Nintendo has revealed the first details of Nintendo Network - the platform holder's answer to Xbox Live and PSN.
The online platform will replace the current Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service and will work across 3DS and Wii U. Foundations have already been laid – the phrase was first used in 3DS title Mario Kart 7, which featured clan support under the term Communities.
While the previous service handled online modes for each title individually, it is understood that Nintendo Network will be a more unified platform.
It will be used to allow players to communicate, enter competitions and buy DLC. This will cover both first and third-party titles. In fact, two 3DS titles – Nintendo's Tobidasu Pricla Kiradeco Revolution and Square Enix's Theatrhythm – will be the first titles to offer DLC in the next few months.
Nintendo is also "considering the future possibility of digital distribution of packaged software". 3DS is already capable of this, and Nintendo plans to introduce this to Wii U - although it is currently not sure if this will be available at launch.
During a financial briefing to investors, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said: "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."
Iwata went onto add that Nintendo is planning to introduce personal accounts on Wii U, similar to the gamertags found on Xbox 360 and PS3.
"With this, 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."