshing to see that Nintendo are taking their online integration for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS very seriously.