Nintendo’s decision to broadcast a video demo of the Wii U ‘concept’ laid bare its online plan for the new console earlier today.
Company president Satoru Iwata told viewers that Nintendo wants to create tech that can unite people, not separate them. He referenced the business book ‘Alone Together’ which is about how multi-screen consumption is pushing people apart.
He said: New technology made life easier and more efficient but we have to wonder what this means for the nature of human relationships moving forward."
To support this, Nintendo’s online services for Wii U have been beefed up considerably – and all built around the idea of users connecting and sharing.
Specific features are:
When you turn the Wii U on or turn it off, Iwata explained, this is what you see. An expanded Wii Plaza that shows scores of Miis from around the world connecting and interacting and sharing their achievements.
Iwata said the service could create "a new degree of empathy between players", and "connect you to friends and family around the world".
Technically, Miiverse runs as a social layer over the top of other Wii U software, and can be loaded up during gameplay.
A concept video showed a gamer struggling with a game, and using an element of the Miiverse to check other players’ progress and opinions on the content. The player was encouraged to share his experiences with other players.
Nintendo to launch Miiverse web apps
Miiverse will be supported on the Wii U of course, plus 3DS too and, teasingly ‘other Nintendo hardware’.
But it will also be accessible via a web browser and any mobile platform that has a browser.
Extra community functions
Nintendo has clearly learned a lot from one of 3DS’ most acclaimed elements – StreetPass.
Miiverse allows players enjoying the same game to exchange notes and messages, and even shows achievements and accomplishments.
The demo showed a map from New Super Mario Bros overlaid with various other players’ comments, progress and success.