Another item on the list of things we officially don’t know about Nintendo’s new system is how its online functionality will work. Traditionally somewhat wary of the whole online gaming thing, it is only fairly recently that the big N has started taking notice of the fact that gamers want to play its games online, and the ridiculous nature of having to input friend codes etc has led many people to question their ability to create and maintain an integrated online service.
It does appear however, that Satoru Iwata and Nintendo as a whole are putting a lot of thought into how online will work on the Wii U. The pre-E3 Nintendo Direct conference focused a lot on online features with everything from a hints and tips service provided by gamers to full video chat. One thing it seems we wont be seeing however is an Xbox Live-type paid service.
Andriasang has translated a recent shareholders meeting for Nintendo, where a shareholder asked Iwata about their online plans. The head of Nintendo responded by saying that they didn’t feel a paid membership service would be the best approach, but that he hasn’t necessarily rejected the idea. He also mentioned the possibility of other devices than Wii U connecting to the Nintendo network (presumably 3DS, but phones and tablet access have also been mentioned previously) and that he believed the concept of the Miiverse would allow for word of mouth between users to become important.
Iwata concluded the meeting by confirming that Japanese Wii U launch plans would be shared in the fall, presumably around the time of the Tokyo Games Show. Could we be seeing a Nintendo World conference this year?