Nintendo Network: It’s About Time

Nintendo Network Promises Wii U and 3DS Unified Online Service

It’s been a (god)damn long time coming, but Nintendo has finally decided to join the rest of us in the 21st century tradition of having an online gaming network with actual, individualized user accounts. I know, scary, right? In their (apparently traumatic) conference call outlining the company’s (lack of) earnings in Fiscal Year 2011, company president Satoru Iwata revealed the first details of the Nintendo Network, elements of which are now enabled in the company’s 3DS portable system, with additional capabilities slated to come online at some future date. Among the more interesting details are some familiar (just not to Nintendo) features. Click on past the break to find out what they are!

Among the new features to be offered by the new Nintendo Network are:

  • Communities (already implemented in the new Mario Kart 7 on 3DS)
  • Add-on Content Sales (Woot! I think…)
  • Digital Distribution of Full Retail Games
  • Personal accounts for Wii U console gamers
  • NFC Payment hardware built into Wii U controller(!)

While all of these are good news for gamers and should do a lot to alleviate some of Nintendo’s more obvious omissions from the current generation, I still have to wonder why it took them so long to realize that these basic features truly are a staple of console gaming this generation. When they announced the original Wii would include Wifi right out of the box–a feature that even the more expensive Xbox 360 didn’t offer at the time–it seemed likely that Nintendo was ready to join the internet generation wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, as we all know, the best we got was Wiiware, a poorly organized shop that remains difficult to navigate and purchase content from (though it is home to several truly excellent titles, in fairness).

Hopefully, we’ll finally see at least a modicum of feature parity with Sony and Microsoft in Nintendo’s upcoming console; at the very least, today’s revelations about the Nintendo Network are good reason to have some hope!

Source: Nintendo

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