Nintendo Reveal New Online Infrastructure – The MiiVerse
Nintendo’s Global President Satoru Iwata revealed some of the fundamental concepts behind the Wii-U via Nintendo Direct, the 30 minute precursor to Tuesday’s press conference. Perhaps the most innovative idea was that of the MiiVerse (for those confused, this is the combination of Mii and Universe. There were diagrams).
Essentially the MiiVerse looks to connect together all elements of modern gaming, ostensibly healing the rifts between ‘Microsoft Man’ and his technology-obsessed offspring. At its core it means every action on the machine is linked to this new social network, allowing for seamless player interaction in and outside of gaming. The example used witnessed the protagonist call upon others playing the game to help him find out how to beat a tricky boss. He would receive text-based replies on both the controller and primary screen and could even use the new tablet controller as a webcam to interact more comprehensively with his peers. We also saw a pal of his receive all these updates via his smart phone – so that’s very nice. (You can check out this trailer below.)
Much of the Wii-U’s interface is designed around this MiiVerse. The home screen is replaced with icons of popular games being played, physically showing how many of your friends (and strangers you’ve met online) are gravitating towards certain titles. There was also a potpourri of random phrases people were spouting which I’m sure adds to the rich social dynamic Nintendo are trying to achieve. On top of this, the MiiVerse also looks ready to help families in dire straits by adding an improved and shareable web browser that interacts with all of the Wii-U’s assets.
This is all enhanced by the revised tablet controller that can be used to aid in all of these many interactions, but it’s worth noting that this new system is going to impact the 3DS also. It’s a good sign, considering how substantially Nintendo have lacked in online functionality over the years that they’re making it one of their key focuses now. Let’s hope its implementation doesn’t disappoint.