The Wii U‘s release is more than a year away and predictably few details have been revealed, so don’t expect to get much in the way of concrete information out of this new Forbes interview with Nintendo of America boss Reggie Fils-Aime. The company president and CEO does drop a few hints, however, particularly in the realm of the upcoming console’s online capabilities.
“We’ve seen what our competitors have done, and we’ve acknowledged that we need to do more online, starting with the launch of our eShop on Nintendo 3DS, and we’re going to continue to build our online capability,” Fils-Aime said.
“For Wii U, we’re going to take that one step further, and what we’re doing is creating a much more flexible system that will allow the best approaches by independent publishers to come to bear. So instead of a situation where a publisher has their own network and wants that to be the predominant platform, and having arguments with platform holders, we’re going to welcome that. We’re going to welcome that from the best and the brightest of the third party publishers.”
He then added, “There will be other publishers talking about that as well, and from our perspective, we think it’s much more compelling for that information to come from the publishers than to come from us.”
It’s hard to respond without specifics, but it sounds a lot like Fils-Aime is implying that the Wii U’s online implementation will be relatively light on features, with the more elaborate social networking bits handled by third-party publishers. If nothing else, this comment demands a little elaboration.
If Nintendo really is planning to forgo the community features offered by competing services, it is once again setting itself up to be a step behind the competition as was the case with the Wii’s lack of HD support. The Wii was certainly a success in its own right, but it likely could have gone to much bigger places with an Xbox Live-like framework for its online communications and play.