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Nintendo's Fils-Aime talks Wii U's online future

New console will have a "flexible" and "robust" online platform

Nintendo of America president and chief operating officer Reggie Fils-Aime has revealed more about the company's online strategy for its new console, the Wii U.

In an interview with Forbes, Fils-Aime acknowledged that Nintendo needed to do more to increase its online presence with its new console.

"What we’re doing is creating a much more flexible system that will allow the best approaches by independent publishers to come to bear," he promised.

"So 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 also said the Wii U would have "an extremely robust online experience," and that he wanted third party publishers to be the ones talking about it. "We think it’s much more compelling for that information to come from the publishers than to come from us."

Fils-Aime wasn't afraid to address the problem of marketing both the Wii and the Wii U simultaneously.

"Even though the Wii software is backward compatible to Wii U, the branding will be a little bit different, the messaging will be a little bit different. I think we’ve had enough experiences separating out consoles in a transitional period to make that happen."

He was equally confident about the company's focus on a new controller when competitors like Microsoft were pushing hands free gaming with Kinect. "This is not the first time that Nintendo and our competitors have had dramatically different views on the future of gaming."

The Wii U was announced at E3 this year, and sports a unique tablet style controller which streams content from the console. It will feature 1080p high-definition graphics, a multi-core 45 nm microprocessor and will be fully backwards compatible with Wii games and peripherals.

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Latest comments (6)

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game5 years ago
So what he's presumably getting at is that the Wii store was so half assed, that they may as well let (for example) EA put origin on the service with Nintendo just taking the same cut as at retail), keeping EA happy, and bypassing Nintendo having to get their online act together? Or have I totally missed the point?
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Wesley Williams Quality Assurance 5 years ago
You haven't missed the point Andrew and just think, Steam on Wii U could be a possibility!
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Rick Cody PBnGames-Board Member 5 years ago
That semi-brilliant on Nintendo's part. The major concern though is fragmentation. Steam, Origin, Direct2Drive, maybe even OnLive and Gaikai playing through Wii U would create a huge obstacle for consumers. How can they band all of the content together in a way that's conveniences the customer and appeases third-party publishers.
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 5 years ago
I don't know... it's slight evil genius in making your platform the fighting ground for 3rd party online systems. All I can hope is that Nintendo really facilitate these people. It will be a pretty bad situation if these online systems aren't working at their absolute best on Wii U.

But you have to ask yourself, will the lack of constraints lead to something good for the consumer? I don't want a different password and system for each publisher. That's like have 10 different XBLs on one console. It might well be a nightmare.

Unless there is an underlying account based in the Wii U that allows people to easily access all online systems and buddy up easily. I'll be interested to see how this pans out.
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This sounds to me that Nintendo is doing everything possible to appease *EA*, more than any other specific publishers. Not that anything is wrong with that...

After all, this is one of the really big sticking points between EA (and possibly other devs - Activision?) and Microsoft, with the way that online/content is controlled.

This also links in with the changes Nintendo are making to Wii accounts - they would have their own service, which is one of several available on the WiiU.

Actually, if they *really* open it up it could be a great way of getting heaps of content on the console - rather than relaunching every existing game for the WiiU Shop, another already existing digital store launches on the console. Hmmm...
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Shane Sweeney Academic 5 years ago
This is the way it should be. Consoles should encourage a competitive space between third parties online distribution. Its a little more chaotic but in the long run its better for everyone.
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