Opinion: The Enduring Enigma Of The Nintendo Network
With the Wii U’s launch on the horizon it is perhaps a little bemusing that so many third party publishers and developers remain in the dark about the Nintendo Network.
It remains the biggest mystery surrounding the Wii U; just how will the Nintendo Network actually work? Nobody seems to know; journalists, developers, perhaps even Nintendo themselves don’t know! It is a worry considering the launch is next month!
We’ve heard a lot about the MiiVerse and how it will be used as a dedicated Nintendo gamer social network but Nintendo have been decisively tight-lipped about the Nintendo Network itself. Naturally this isn’t a problem for titles such as New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo Land or ZombiU, but for those games that have a large online multiplayer following like Call of Duty Black Ops 2, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and FIFA 13 this benightedness is very troubling indeed for both the developers and the gamers themselves.
People may be thinking about purchasing a copy of Call of Duty Black Ops 2 for example but may well be put off because of the lack of clarity surrounding online play. If they’re put off, the developers won’t make the sale and lose out on their hard-work; and the last time I checked, they’re not too keen on that.
In an interview with Polygon, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg revealed he does want to bring as much content to the Wii U as possible, including compatibility with the full suite of Elite services, the Season Pass and individual Map Packs, but he is not sure how Nintendo’s online network will actually work.
“The honest answer here, Chris, is that we’re still working out the details with Nintendo”
This is incredibly worrying. The CEO of a major launch partner appears to be clueless about something so very vital to one of his biggest franchises. It has since been confirmed that the Elite service will indeed be made available free of charge on other consoles but the uncertainty surrounding Nintendo’s online capabilities still remains.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2′s director Katsuhiro Harada also appeared to have concerns last month when he was asked about how the Wii U’s online infrastructure compares to that offered by the other consoles:
“Not quite sure at this point. I don’t fully understand it. We’re still working with Nintendo to find out about their network.”
Harada’s uncertainty must be unsettling for the development team and publisher Namco Bandai who have four titles available on launch day.
It’s definitely worrisome that so many different people seem to be in the dark on this issue and it isn’t overly reassuring for gamers hoping to get a good online experience from Nintendo’s new console.
It’s imperative for Nintendo to address this ongoing issue with developers as soon as possible. Many people have questioned whether Nintendo will be able to keep the current third party support; if they intend on doing so they must reassure them that the Wii U’s online capabilities are vast, solid, competitive and most importantly reliable.