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Wii U's Online Will Be Free; Nintendo Wants Positive Word Of Mouth
The best way for positive press to spread is from the people using your product. This is going to be Nintendo's prime approach for the Wii U's online service called the Nintendo Network. In a conference meeting, Nintendo president Saito Iwata let loose a few juicy details regarding the Wii U and the upcoming services.
Andria Sang lists a few of the tidbits that came out of a conference meeting in Japan regarding key elements of the Wii U's functionality. The most interesting thing was regarding the Nintendo Network and premium services, with commentary of Iwata's statement saying...
"...he doesn't necessarily reject the idea of a paid service that allows not just Wii U but various other devices to connect to Nintendo Network. However, when considering Nintendo's users, a paid membership service is not the best approach. By having everyone use the Miiverse together, word of mouth will more easily spread. This will lead to greater hardware and software sales."
I think this is a very fair assessment of the possible growth for the Nintendo Network. For a new service the last thing you want is to kick it off with a premium price tag and it may not be much of a hit (latency issues, poor connectivity, lack of support, etc., etc.,). There are a number of ways for a service to fail and a few windows of opportunity for a new network to succeed. Sony did it right with the PSN as they are still gaining a strong following (mostly because of the hacking that occurred last year) but Microsoft was able to get away with making Xbox Live a paid service from the get-go because it was basically the next step in the evolution of the Microsoft Gaming Zone, which was sort of the starting platform for what's arguably the largest console gaming network available.
Nintendo laid out quite a few details for their new Network, which will launch alongside the Wii U this fall, in a detailed segment during their E3 2012 press conference. You can find out more about the Nintendo Network in our write-up right here.
Those of you still curious about pricing and exact dates for the Wii U's release will still have to wait a bit longer, but you can read about the other details of the conference meeting over at Andria Sang.
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