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Nintendo Vows to Improve Online Offerings

Nintendo CEO Saturo Iwata and Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime both spoke up during E3 2010 on the company's future plans for improving online support and digital distribution while addressing the common opinion that, as Iwata put it, "Nintendo's online functionality is behind the others or is lacking in some ways"

"We are not currently satisfied with the online efforts that we have made so far, and we are working at ways to improve those," said Iwata during an E3 Q&A session.

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However, Iwata explains that "I do not think that online functionality is something that we should be devoting resources to for every single product. Instead, I think that Nintendo's ability to create an offline experience that feels incredibly unique and compelling is a particular strength that we have."

Going forward, what we will continue to do is to evaluate the individual products and experience that we're creating on a product-by-product basis, and make a decision as to whether or not it's more important to devote resources to making that offline experience more fun and compelling for products where that is going to be the most important element of the game play; and then for products where it is going to be more important, to add online functionality and make that online functionality robust and compelling. We will continue to focus our efforts there when it's appropriate, but it's going to be a product-by-product decision.

Fils-Aime shared similar sentiments on the current state of Nintendo's online offerings, telling Industry Gamers during E3 that "the digital area is an area where we can improve, and we've made a commitment to dramatically improve in that area," aiming "to make the consumer say 'wow' in the end."

"What that looks like I can just about guarantee is unlike anything that our competitors have done to date. The reason for that is it wouldn't be innovative, it wouldn't be distinctive, and therefore, it wouldn't be Nintendo. Our approach will be to enable the consumer to discover our digital content much more easily. Our focus will be to have a range of digital content that is compelling for the consumer."

While Iwata was similarly vague on what this will entail, he did hint oh so heavily that the Nintendo 3DS's digital distribution will very likely be "very new and fresh compared to what we have done with Nintendo DSi" and its DSiWare.

"I can't go into detail on what the plans are today, but of course, with a device like Nintendo 3DS, we do intend to offer some type of digital distribution. What I can say is that if that type of digital distribution is not something that is very new and fresh compared to what we have done with Nintendo DSi, then I think we're going to have a hard time reaching out beyond the audience that actively seeks out that type of digital content."

The Nintendo 3DS is due out in all Nintendo's "major markets" by April 2011.