Wii U online service won't come with a fee

Satoru Iwata said Nintendo evaluated Xbox Live-like subscription but decided against it

Nintendo held its annual shareholder's meeting this week, and one of the topics raised in the discussion was how Nintendo would approach its online network for Wii U and 3DS. Nintendo is aware that it needs to do more to bolster its online offerings, which is why Nintendo of America just hired a senior vp of network business, but the company feels that charging online users is the wrong approach.

According to a translation (by Andriasang) of comments made at the meeting, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata noted that Nintendo did think about the idea of a paid online service similar to Microsoft's popular Xbox Live but ultimately the company decided it would limit the number of online users Nintendo would attract.

Keeping the online service open and free, and "by having everyone use the Miiverse together, word of mouth will more easily spread. This will lead to greater hardware and software sales," reads the translation.

Wii U launches this holiday season, and Nintendo has high hopes for much better third-party support than the company saw with Wii. In fact, Iwata mentioned that "Nintendo started sharing information with third parties at about the same time as its internal teams" and "Nintendo also holds seminars and dispatches employees to other companies."

A solid online offering and robust third-party support could go a long way towards making Wii U a success. The key piece of information the industry is waiting on, however, is how much Wii U will retail for. That will be a critical factor for Nintendo's success.

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Latest comments (5)

Lost in translation - as soon as the market demands greater revenue and a return to profit then subscription shall be the aim. And like all of the promises about the 3DS that never appeared, then his comments about no subscription will be just a "translation error!"
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
Kevin, this has been Nintendo stance on online services since the GC.

And revenue is never their problem.

And what promises on the 3DS did they fail to deliver upon?
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Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange9 years ago
As far as I know, the only promise they haven't kept for the 3DS is to have Nintendo video accessible for all territories. Right now there are a lot of loyal customers missing out on this feature. They have the app but can't use it due to some sort of IP block (due to region specific content).
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 9 years ago
Eh, who wants to watch video on the 3DS anyway? The resolution isn't great compared to other, better (and more video-focused) portable devices and while a good idea, Nintendo really doesn't need to have it to be successful. hell, did anyone buy a 3DS primarily for video or was this somewhere in their top five reasons for wanting one? I hope not...
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.9 years ago
I agree, Greg.

But I do love Dinosaur Office in 3D.
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