Nintendo has confirmed the forthcoming arrival of the Nintendo Network service, which will expand the company's online offering to Wii-U and 3DS owners.
The new service was confirmed and briefly discussed in a financial and corporate briefing yesterday. DLC will be available via the Network, and Nintendo president Satoru Iwata also suggested that full retail games may also eventually be available, as the infrastructure to deliver them is already in place.
"The Nintendo Network service is our network platform which will cover the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii-U," said Iwata.
"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."
The first game to use the Network for DLC purposes will be Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, released in Japan on February 16. Extra songs will be on sale for the rhythm action title.
In explaining the lack of certainty over full-price downloads via the system, Iwata recognised a number of factors affecting the timing.
"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.
"Also for the Wii U, we are planning to introduce a personal account system compatible with Nintendo Network. With this, for example, the ease of using a video game system when the hardware is shared by multiple family members, which has been a challenge we needed to tackle, shall be improved, and we will also be able to construct and offer the system by combining a variety of different services and content.
"Whether it's our first-party titles or third parties' titles, for a number of games, we will actively attempt to achieve compatibility so that our consumers can enjoy our online services that we will deploy under the name of the Nintendo Network."