During Nintendo’s Wii U-centric Nintendo Direct today, company president Satoru Iwata detailed upcoming improvements to the console’s much-beloved Miiverse. Nintendo has been intrigued by the many uses that have developed within Miiverse, from the use of it to create “lite” strategy guides and Q&As, to the artwork within the communities, to even what screenshot images individuals are capturing and posting. Citing what fans and users have been requesting be improved, Iwata announced that through a couple of system updates this Spring and Summer 2013 Nintendo would bring several revisions to the social network.
Throughout both updates Nintendo will work to speed up and improve loading times, startup speeds, and closing in and out to the main menu and back.
Verified Mii characters
Official Mii accounts are coming to the Miiverse, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata declared during today’s Nintendo Direct, that will bring special functions with them. Already available within New Super Mario Bros U‘s Miiverse community, verified accounts are given to developers, publishers, important people (read: athletes and actors) and corporations, among others. The accounts can post images, long-form messages, outgoing HTML links to the browser, and can embed Youtube videos. Within NSMBU this has led to developers posting speed runs, hint and tip videos, and more.
Sounds like a great way to engage with fans and gamers, right?
While this is great for community managers to maintain constant interaction with the communities they are in, this could very well open the door for advertising. A partnership with McDonald’s could have a verified Mii offer coupons and prizes to Miiverse users within a specific community. Did you buy FIFA 13? An EA rep could post videos and advertisements for Adidas within that group, or allow outgoing links to the eShop to buy DLC or FIFA 14.
It’s a way for Nintendo to monetize the Miiverse immensely, and maybe even unfortunately if it borders adver-spam.
Coming during this Spring’s update.
In-game features designed to share specific kinds of images to Miiverse
In the upcoming Pikmin 3, players can take photographs of environments, enemies, and more from the vantage point of the Pikmin themselves. Perhaps in future games this can be expanded to sharing in-game videos or highlights, artwork, game-specific files or more rather than just screen captures.
Coming during this Spring’s update, and when Pikmin 3 launches.
User-created private communities for specific games, as well as more than one community per game
When Wii Fit U releases later this Spring, it will bring along with it the ability to create private fitness communities within the Miiverse, that can be accessed by a password or code similar to how Mario Kart‘s recent online communities function. This will arrive in many other games, depending on the developer’s decisions to utilize the feature. Think private guilds in MMOs or online leagues in the next Madden game.
Nintendo also mentioned that several communities can pop up for games instead of just one. Our interpretation of that isn’t just 5 similar communities devoted to Monster Hunter 3, but communities for hardcore or casual players, beginners, and sports team-specific sections. We’ve always wanted a Yankees-specific MLB 2K community, right? Tie that in with some of the advertising possibilities and we might even see Coca-Cola communities pop up.
Coming during this Spring’s update and when Wii Fit U launches.
Miiverse access from the web and phones
Promised in the early days of Miiverse at E3 2012, the social network is finally making its way to other devices besides the Wii U. Up first will be access from PCs and mobile devices. Since Miiverse is a web-based platform already (hence the slow-loading images within it sometimes) it could be easy enough to flip a switch and give users access to it through browsers.
Initially users will just be able to view the Miiverse forums, but interaction could come later on. At some point in 2013 Nintendo will also launch an official Miiverse app for mobile devices. This will bring several features, including textual messaging and sketching.
The direction seems fairly natural for the budding social network, and seems like it can even potentially provide more functions for social interaction than Microsoft’s Xbox Smartglass app.
A web version could theoretically be viewable through the 3DS as well, until Nintendo gets on their horse and creates a version integrated into the device.
No reason was given about why it’s being held up in development, but it could relate to Nintendo ID access — our guess, not Iwata’s word.
Browser version coming this Spring, app later this year.
Finally, Nintendo will be bringing some usability tweaks and improvements to Miiverse, specifically naming filter options as ways to keep track of specific communities and posts.
Images via Nintendo