Feature: 6 Things Wii U Must Do To Capture Online

Written by Mark Lee

It is early days no doubt but Nintendo have set up their stall nicely with Wii U stating that the aim is to appeal to both the Wii crowd and the U crowd. Clearly U is defined as the hardcore, long-time gamer that at some point have probably considered or actually bought another console from Sony or Microsoft.

So you may have experienced what is available right now on other machines. You may have seen what XBox Live and SONY's Playstation Network function like, yet how can Nintendo match, and even out-do these services?

We hazard a guess...

1) Free Online:

Nintendo are all about accessibility so free online gaming should be standard. Having stated that they are taking a flexible approach to online gaming could mean that they take a SONY approach where "Plus" account users have access to exclusive content. Could Nintendo take this route? Perhaps, there is certainly money to be made this way as Micosoft have shown with their LIVE setup. But when looking at future Call of Duty titles and the subscription model Activision have lined up, online gaming could become a very flexible world indeed where some games are free yet others have a fee attached. It will be interesting to see how Nintendo, notorious for breeding cash cows, approach the future of online gaming.

2) Downloads:

Damnit Nintendo, as much as I love your 3DS shop, the fact that I can't download multiple titles at once is a royal pain. I don't see why gamers shouldn't be able to simultaneously download as much content as they want. Fix it Nintendo. I want to game and download demos/wiiware/3DS videos all at the same time.

Let me manage my downloads on the screen whilst gaming.

3) User Account:

It sounded so simple but in practice the Wii friend code system became a joke. Not until later on in the Wii's lifetime did things become a little easier for online gamers. Hopefully Nintendo have seen the light, and with the 3DS sporting a universal friend code across all titles, things are looking up. Now just let me have multiple system accounts and the ability to add gamers who I've met online and we can be happy.

Talking about the Wii U's online mode, Adrian Blunt from Ubisoft said "Rather than a machine having an account, each individual user has an account." When pushed further, and specifically asked by MTV if this would be like a gamertag, a handle, or username you create in order to use Xbox Live,� Blunt replied "Yeah, exactly".

A sign of things to come? There is NO reason that this shouldn't be the case Nintendo.

4) Social Content:

If you're going to have a system that has a strong online focus then the games must allow me to integrate my online networks. Whether this is Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube or whatever else comes down the line, Nintendo seem to have one eye on the ball here. Infact, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata recently held an investors briefing to discuss the Wii U, and offered tentative information on how the Wii U will connect to online networks.

"I think we've come to an era where it's important to consider how the social graph of the social networking services can work in conjunction with something like a video game platform." Iwata said, "[Next time we show the Wii U], perhaps you'll notice that we have found ways to take advantage of these types of features like VoIP and social networking, where our systems have been seen as being weak in the past."

I'm sure we would all love the option to share our Mario Kart lap times on social forums or upload Smash Bros. fights straight onto YouTube.

5) Cross-game voice chat:

Something that XBox users have long held over PS3 users is the simplicity of talking to their gaming friends across games. This feature is a must if Nintendo are to show that they are approaching online gaming as a social, accessible feature. Let me invite gamers playing Zelda into my Killer Freaks multiplayer match by simply pulling up their details on my WiiU controller and voice/video calling them.

Fancy some online Killer Freaks?

6) Speed:

If there's one thing that could kill Nintendo's online setup before it gets started it would be the infrastructure behind it. Remember playing Smash Bros. Brawl online? Sadly, so do we. Nintendo seem to have learnt from that as many titles since have gone on to play as well as expected. Let's just hope that they can increase the speed of their downloads. Heck, I can download iPhone games faster than a NES classic when comparing Apple's App Store against the Virtual Console. Things must improve here Nintendo.

So we've started the ball rolling with six things we think Nintendo need to do to force themselves onto the world of online gaming like never before. But have we missed anything out? Want to see Wii Speak make a return or do you want a medal/achievement system in place? Let us know what you want and why via your comments below!

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