miiverse


I'll get those Wii U owners an HD Zelda re-release. Wii U owners LOVE HD Zelda re-releases.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata used a direct-to-consumer Web video presentation today to talk about the company's near-future plans for the Wii U. While the presentation included many new details about the system's upcoming features and games, not many of those announcements could be considered very surprising.

On the features front, Iwata promised that the Wii U would be getting two new system updates in the spring and summer. These updates will include improvements to the Wii U's software launch times and faster switching between system menus, Iwata said. Those have been major gripes for Wii U users so far, but our tests found the loading times were actually comparable to launch titles for other systems.

Nintendo will also be bringing some important updates to the surprisingly robust and interesting Miiverse social networking service. These new features include a browser-based mobile interface, user-created community discussion threads, and a more-robust message filtering system, all of which should help make the service even more useful.

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My Wii U is full of people! And I can talk to them!

When we reviewed the Wii U earlier this week, we were forced to give it an “Incomplete” verdict, as we were waiting on a day-one system update that would unlock a large number of the system’s promised features. We spent a little over an hour downloading that update and a few more days tinkering with the new features it unlocked, so we can now report on how the Wii U handles some important functions aside from playing games.

The Nintendo Network experience

The Wii U represents Nintendo’s biggest push into the online space yet, and part of that push is replacing the inconvenient, frustrating, and game-specific Wii Friend Codes with a unified online infrastructure called the Nintendo Network ID. Signing up for an ID takes a few minutes and requires some very basic personal information (like an e-mail address). You can protect your ID with a password that’s required each time you use it, or set it up to log you in automatically every time you turn on the system.

Once you’re connected to the Nintendo Network, your Wii U home screen will fill up with Miis from around the world, gathering around large icons representing games and apps they’ve played. At first, this screen (known officially as WaraWara Plaza) was filled with preloaded robots from Nintendo talking excitedly about features like “System Settings.” By the next day, though, my plaza filled up with real people gathering around icons for games I owned and a few I didn’t. I can’t help but feel that Nintendo is using its plaza not just for expanded social networking, but also as a form of ad space for retail games.

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My Wii U is full of people! And I can talk to them!

When we reviewed the Wii U earlier this week, we were forced to give it an “Incomplete” verdict, as we were waiting on a day-one system update that would unlock a large number of the system’s promised features. We spent a little over an hour downloading that update and a few more days tinkering with the new features it unlocked, so we can now report on how the Wii U handles some important functions aside from playing games.

The Nintendo Network experience

The Wii U represents Nintendo’s biggest push into the online space yet, and part of that push is replacing the inconvenient, frustrating, and game-specific Wii Friend Codes with a unified online infrastructure called the Nintendo Network ID. Signing up for an ID takes a few minutes and requires some very basic personal information (like an e-mail address). You can protect your ID with a password that’s required each time you use it, or set it up to log you in automatically every time you turn on the system.

Once you’re connected to the Nintendo Network, your Wii U home screen will fill up with Miis from around the world, gathering around large icons representing games and apps they’ve played. At first, this screen (known officially as WaraWara Plaza) was filled with preloaded robots from Nintendo talking excitedly about features like “System Settings.” By the next day, though, my plaza filled up with real people gathering around icons for games I owned and a few I didn’t. I can’t help but feel that Nintendo is using its plaza not just for expanded social networking, but also as a form of ad space for retail games.

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While overall impressions of the Nintendo systems are mixed among gamers, one feature has been almost universally reviled: the company's use of "Friend Codes" to represent players. By requiring users to exchange 12-digit numeric codes just to send messages to friends—and often register game-specific codes to play certain games online together—Nintendo made online features a frustrating afterthought on its systems for years.

Nintendo is changing that around for the impending launch of the Wii U, replacing the system-assigned Friend Codes with a player-selected Nintendo Network ID. The company is also making it easier to connect with people you run in to while using the system online, opening up what was once a frustratingly closed system.

In a Nintendo Direct video message posted this morning, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata introduced the concept of the Nintendo Network ID. It will eventually serve as your online identifier across Nintendo systems and also on browser-based and smartphone apps. Users have to provide a date of birth, gender, general location, and e-mail address to get an account. While the video didn't go into detail about how usernames would be chosen, it appears that users will be able to use an alphanumeric Mii nickname to represent themselves online, along with a custom-made Mii character.

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Nintendo president Satoru Iwata holds the new Wii U controller design.

Promising that Nintendo's pre-E3 press conference on Tuesday will focus "almost entirely on games," company president Satoru Iwata used a streaming Web presentation today to announce new details about the unique tablet controller and social functions of the upcoming Wii U.

Iwata began a bit philosophically, showing a picture of a standard nuclear family sitting together in a living room, each member with their head buried in their own separate digital screens. "People are gathered together in the same room with friends and family, but they are not truly connected. They are paying more attention to their devices than each other."

Referencing Shelly Turkel's book Alone Together, he acknowledged that technology has improved our lives, but added that "we have to wonder what this will mean for the nature of human relationships moving forward."

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