Satoru Iwata, the President of Nintendo, hopes that making their online service free will encourage gamers to be a part of the Miiverse and in turn, help achieve the company’s long term goals.
The Nintendo Wii U seems another fairly big risk from Nintendo. The console is only just more powerful than the current generation of Sony and Microsoft consoles and at the same time has introduced a controller that has a screen of its own to go along with the TV.
At the same time, there are reports that the console will not be able to support two controllers until after the console’s launch, meaning that the experience will be miles apart from the casual gamer/party theme that the console’s predecessor, the Wii, managed to pull off to such great success.
Despite all the risks and talk of the console being a failure, which experts believe is premature at the moment, there is a bit of good news for prospective Wii U owners. The news will come with a sigh of relief for many as well, as there was talk of the Wii U coming with a paid-subscription for their online service.
Instead, Satoru Iwata, the president of the company, announced that Wii U Online would be available to everyone for free from day one and that they had no plans to make it subscription based either.
However, the president did not specify if there would be a premium service, similar to how Sony had split its PlayStation Network into standard and Plus members, the latter paying an annual subscription in order to gain extra features and discounts.
Iwata did elaborate on why the platform developer opted to keep Wii U Online free. According to him the move would help bring in more business in the long run as there would a no barriers to entry to the online experience. This would lead to better hardware and software sales in the future in the Nintendo President’s mind and would more than compensate for not charging for online access.
If Nintendo are going by Sony’s experience with the PlayStation 3 then they may be on to something as a recent survey showed that more people had signed up for the PlayStation Network than they had for Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE service.
It will be something Nintendo will want to emulate and help get their console off to a strong start, however, many experts argue that the console developer needs to bring more exciting content to their console if they want to ensure that the Wii U is a success.
So far the only game worth taking note of on the console is Ubisoft’s first-person zombie-apocalypse title, ZombiU but one can expect a number of announcements between now and the console’s launch.