Wii U to have ‘flexible’ online network

Wii U Console

We still have no clear details on the Wii U’s online system, but if Reggie’s words from a recent interview with Forbes are anything to go by, it’ll be anything but a unified, consistent experience.

Forbes: Your online services are very different than what your competitors offer. Isn’t something missing, that you can’t offer the sort of experience I can get on Xbox Live?

Reggie: I don’t think it is an issue for us, and here’s why. We’ve seen what our competitors have done, and we’ve acknowledged that we need to do more online, starting with the launch of our eShop on Nintendo 3DS, and we’re going to continue to build our online capability.

For Wii U, we’re going to take that one step further, and what we’re doing is creating a much more flexible system that will allow the best approaches by independent publishers to come to bear. So instead of a situation where a publisher has their own network and wants that to be the predominant platform, and having arguments with platform holders, we’re going to welcome that. We’re going to welcome that from the best and the brightest of the third party publishers.

Perhaps I’m jumping to conclusions, but this almost sounds like Reggie is saying “we don’t want to create a unified network experience, so we’re leaving it up to individual developers to create their own.” What I see here is that every major publisher will have its own network for its own games – perhaps the experience within all of EA’s games will be similar, but Ubisoft’s will be different. One publisher might support achievements, while another will have video chat. I hope they at least tie it all together with a friend code, but we’ve heard that those have been eradicated, too.

We’ve been promised an “extremely robust” online experience, but I’m losing more and more confidence that we’re really going to get one.

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Comments, Reactions, and General Hooliganism

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  1. Joseph

    So publishers can charge us to play online fore separate games if they want? All these bad Wii U news are drifting me away from the console.

    • Joseph

      for*

  2. hawthorneluke

    It doesn’t sound so bad to me.
    Nintendo have been told they suck at online an now they seem to of taken that into account and instead of this time again deciding on the whole system themselves and telling devs they must conform to it or whatever, they’re not restricting devs so much with their own system that they make good or most probably bad going from past experiences, but are letting the devs do what they want to with at little restrictions as possible.
    Must be a dream come true for devs by the sounds of it.

    I just hope it at least has one base set of functionality that runs throughout the entire system, no matter if you’re playing a game, or what game you may be playing that lets you know what your friends are doing and (video)chat with them and join their games etc and add friends from the games your playing and so on.

    • It is probably a dream come true for the developers, as each one will potentially be able to tailor the online experience the way they want it to be. But consumers like consistency and familiarity, so it sounds like it potentially might be somewhat hellish for the end user if every developer has its own idea of a “perfect” online experience. Restrictions aren’t always a bad thing, as they help to ensure consistency. I believe that’s what has made Xbox Live so popular, because you can expect the same great features in every online game.

    • hawthorneluke

      Yeah, which is why I’m hoping the consistency of user accounts and friend lists and the ability to communicate with them throughout the entire system will be there.
      Sad as it is though, up until now nintendo have shown they’re not so great at online, so at least probably even in the worst case, the wii u’s online should be better this way than it would be if nintendo handled it all themselves.

  3. Deuce

    I’m sure the developers will follow a general guideline as to how their networks would be. By giving developers their own ability to make their own online experiences, the responsibility of a decent online experience will fall on the developers as opposed to Nintendo itself. This makes it so that, say a developer wanted to limit the mature level of an online experience; well now they can just do it on their own. Same as for a developer who wants to have a mature level online experience for their games; they can just do it on their own. Individualized networks also have potential for greater online security; if one online gaming is hacked, it ideally won’t hamper every other single game’s online experience. As mentioned, every developer will therefore be responsible for their online experience; this would also include their security, so if their online is hacked, they will be responsible for it.

  4. SC7369

    There will have to be some sort of way to add your friend to a friends list other wise having separate friends lists for each companies/games online will be insane.

    I also think that having on that list what game your friend is playing so you can then send a message to them a notification would pop up on screen or a sound/light of some sort then you can arrange to play online other wise i think online play with friends will be a nightmare kind of how it is on the 3DS. As i don’t have any friends that i actually know in person on my 3DS friends list i can’t easily arrange to play with my online friends but a message system is a must have with the Wii U or it’s online network will just flop!