Head of Nintendo Satoru Iwata has confirmed that the online portion of the next-generation Wii U will be free for all.
The announcement was made during a call with shareholders, where Iwata said that he didn’t feel the subscription model used by companies like Microsoft was a good fit for Nintendo’s next-gen system. He hoped that by providing a free online experience, it would make it much easier to users to interact and make use of the new Miiverse features.
However, Nintendo has taken some flack over its social plans for online interactions on the Wii U. While it sounds like it has been improved over the current-gen Wii system, some strange safety features are being employed that could really limit socialising in the Miiverse. For example, the fact that messages could be delayed by upto 30 minutes, while they’re checked digitally and occasionally viewed by a Nintendo employee to make sure they aren’t offensive or break the terms and conditions. Not only does this infringe user privacy, the delay makes it impossible to use the feature to converse with – considering there would be an hour delay in your receiving a reply to your original message.
It’s also been confirmed that the Miiverse will not support Facebook or Twitter either.
These features are designed to protect children, but if Nintendo wants to recapture any of its lost hardcore market, it’ll need to throw out some of these plans, as social gaming is going to be a big part of the future on consoles – especially since many consider this next generation of hardware as likely to be the last.