By Tyler Lee
At a recent earnings briefing, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata announced Nintendo’s plans for their own online network to compete with Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. Known as the Nintendo Network, it will be compatible with the Wii U and the 3DS.
From the discussion, it appears that the Nintendo Network, like Xbox Live and PSN, will offer communication between users as well as the ability to purchase digital content. The community system featured in Mario Kart 7 was used as a sort of model for the Nintendo Network.
Unlike the WiFi system used by Nintendo now, accounts will no longer be based per system using friend codes and such, but instead will be based per user like Xbox Live and PSN. This set-up will make it easy for each household to have multiple accounts on one system, making it possible for multiple family members to utilize the same console.
The Nintendo Network will also offer downloadable content for packaged games available post-launch. Nintendo is also considering digital distribution for packaged titles, allowing players to download titles straight to their system rather than purchasing the retail copy. However, Iwata made it clear that Nintendo has no set time to start digital download sales at the moment.
Iwata has stated that the Wii U will be released this holiday season in an attempt "not to miss the critical year-end sales season." As for the 3DS, Iwata says Nintendo has "learned a bitter lesson from the launch of the Nintendo 3DS." It seems as though Nintendo is learning from the past as well as pushing towards the future. With this in mind, it will be interesting to see what other features and content will be offered with the new Nintendo Network.