More details have emerged on the Nintendo Network, Nintendo’s late-to-the-party networking service that will do for the company what XBox Live and PlayStation Network have done for Microsoft and Sony. During the company’s financial briefing, president Satoru Iwata announced that the network would be made available for Wii U and 3DS users.
The Nintendo Network will provide downloadable content for Wii U and 3DS games, with the company currently researching the move into digital sales of disc and cartridge-based titles.
Of Nintendo’s online philosophy, Iwata had this to say: “Unlike Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, which has been focused upon specific functionalities and concepts, we are aiming to establish a platform where various services available through the network for our consumers shall be connected via Nintendo Network service so that the company can make comprehensive proposals to consumers. For example, competitions and communication among users, as well as the sales of digital content, will be covered within the Nintendo Network.”
While the network would primarily host DLC for the company’s titles, Iwata confirmed that Theatrhythm Final Fantasy would be the first third-party title to offer add-on content in the form of additional rhythm-battle tracks. He also reassured investors that Nintendo would take great pains to avoid promoting “deceptive or randomized” DLC.
“Please note that Nintendo, as a software maker, does not plan to deploy businesses where our consumers cannot know in advance which item will appear as the result of their payment and they have to repeat the payments and, before they know it, they end up spending a huge amount of money in order to obtain the items they originally wanted to purchase,” said Iwata. “As a software maker, Nintendo believes that its packaged software should be sold to our consumers in a form so that the consumers will know in advance that they can enjoy playing the software they purchased just as it is.”
Nintendo is looking into selling “packaged software,” perhaps even full games, as downloads in the same manner as XBL and PSN. Said Iwata on the subject: “We are also considering the future possibility of digital distribution of packaged software, which is often referred to as ‘software download sales. This concept was built into the design of the Nintendo 3DS, and we already have the necessary infrastructure. We will prepare the same infrastructure for the Wii U. However, we have not decided the concrete timing of when we will start it. The decision must be made by taking into consideration such factors as the relationship with the wholesalers and retailers, and the best way to be embraced by consumers, as well as the environment surrounding the market and consumers, such as the required memory capacity on consumers’ SD memory cards. However, as an option for the future, the significance of this business field will increase.”
Wii U owners will also be able to have multiple Nintendo Network accounts on one system, meaning that games and user profiles won’t be tied directly to the hardware and can be transferred to other systems. Nintendo has promised more details on their network in the months preceeding the Wii U’s launch later this year.