Wii U online to be free

Nintendo not planning subscription fee for Nintendo Network due in part to casual audience; Miyamoto believes museum guide software could be a "core business" unit, addresses eventual retirement.

Nintendo is not planning to charge a subscription fee for the Wii U's online service, company president Satoru Iwata said during a recent shareholders meeting, the English translation of which was made public today. Iwata explained that the decision to make the Nintendo Network (which also operates on the 3DS) free to access was due in part to an effort to accommodate gamers' play habits.

Taking the Wii U online will be free, Nintendo says.

"We have a wide variety of consumers, from the ones who enthusiastically play video games to those playing more casually, who are not always interested in them but try to play a game only when it has become a public topic or play it just during certain periods, like a year-end season and summer vacation," he said. "We therefore believe that services which ask our consumers to obtain paid memberships are not always the best."

Nintendo posted its first-ever annual loss in April, with the Mario Factory losing $458 million for the year ended March 31, 2012. Iwata acknowledged shareholders must wonder how Nintendo is able to offer the Nintendo Network for free when the company is trying to return to profitability. The answer to this, he said, is that the Nintendo Network will be a social forum, which will eventually lead gamers to making purchases based on their friends' activity.

"In developing a network service called 'Miiverse' available for the Wii U, we are pursuing how to amplify and transmit consumers' empathy about a game," he said. "For example, when you see another user enjoying the same game you also play say, 'I enjoyed another game like this and that too,' you might be interested in a game which otherwise would not be on your wish list at all."

Nintendo sees a potential future in the museum guide business.

Elsewhere during the shareholder meeting, Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto said museum guides like the Audioguide Louvre 3DS app could be a major part of the company's business in the future.

"One big thing I recently handled is the Audioguide Louvre Nintendo 3DS, referred to earlier in this meeting," he said. "This has not made money yet, but it has the potential to be one of our core businesses in the future."

Miyamoto also said he often finds himself thinking about the future of the Japanese movie industry and ways that Nintendo can be a part of it. However, Miyamoto tempered his comments by making clear that Nintendo is "not announcing any concrete business plans here."

Lastly, Miyamoto addressed his eventual retirement. He said the last time he spoke about leaving Nintendo, his comments were misconstrued, leaving the press to believe he was retiring. While he has no immediate plans to leave Nintendo, he is aware that the day will come.

"As I am getting older, I have already started thinking of Nintendo without me in the future and I strongly feel that the company has steadily been preparing for doing business after I leave here," he said. "However, last year when I said at an interview overseas that I was doing various things in prospect of Nintendo without me, it led to a direct report on my retirement. So I am aware I have to be careful in talking about this sort of thing."

Iwata also chimed in on the matter of Miyamoto's forthcoming departure from Nintendo. He said Nintendo is working to make sure appropriate replacements are found for Miyamoto and the rest of the aging directors at Nintendo.

"What I can add is that Mr. Miyamoto still will be actively creating things, but we are working for the transition of power to go to younger people at the same time," he said.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
0 comments
nintendians
nintendians

free to play online is better, i would have play perfect dark zero online with my 360, if mircosoft didn't have that gold member fee thing.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Japanese gaming showing how it should be done.

 

Nuff said.

Slash_out
Slash_out

Sad that this is news worthy.

This should be normal, standard, and expected.

franzito
franzito

I'm not a bit interested in this Wii U since its first announcement! I came up with the conclusion that I bought GC 10 years ago to play less than 7 games; then along came Wii, which I bought to play less than 5 games, plus the ones I had from GC, i.e., Nintendo didn't offer since N64 more than slick design systems, revival, backwards compatiblity and a terrible lack of variety, I mean, I started to feel silly buying a Nintendo system to play the same games (Mario, Zelda, Metroid etc.) Who said with this one is going to be different? In 1 year I bought my PS3, I got more games than in 6 years I have the Wii, not to mention the amount of games I have for PS2 and PSX, mostly RPGs and survival horrors, which were the genres both GC and Wii lacked developing good games.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

I applaud Nintendo's attitude. They should feel free to charge a fee, as long as that fee is market value for an actual service. I wouldn't pay to access a store or for 4 player co-op or for basic social features, but I can't expect any business including Nintendo to provide for free dedicated servers with MMO-level traffic. It's better that I pay a reasonable fee than for the company to go out of business.

SolidTy
SolidTy

UPDATE : Nintendo changed their minds...maybe. Iwata says they may charge in the future. Posted by me, SOLIDTY, since GS is slow with news : http://wiiudaily.com/2012/07/nintendo-might-charge-wii-u-online/

 

"A few days ago, Nintendo revealed that Wii U online multiplayer and online features will free for all players, but now the company has reiterated on its online plans. Specifically, Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata said that the company “cannot promise to always provide online services free of charge”, especially when it comes to “deep online experiences”. Iwata added that Nintendo will not charge consumers to “casually get access to ordinary online services”. From what it appears, online multiplayer is included in the “ordinary online services."

dahaoleboy69
dahaoleboy69

My wii has been collecting dust for years.  The wii U however, is looking better and better while the other two consoles are looking worse and worse.  The new xbox having to have a constant connection to the internet and the PS4 to block used games.  All I hear are cons for the other two and only good news for the wii U, besides it's weaker engine.

fanaticsm
fanaticsm

free stuff rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

megakick
megakick

If there was a supscription feed nobody would buy the outdated Wii U. I don't mind paying for a good stable network that updates a lot.

This might sound lame but I have played free games and there are way more Trolls and Griefers. People are less likely to pay to be a A$$

darkfiercelink
darkfiercelink

so much hate for nintendo on this site? lol but i still love it :)

amaan4ever
amaan4ever

I'm suprised that gamespot hasn't released the news about Xbox 8.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

Nintendo having  a free on-line gaming componet. This should be a good thing, But Nintendo knows Jack about on-line muliplayer. It would have been nice for them to contract out the on-line part. Nintendo has conseeded that the Wii U is mainly a casual system. The Wii U on-line doesn't sound to promising at this point.

IrrationalBeast
IrrationalBeast

The processor is weak and has to power two displays so player one can dispense Zombies or whatever.  

 

Wii U is going to be a disaster.

raahsnavj
raahsnavj

But will it focus on online so much that local multiplayer is abolished? as long as they have a good set of local multiplayer games I might still be interested. The online push is what I don't want out of next gen.

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

No shit its going to be free. Who would be ready to pay for Nintendo's online, especially of their poor track record (or in this case lack of). 

Pr0ving4Gr0undz
Pr0ving4Gr0undz

Sounds like a lot of people here don't play WOW or SWTOR or any type of paid mmorpg but that's cool tho because i don't either. Then again i bet half you guys do play WOW and pay to play it but argue that you have to pay for live.

 

Yeah so what we pay for live(not to just play online) but as long as you guys admit xbox live have more to offer and is better then psn and the wii network then flame away, I'll be in my party chat while you guys rant. 

ydnarrewop
ydnarrewop

Well that's some good news  :)  The Wii U may be on my Christmas list  :D

zoniax2
zoniax2

Good that it'll be free.

 

Bad that it won't be a smooth, integrated service. God help them if "friend codes" enter their plans again.

Uesugi-dono
Uesugi-dono

Good plan.  Xbots:  Paying attention?

Borderlands666
Borderlands666

I have an extremely fast internet connection and I have a 360 and PS3 and I'm sorry but paying for LIVE is well worth it. And honestly i only  play a few games online, people spend more on soda and coffee a year than what live cost. Xbox

LIVE out performs PSN in every way. Just because something is free doesn't make it better. You get what you pay for. 60.00 a year is nothing to pay honestly. You Nintendo fans can say what you want but you are sadly misinformed about Xbox LIVE. I used to be a huge Nintendo fan but they need some more adult IP's I'm so very tired of Mario, and Zelda after all these years, and next year when Sony and MS launch their new consoles nintendo will yet again be behind a generation. I understand gameplay matters but for me they just have nothing worth playing, and their network will be nothing close to LIVE or probably the PSN for that matter.

onixevil
onixevil

and everybody care about Wii U price

Aydenuille
Aydenuille

The day Miyamoto retires, I'm gonna feel very sad. For me, that dude IS Nintendo and all the games that ever made my childhood so awesome. My native language is dutch, and I have Zelda to thank for teaching me english at a younger age than when classes began at school..

 

With all that sh*t going on these days about online sub fees and all those multiplayer focused games, I kinda feel nostalgic.. And allready a bit sad..

Dr_Corndog
Dr_Corndog

It's kind of sad that there's even a question that a company might charge for online services. The fact that Microsoft still charges for a service that's free on the other consoles and was free on PC before XBox Live even launched is just pathetic.

tigertaru
tigertaru

I kinda feel this didn't need to be reported.  Who honestly assumed that Nintendo would charge for online service?  Nintendo is the only one that seems not to be in the "nickel and dime gamers" business. 

oldschoolvandal
oldschoolvandal

I wasn't expecting anything different from Nintendo.

It was their choice to renew their audience with the more casual gamers with the Wii and this decision is kind of a logic sequence to that decision.

Regardless of my console preferences it's a costumer focused desicion which is becoming harder to find nowadays.

 

Hats off to Nintendo and Mr Miyamoto.

Freethinker101
Freethinker101

So if they Nintendo are looking at from the home market point of view, their only real competition is Sony, if they demanded that you pay to play, people wouldn't buy it.

In regard to the rest of the world, I still don't understand why Xbox users put up with paying for a service they could have for free, either via PC or the alternate console. I'm not bashing the Xbox, I just don't understand why people pay to be able to fully utilise the potential of their machine????

CreMax90
CreMax90

Thank you Nintendo. I have both ps3 & xbox 360, and the only console that I never game online is xbox 360, because of being FORCED to pay for online. Its just not worth it for someone like me who rarely plays online. Plus when it comes to online, only the one with lowest ping wins the match.

kbaily
kbaily

As shocking as this may sound to you Xbots not everyone wants to play every game online all the time.  My husband had an Xbox and I bought him an online membership but he barely used it.  He has more fun playing Battlefield 3 on his PC because that's where most of his friends are and THAT'S FREE.  I'm still amazed that people are willing to pay a yearly fee for something everyone else gets for free.  Now if only Nintendo or Sony could make a free service that rivals XBLA in terms of features, quality,etc.

Lordcrabfood
Lordcrabfood

So many people complaining about the price of xbox live.  You people should spend less time here and more time looking for a decent paying job.  I paid $48 for 14 months.  But I guess with nintendo being the kiddy freindly console, you don't earn enough pocket money so I understand why you are complaining.

Falru
Falru

Videogames: $60

 

High-speed Internet: $80 a month

 

People slamming Xbox LIVE for charging monthly fees for online services, then loading up their World of Warcraft to go do some raids: priceless.

 

As for my own opinions, I personally couldn't give a fuck about the online services/how much they're charging for them (within reason) so long as the games are there. I don't own a single PS3 game that I would want to play online.

Yalaa1
Yalaa1

Very good! internet on your gaming console should be free.

pound-u
pound-u

Good. Another blow for Xbox Live.

GamespotSux_IKR
GamespotSux_IKR

My first Wii U Goal: Get a Wii U the day it comes. Hurry home and get it online..SO I CAN GET THE USERNAME I WANT! 

B-boy
B-boy

good new, I hated xbox live, annoying kids, lots empty game lobbys, and 60.00 dollar a years, xbox life is rip off

hasancakir
hasancakir

Wise choice indeed uz most of the casual gamers wouldn't want to pay an additional fee.

xcollector
xcollector

Without Miyamoto Nintendo is finished. Nintendo has screwed up so many times over the years it isn't even funny. They've been losing the core gamers since the first Playstation appeared on the scene in the 90s. The only creative genius keeping this company alive despite all their misfires is Miyamoto. Nintendo is  nothing without the games he has made.

harold317
harold317

The day Miyamoto retires/dies is the day I'll stop gaming, or at least, I'll know it's over for me and for an entire generation. He is the one who keeps pushing the entire industry forward constantly with his crazy (and successful! Are you listening uDraw?) ideas. The day he leaves the industry, all we will have left will be the corporate giants milking franchises, sequel after sequel, into a downward spiral that will lead to the next big crash...however, I don't think videogames will ever stop being made, but they'll become "a nice feature" of bigger things, just like they are just part of Facebook or a nice thing to have in cellphones.

dawnofhero
dawnofhero

Yes, thank you, Nintendo. You have chosen... wisely. 

Bubbagum_Bish
Bubbagum_Bish

Paying for online sucks. I'm obsessed with Dark Souls and my PS3 broke down, so I got it for Xbox and forgot I needed to have Xbox Live in order to summon players in the game. I did brake down and buy some, but I hated that I had to just for such little things like that. Thanks for making the right choice Nintendo. ^_^

Takeno456
Takeno456

I do not like thinking about the old guards of Nintendo retiring. Miyamoto, Iwata and the other guys who have been there since the golden days. I grew up with Nintendo, hell NES Super Mario Bros was my first game. It will be strange and a bit sad when these guys retire. 

Killer6b9
Killer6b9

Well it looks like 2 of the major 3 understand what free online gaming means......just wish the bottomless money pit Microsoft would go the same route. i mean with all the paid add on features like netflix, hulu, and such at least let me play with other people online for free...the only reason you have to pay is cause of all the "get it on xbox first" motto they are going with and personally....I do not need it first for a price.

Vari3ty
Vari3ty

Xbox Live is looking more and more like a joke.

zell1
zell1

Nintendo: infinity 

Competition: 0