updated 11:00 am EDT, Sat May 8, 2010
Future Wii, DS could use Xbox Live style play
Nintendo could change the multi-player gaming on the DS and Wii to follow the Xbox Live model, the company's development head Shigeru Miyamoto said in an interview on Friday. While the current system is free both to browse and to play online, the Super Mario creator floated the possibility to Edge of either charging for most content or offering extras to those willing to pay. Nintendo is " less active than [it] should be" in the online subscription space, he said.
Miyamoto rejected the idea that Nintendo wasn't as active online and thought it "unfair" the company was lagging behind. The Wii was designed to be online all the time, he argued, so Nintendo has always been aggressive in that way. He admitted that the company hasn't encouraged online gaming such as massively-multiplayer titles.
The Japanese company has often been accused of having the poorest online showing among consoles, as its service doesn't integrate as tightly with games or social elements as the PS3 or the Xbox 360. Online gaming on both the DS and Wii usually needs special friend codes that prevent the easy creation of large lists of friends and make it more difficult to play in groups.
Nintendo as a whole is under heavy pressure to revamp its consoles, and their online experiences as a result, following its first disappointing quarter since 2004. The PS3 and Xbox 360 are now much closer in pricing and have the advantage of faster hardware. Both are also due to get motion controllers at E3, including the PlayStation Move and the finished version of Microsoft's ProjectNatal.