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.

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Latest comments (11)

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd5 years ago
"Even Nintendo?" Nintendo has been built, even since the 80s, around social gaming. The Legend of Zelda gave you no clues as to how you should progress because Miyamoto wanted people to talk about it with their friends and figure out how to move forward together. Pokemon was a social and multiplayer gaming revolution. The Wii was a renaissance for socializing while playing games.

You act like Nintendo is going "me too!" by adding social features to their online functionality, but if anything it's more natural for Nintendo than it is for Microsoft and Sony, who by the way have very little actual "social" integration. Yes, you can group with your friends and play games, but this sort of social network integrated as part of the experience is something neither of them are even trying (at least not yet).
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 5 years ago
Totally agree Nick. How many friends have socialised over Mario Kart? I'd like to hear that statistic.... 83% perhaps?
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
All that and "social" gaming has been around since people started playing games together. I'm for more "anti-social" networking myself, as I don't give a hoot who scored what in whatever, nor do I want to share what I'm playing, watching or reading with everyone because it's cool or trendy or whatever...
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Show all comments (11)
Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 5 years ago
Qbasic Killer Gorilla is where it's at Greg ;-)
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 5 years ago
Secret of Mana - cooperative - social. :)
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James Wells Gaming Contributor - 5 years ago
Please take your "Fanboy" hats off, folks... The article was referring to "social" as an online component for socializing and information sharing, along the lines of Facebook, Twitter or FourSquare, not social as" a bunch of people gathered around a single TV" or "a bunch of kids spreading rumors about Castlevania 2 or Mortal Kombat on the playground during recess."
In that regard, yes, Nintendo is in fact the last to put any sort of framework like that in place. Can you currently see what your friends are doing/playing while you're playing Wii? Even that (now- rudimentary) functionality came standard when Xbox 360 and PS3 launched 6-7 years ago now.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Wells on 27th August 2012 5:07pm

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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd5 years ago
@ James No, they aren't. It's you who didn't understand the type of social Iwata was referring to in this article, which was the ability to discuss and share your gaming experiences even in games without online multiplayer.

What you're talking about is online multiplayer, which isn't the same as social gaming (though can be an aspect of social gaming). Microsoft and Sony have no actual social tools built into their systems, as of this moment. You can log into Facebook on Xbox 360, and you can play with your friends on Xbox Live, but there's no actual social interaction outside of playing the games themselves, which is what Iwata is referring to. Well, that's not entirely true. Xbox Live Parties are social (and only useable if everyone is online), but Sony has nothing of the sort.

Also, please don't resort to childish insults. This is not a standard gaming site. This is an industry site. Go somewhere else if you're going to act like that. There are dozens of sites on the internet where you can call people fanboys and argue. Let this site be for actual discussion.
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>"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. "

Seems that Nintendo has been doing a lot of 'talking' about what consoles need, this coming after the disaster of E3'12. Topics that Nintendo management would not even have given lip service nine months ago, now seem to be receiving passionate defense! This sudden reversal of approach shows how worried the 'big Mario' is too the investor concern on the strategy and business style exhibited by the aging Nintendo top-table. A group of individuals that actively blocked consideration of online support for their consoles has suddenly received a major change of heart!!

As seen at Nintendo US/UK; I just wonder how many of these executives will survive the launch of the Wii-U - and just how long the proposed Gen-7+ console will stay relevant when launched, especially now that Sony and Microsoft have drastically re-designed their hardware designs to support a more DLC approach, is another matter!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by kevin williams on 27th August 2012 6:18pm

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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 5 years ago
Anytime anyone says anything is "mandatory" they are exerting topdown command.

Topdown command is lethal to creativity.
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 5 years ago
@Kevin: I see it like this. Nintendo will only do something if they can do it in an original Nintendo-style way. This is why they have been so resistant to copying the online systems of competitors. I think that now they have found a way to do it, they will open the flood gates.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 5 years ago
Social is really difficult to do. And incredibly difficult to do well.
Making the social component compelling and not just a tedious add on is a big hurdle for developers.
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