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Drakengard avatar 9:41 PM on 07.05.2011
Wii U Online: Not Unified but 'Flexible'?


I'm betting you've heard that news about a new Nintendo console. Not sure why, but I'm just going to go on the assumption that you know the name is the 'Wii U' as well.

But since that ever so slightly confusing and, perhaps, even a little misleading conference (depends on your view of the use of 360 and PS3 in game footage as a benchmark for eventual titles) the only news that seems to have come out has been a bit of a downer for the up coming Nintendo Wii successor.

Don't get me wrong. If you desire your Mario, Zelda, Metroid and Pikmin than I'm sure you'll still run out and buy the console though I'd suggest waiting until Nintendo actually puts software out worth owning (like people are smartly doing with the 3DS). But the news of using a proprietary disc format, the fact that each Wii U only supports (rumored at least) one of those fancy controllers and not including a hard drive... Well, let's just call me less than thrilled by those particular reveals for Nintendo's attempted foray back into the hearts of the core gamer.

But now it would seem that Nintendo isn't really serious at all to win back the core gamers especially from an online perspective. If a Joystiq article on the matter holds any water, don't expect a unified account. Nope. Rather you should anticipate juggling possibly any number of accounts with publishers and developers in order to enjoy your online functionality. Makes me think back to our good friend Jim Sterling's criticism of EA entering the digital distribution realm and it really should make you nervous if not a little angry.

If this really happens the way that our minds pretty much have to process the available information, wow Nintendo... Just wow... Do you not want people to buy your system and it's games? Do you not have any concept of a proper online service? You're a huge company with an amazing legacy of creating some of the most well known games and characters in existence, but you can't look at reality and implement a logical unified system for your consumer base? You know, that system that has worked wonderfully across both Live and PSN while your first foray with Friend Cods sucked?

No one wants to have to remember a slew of accounts and passwords just so they can play their games with their friends. So either this keeps most people away from the Wii U, or people just throw security to the wind and use the same username and password for all of their stuff and just pray that no one hacks the information from some insecure server. And God forbid if people start stealing user names from game to game, turning it into a dash to who can claim a name first. That will definitely be fun for people. I have to admit that I'm astounded that Nintendo has actually managed to make Friend Codes sound like a good idea. Hell, maybe that's what this whole plan is.

But seriously, Nintendo? So you don't want to localize games for the core who really want them and have gone out of their way to write letters that aren't just asking but begging you bring certain titles over. And now you don't want to move into the modern era and make a functional online system. I'm seriously beginning to believe that if the Wii hadn't manged to gimmick itself to success to millions of non-gamers that Nintendo as a console hardware provider would be no more. Say what you want about Sony copying other successful features and devices. At least they're quick to add features that the market demands and actually allow other people to publish games that they don't want to bring over such as Demon's Souls.

Are you trying to fail Nintendo? Is this a game of chicken to see how much you can do wrong and yet still make money off of people? Because if you are, Nintendo, well, you might want to look out for that cliff edge. You're treading pretty darn close right now. Careful you don't completely throw yourself off it.


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