Wii U online plan relies on publishers says Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime discussed the important role publishers will play in the Wii U online strategy in an interview with Forbes.

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In an interview with Forbes, Nintendo of America president and CEO Reggie Fils-Aime addressed questions about the newly announced Wii U, including the future for online play on the console. When asked whether it would be reasonable to expect an upgraded online system to launch with the Wii U he said:

We've said that the Wii U will have an extremely robust online experience. There will be other publishers talking about that as well, and from our perspective, we think it's much more compelling for that information to come from the publishers than to come from us.

But why would that strategy be more "compelling" to come from external partners? It appears Nintendo may be taking a hands-off approach to their online service. "Instead of a situation where a publisher has their own network and wants that to be the predominant platform, and having arguments with platform holders, we’re going to welcome that. We’re going to welcome that from the best and the brightest of the third party publishers," he added.

Though that approach may seem funny when compared to the emphasis Sony and Microsoft place on their respective PlayStation Network and Live services, Nintendo has shown itself to be shy about entering the online gaming space. Despite the landslide success of the Wii, its online capabilities remain hamstrung by awkward friend codes and the largely ignored Wii Speak voice chat peripheral. Relying on publishers to furnish the online services for Wii U games effectively keeps the whole issue of how gamers behave online at arms length for Nintendo, or so perhaps it expects.

Sony took a somewhat similar approach in the early days of its online presence, leading to labyrinthine registration systems such as the Konami ID system. Its multi-step process proved to be a hassle and potentially contributed to the tepid reception of Metal Gear Online.

Fils-Aime told Forbes that for the Wii U, Nintendo plans to create a flexible online system that allows publishers to whatever approach they consider best. While on the one hand that approach offers the opportunities of an open system, it also raises concerns that the online experience for Wii U could be fragmented. If that plan for the Wii U is to compete with the 360 and PS3 for core gamers, anything short of the amenities offered by their online services will put Nintendo's new machine at a competitive disadvantage.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 5, 2011 12:45 PM

    Garnett Lee posted a new article, Wii U online plan relies on publishers says Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime.

    Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime discussed the important role publishers will play in the Wii U online strategy in an interview with Forbes.

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      July 5, 2011 12:49 PM

      i can lol articles

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      July 5, 2011 12:52 PM

      If the underlying network is there and supported (voicechat, friends list, etc.) then I don't care if I have to go to a pub/dev portal to pick up their DLC. If it's completely dependent on 3rd parties though they're fucked.

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        July 5, 2011 12:55 PM

        It's pretty obvious where this is going :( I was really hoping they'd try to have some robust online gaming (nothing too fancy, basically voice chat, friends lists, and ability to invite/join games), but it seems like that isn't going to happen.

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          July 5, 2011 1:05 PM

          That's what it seems like, and is incredibly stupid of them to do this two generations in a row if so.

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        July 5, 2011 1:53 PM

        Sounds like it's more of "Online is handled by 3rd parties. So if parents want to sue someone regarding child predators online, we just forward them to the 3rd parties". Ie. Let them deal with the liability issues.

        I respect the decision (being super paranoid about being liable/ bad press) although I'm not sure I agree if its the best one for the company moving forward.

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          July 5, 2011 2:59 PM

          So Nintendo has finally gotten to the point where Sony was with the PS2. Leaving it up to the 3rd parties means a fractured online experience. I just laugh at Nintendo talking about getting back the core gamers. The WiiU and this crap online service will do nothng to pull them away from the PS and Xbox. Hope they can sucker all the casuals into buying another Wii cause thats all their going to get.

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        July 5, 2011 4:25 PM

        Thanks, Reggie! You keep making me more sure that passing on the Wii-U and 3DS is the smartest move. I have always loved Nintendo, but Reggie and the leadership sure are doing their best to make the company seem like a clueless port-factory.

        I love classic Nintendo games, but they sure don't seem to get that we want those AND we want new properties IN THAT SAME VEIN. There is a reason people keep asking about Pikmin and completely ignored Wii Music.

        This whole Operation Rainfall thing just cements that all this "courting the hardcore" talk is just lip-service.

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          July 5, 2011 4:33 PM

          Its amazing that the same company that brought such innovation with analog sticks, rumble, handheld gaming etc, could be so behind the times in the areas they are.

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      July 5, 2011 12:58 PM

      hahaha, nintendo

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      July 5, 2011 1:05 PM

      So....

      EA Network - $4.99/mo.
      Ubisoft Network - $4.99/mo.
      Square-Enix Network - $4.99/mo.

      ?

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        July 5, 2011 1:07 PM

        No, more like "EA Network: can see friends playing EA games and invite them to join you, but can't see anyone not playing an EA game"

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      July 5, 2011 1:08 PM

      Can't wait to create 100 more ubi and ea accounts to play whatever their newest game is because I forgot the password to the other 100 accounts I already created.

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      July 5, 2011 1:21 PM

      Come the fuck on Nintendo. >:(

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      July 5, 2011 1:25 PM

      Oh god seriously Nintendo... not surprised really

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      July 5, 2011 1:40 PM

      Why do they get so much love. They put out the same stuff over and over again, and refuse to improve upon their weakest areas.

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        July 5, 2011 2:05 PM

        Nintendo games are like crack, also, control wise they've been pretty innovative over the years.

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      July 5, 2011 2:05 PM

      It connects to the internet, streams Netflix -- what else matters? MS has locked up the users who want a premium service already.

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        July 5, 2011 2:10 PM

        No they haven't, and it doesn't need to be "premium" anyways. Just basic functionality like friends lists and a common api available for devs. They key is a consistent experience for online play. Think something more like the free service PSN offers. Only without the hacks.

        It really is a complete failure. Why even bother offering online play without this basic support?

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          July 5, 2011 2:14 PM

          I guess I can't see what you're talking about. I've played extensively online on all 3 systems and they all pretty much do what they need to IMO.

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            July 5, 2011 3:15 PM

            Uhhh ... you'd say that the Wii does what it needs to with Smash Bros?

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            July 5, 2011 3:37 PM

            erm, friend codes?

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      July 5, 2011 2:17 PM

      I'd actually turn my Wii on more often if I felt there was some chance I'd see a friend online and end up playing a game together. From what they're saying, it'd be almost impossible to have this occur casually on the Wii U. While the Wii makes it outright impossible, "almost" isn't much of an improvement.

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      July 5, 2011 2:30 PM

      [deleted]

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      July 5, 2011 3:09 PM

      Bummer. Looks like I'll be skipping on another Nintendo generation :(

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      July 5, 2011 4:30 PM

      Nintendo fascinates me. They really do. I am pretty sure Mr. Founder of Nintendo must have sold his first born to the devil to guarantee his company would succeed at selling playing cards or whatever they were doing in the 1800's, and then future generations carried on this tradition. Its the only way to explain how they can make decisions like they do and still succeed.

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      July 5, 2011 4:51 PM

      lets all play "2nd guess the most profitable of the 3 systems!"

      if being that rich is wrong, then nintendo doesnt wanna be right.

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        July 5, 2011 5:26 PM

        That has nothing to do with them being absolutely moronic about online support.

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      July 5, 2011 5:44 PM

      AAAAnnnddd this is why Vlave is interested.

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        July 5, 2011 5:45 PM

        ...Because they'll have more control over their product then what MS and Sony offer.

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      July 6, 2011 7:13 AM

      So, they don't want to invest in a big ass infrastructure so they leave it to pubs and call it "flexible". Gotcha.

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