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.

Written By

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

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Discussion

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.

Smittyco1
Smittyco1

 @warhawk-geeby ps3 online free

wii online free

wii u online free

xbox live 15 dollars a month (and micro$oft wonders why they are losing costumers to sony and nintendo)

itchyflop
itchyflop

 @Unfallen_Satan i see your point, unlike Microsoft who charge way to much however, and i think its wrong that you need 2 gamer tags on one system to play online 2, it should be registered to the hardware your using. I think Nintendo have made a good choice here. I hope the wii u does well, there's been a lot of fans waiting.

thingta42
thingta42

 @SolidTy

 Yeah, i dont mind paying extra for stuff, but the core online in any game should be free. Soon as Microsoft gets this the better

soulless4now
soulless4now

 @SolidTy Figures it's too good to be true. GS really needs to update this article. I'm also curious as to what they mean by deep online experiences. 

LandauTST
LandauTST

 @SolidTy So basically, GameSpot's news headline is too generalized. They might charge in the future for some things, but it still seems they're considering basic online multiplayer to always be free.But I wonder what they could mean exactly by "deep online experiences"?

ninjaroach81
ninjaroach81

 @dahaoleboy69There has been nothing confirmed about Xbox 3 and PS4; it's all just rumor at this point.  Before you start talking about how bad Xbox 3 and PS4 are looking, let's wait until MS and Sony actually confirm what they're going to do. 

Rayzakk
Rayzakk

 @darkfiercelink I see more hate for xbl.  People here can't agree to like what they want.  They don't seem to feel happy until they've made fun of everyone with a differing opinion in order to feel better about their system or systems of choice.  Seems to be a lot of fanaticism and inferiority complexes running around. 

KBFloYd
KBFloYd

 @Gamer_4_Fun .... cant even leave voice messages on psn..and the online store is horrible.microsoft charging for online is the reason its the best... maybe sony should have done the same...and thats why many hoped nintendo would charge and make it great.... now it seems the online will be something akin to psn.

Simulator_Shock
Simulator_Shock

 @Pr0ving4Gr0undz I'll be watching my Netflix on PS3 without having to pay a BS Xbox Live fee while you'll have to fork over $60 on top of your Netflix bill :)

PeterTechGuy
PeterTechGuy

 @Pr0ving4Gr0undz WoW is getting declined, remember? Every MMO fans is waiting for Guild Wars 2, which you don't have to pay a subscription fee yet already beats every MMO out there in terms of gameplay.

zoniax2
zoniax2

 @Uesugi-dono

 Yes...

 

Oh, wait. You mean to imply this is better than Live? Well, it's hard to judge that seeing as the Wii U isn't out yet. Comparing current online services... Wii can't touch PSN and Live, even a little.

 

I'd rather pay a little bit for steak than eat dog food for free.

zoniax2
zoniax2

 @Borderlands666

 They're not misinformed about Live, they just won't admit the truth staring them in the face.

 

Like little children, covering their ears and saying "NYAHNYAHNYH I'M NOT LISTENING!"

Neosz-v2
Neosz-v2

 @Borderlands666  The only time you should ever have to pay for a game is when you purchase it, that is it.  When I buy a game, I expect to bring it home and fully experience it.  With Microsoft, they hold that part of your game (online) hostage until you fork over that 50 or $60.  Also, how do you know the Wii U's online won't compare?  You don't Nintendo learns from their mistakes?  Or do you honestly think the a games online experience is based solely on which console it's on?

Simulator_Shock
Simulator_Shock

 @Borderlands666 I'm a full-time student working a part-time job and I still can't afford to pay what they charge for Xbox Live, you're argument is invalid.

darkfiercelink
darkfiercelink

 @Rayzakk

 That's true lol, it entertain me to read all these comments, I don't really care about the so call "console war" , as long as I can enjoy my favorite game it doesn't matter which console I play it on.  As for online, I like it free but I don't really mind paying for it as long as the company provide lots of features and make it worth my money

IanNottinghamX
IanNottinghamX

 @Rayzakk The whole idea of siding in a supposed "console war" is stupid unless Microsoft,Sony or Nintendo is paying you to..thats the only time Id ever be brand loyal and even then Id play other consoles and games.  I really wouldnt be surprised if the companies were in kahoots in some way....

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

 @KBFloYd Also performance in online depends on servers and p2p connection, it has nothing to do with PSN or XBL. Although most of Sony first party titles offers dedicated servers like Killzone for example, free of charge = better connectivity and performance.

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

 @KBFloYd I am absolutely happy with the performance and service I get from PSN. Ironically I used to have problems with XBL service when I had a 360 in 2008. And yea, I won't pay for online, ever.

Pr0ving4Gr0undz
Pr0ving4Gr0undz

 @Simulator_Shock You make it seem like i'm paying $60 a month for live.

 

Truth is my next bill is not going to be till november 2014 and I only paid $60 for 3 last black friday.

 

btw i don't use netflix.

zzamaro
zzamaro

 @zoniax2 A little? We used to pay 50/year, now it's increasing and you(me no longer) are paying 60 dollars/year. Worse yet, there's no doubt it will that increase in the future. It wouldn't hurt to pay maybe just 10 bucks for basic services like online play, but M$ forces you to pay for useless stuff which is not even gaming related. When did gamers ask for ESPN/netflix on a gaming console?

zoniax2
zoniax2

 @Simulator_Shock

 

You can't afford $2.50 a month? Then you obviously don't work much. I pick up $2.50 in change in a month off of the sidewalk walking my dog.

 

If you're smart (which is suspect, considering your grammar) you'd look online for a $35 or $40 deal on Amazon for a 12 month Live card. Maybe instead of worrying about buying games or online services, you should focus more on your schoolwork.

 

As an adult working 40-50 hours a week (with many, MANY more bills and draws on my money than you have, guaranteed), I have absolutely no problem or objection paying a small fee yearly for excellent quality online access on Live. Study more, work more, or just stop talking.

 

Or maybe stop smoking weed and drinking, then you can afford that gigantic* Live fee.

 

*Live fee is not actually gigantic

Simulator_Shock
Simulator_Shock

 @Borderlands666 And furthermore on that topic, I actually had to wait until Amazon had a discount sale on the 12-month Gold cards so I could actually afford it. I would never pay $60 just so I could access my multiplayer games (which I shouldn't have to pay for) and get a bunch of useless apps, almost all of which require an outside subscription fee on top of paying for Xbox Live.

IanNottinghamX
IanNottinghamX

 @Rayzakk But seriously think about it how can they not be in kahoots the industry is too small...

ElJefeDeMedios
ElJefeDeMedios

 @zzamaro

 Agree - it would be great if XBL offered a MP focused subscription (only gaming related content) in addition to the 'other' entertainment options.

Pr0ving4Gr0undz
Pr0ving4Gr0undz

 @zzamaro Your kidding right? A lot of gamers asked for netflix, ESPN and especially youtube. Please speak for yourself sir. 

tigertaru
tigertaru

 @zoniax2 I have to say after reading so many of your comments, You're just a trolling little B*^%h.  If you want to justify paying for xbl then go ahead.  No one cares.  Many gamers have justifiable reasons not to waste their money on xbl and as gaming consumers we have a right to decide what the hell we spend our money on.  Who the hell are you to make negative and insulting comments towards others?  You think you're some elitist just because you pay for xbl?  Maybe you need to spend less time playing games and more time learning some respect, as well as how to properly express your opinions like a civilized adult.   

omgitsgomes
omgitsgomes

 @Simulator_Shock  @Borderlands666

 EXACTLY! For what? playing online for 1 YEAR?! BS! Why not pay nothing to play forever? And with mass effect and stuff like that on the wii u, microsoft just got beat. Not chirpin on xbox, i have one and ejoy it, but nintendo is the reason i even know vidoegames today! (yoshi's island i got when i was 3!)