Nintendo’s Wii U online service will be free
Wants to get as many players online as possible
Exciting news emerged from Nintendo’s annual shareholders meeting this week – the online network service for Nintendo Wii U and 3DS won’t come with any kind of fee attached.
Nintendo knows its online sector needs work (indeed, Nintendo America just brought in a senior VP of network business), but have decided against using a paid subscription model such as that of Xbox Live.
According to translated comments from the meeting, CEO Satoru Iwata said that while the company had considered the idea of a paid online service, they felt that this would make it less attractive and thus limit the number of users.
The translation reads, “By having everyone use the Miiverse together, word of mouth will more easily spread. This will lead to greater hardware and software sales.”
The Wii U will launch in time for the US holiday season, and Nintendo is feeling confident, particularly with their third-party support, which they feel will be far greater than it was for the original Wii. Iwata mentioned in the meeting that “Nintendo started sharing information with third parties at about the same time as its internal teams,” also noting “Nintendo also holds seminars and dispatches employees to other companies.”
The original Wii had a blistering start due to its innovative new concept, but sales quickly fell off and traditional powerhouses Xbox and PS3 surpassed it. With better online support and some AAA games coming out of third parties, Wii U could have a more sustained success this generation. However, as we learnt with the 3DS, pricing is everything, and that will possibly have the biggest influence on the Wii U’s success.