Nintendo's Iwata: Social is "mandatory" for gaming
Even Nintendo is getting comfortable with social gaming
In a lengthy interview with Kotaku, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata explained that adding social features to titles is now "mandatory", even for single-player titles. Nintendo has already hinted at its social plans with the Miiverse platform launching with the Wii U.
"We have reached an era where even a single-player game experience [can] have a social component that is very important," Iwata told Kotaku. "And I think, again, that social component is mandatory."
"Early on, when I played a Mario game, it was really fun for me to sit and chat with my friends about, 'Hey I found coins over here, there's a hidden place.' That interaction was great," he said.
"Of course the Internet does provide a lot of that interaction, but it's not built for that purpose. For example, Facebook is something that connects you socially with a lot of different folks, but that doesn't guarantee that the people you are going to have interactions with via Facebook are interested in games. And what I'm saying is that I don't believe that the life experiences that you have-and those might be with the people you are connected with on Facebook-are not equal to the gaming experiences you might have with a lot of different folks."
And that's where Iwata believes Nintendo can shine with Miiverse.
"I feel that we need to create-or present-a gaming platform as the place to create that 'social graph' for folks who are in gaming circles, I guess. So that's kind of the reason for creating Miiverse," Iwata said.
"If you look at gaming services, for example if you look at Xbox Live, one of the more traditionally or generally accepted features of the gaming service is the ability to play with folks at different locations at the same time," he said. "On the other hand, you're not always going to be available at the same time to play with each other. And of course we're going to have that service of head-to-head [multiplayer, when you are] on at the same time playing games against each other, but what we really want to do is create a place where folks who are playing by themselves will not feel like they are playing by themselves. "
The Wii U is expected to be released sometime in the fourth quarter of 2012, but Nintendo has yet to provide a firm release date. The company has scheduled an event on September 13, where it's expected to announce a final price and release date for the system.