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Iwata: Other online systems not suited for Nintendo’s approach, Miiverse is one new direction for Nintendo

Posted on June 13, 2012 by (@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, News, Wii U

Nintendo has a small dilemma on its hands when it comes to online gaming. It needs to create a service that appeals to core gamers while also making it accessible for its large casual userbase.

When it comes to online gaming on Wii U, president Satoru Iwata feels that the systems implemented into other “existing dedicated gaming platforms is not particularly well suited to the approach Nintendo has taken.” He also can’t admit that Nintendo has “quickly overcome or catch up to other companies” in the online space.

Iwata does, however, think that Nintendo has created its own original approach with Miiverse, and discussed some if its unique functionality in a Q&A meeting with investors at E3 2012 last week.

Nintendo’s strength in this area is that we have so many consumers all around the world who are familiar with our franchises and our software. And parents and grandparents view our products as good products to buy for their children and grandchildren without any concerns. We also think that it’s important that in such an environment, skilled game players and beginners are able to play together, and in a way that both parties come out with smiles on their faces.

On the other hand, though, I think that what we see in terms of online gaming networks on existing dedicated gaming platforms is not particularly well suited to the approach Nintendo has taken. Therefore, I can’t sit here and say to you that we can very quickly overcome or catch up to other companies, which began to work in the online field from many years ago and have been building these online networks on other platforms, and I don’t think that would be a smart strategy, either. We have been discussing what to do next under these circumstances and “Miiverse,” which I told you about in the pre-E3 Nintendo Direct presentation, is one of the new directions that Nintendo will be taking. We think that one fun area of possibility, as we have discussed, is for people not just to enjoy the games but also communicate with others about topics relating to the games. Even if they are in distant locations and not playing together in the same place or at the same time, they have an opportunity to “empathize” with one another. And we believe that the Mii characters that were born on the Wii console will become an important asset in achieving this.

We also believe that the “Miiverse” will serve the purpose of giving people an opportunity to discover other games that they haven’t yet started playing. In the “Miiverse” screen that appeared in Nintendo Direct, there were many Mii characters gathering around game icons, which I referred to as “Wara-wara,” and these icons will not be limited to only games that an individual consumer owns. We want to use this screen to show users who are satisfied by playing certain games that there is a high likelihood that they will also be interested in some other games that users are playing. In other words, please think that we have built an integrated recommendation engine into the Wii U system’s main menu screen. For the more casual users who do not play games frequently, they are less likely to go out and seek information about new games on their own accord. Therefore, we felt we needed a new way to try to reach out to them directly by helping them see what a suitable offering for them might be. Having said that, we would like the “Miiverse” to help users to enjoy games more, be a place for games that don’t have online play functions to still have an online network connection and become a tool for us to increase the tie ratio (the proportion of software sales units per hardware) for the hardware system.

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