Nintendo Introduces Miiverse
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com
“Miiverse” will work with Nintendo’s controllers for their newest generation of Wii, called Wii U. Not only can gamers use these new controllers to hunt down the enemy and save the day, they can also use them to connect with their friends and discover which games are most popular among the Nintendo universe. Miiverse will also be available on other mobile devices, such as smartphones, perhaps the most surprising announcement from the early Monday morning webcast by Nintendo’s global president Satoru Iwata. Nintendo’s future has been looking bleak as the Japanese company posted their first annual loss this year, likely due to new competitors in the gaming market — like Apple’s iPhone — and Nintendo’s refusal to bring their most popular titles to these platforms.
Nintendo’s Wii U, the next generation of their popular gaming platform which revived slipping sales when it was announced in 2006, is expected to launch in late 2012. This announcement confirms one of many rumors about the new Wii U console. The Wii U is also expected to be twice as powerful as Microsoft’s Xbox 360, one of the Wii’s largest competitors.
According to Iwata, when gamers first turn on their Miiverse controller, they will see animated avatars of other players flocking to the most popular games. While the entire “world” of Miiverse will be accessible via smartphones, PCs and 3DS handhelds, the main focus of the new controller will be to send messages, tips and tricks to friends and fellow gamers. By creating Miiverse, Nintendo finally joins rivals Microsoft and Sony, who have been providing their gamers an online meeting ground for years.
Is this move to social too little, too late?
“Nintendo is falling behind its rivals in the online gaming area. The idea of entering the field is good, but the question is whether the company can generate profits,” said Hajime Nakajima, a wholesale trader at Iwai Cosmo Securities, according to the Daily Mail.
Iwata thinks these new developments will be just the thing to improve Nintendo’s situation, as well he should.
“We believe it can solve the issue of ‘alone together’,” said Mr. Iwata. “We believe it enables the sharing of more smiles, more laughs and more empathy.”
Iwata is expected to unveil the Wii U console this week at E3.
Nintendo is betting big on the Wii U and their new, social options to allow them to remain competitive in this market. However, investors so far seem unimpressed with what the Wii U will be able to bring to the marketplace, questioning if it will be able to compete with smartphone and tablet makers, such as Apple.
Nintendo has notoriously refused to bring their most popular titles to Apple’s family of handheld devices, a move which many investors and analysts say has done more to hurt them than protect their brand. While iPhone users aren’t any closer to being able to relive the days of their youth by playing Super Mario on their iPhones, at least they will soon be able to chat with their Wii friends. Only time will tell if this will be enough to sway gamers towards the Wii universe.