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Nintendo might charge for Wii U online in the future

Nintendo may launch a premium Wii U online service in the future, while still giving access to free multiplayer to regular users.

Wii U onlineA 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”.

Nintendo recently said that Wii U online services will remain free, services that include Miiverse. Even back then, a paid online service wasn’t out of the question. It seems as if Nintendo is seriously considering offering a paid online service for the Wii U. In that case, we sincerely hope they take the PlayStaiton Plus route instead of the Xbox Live model. PlayStation Plus members pay about $50 a year and receive access to a ton of features, including a free downloadable games each month. With Nintendo’s vast catalog of titles spanning decades and multiple consoles, they could easily offer access to those games with a premium Wii U online service.

We’ll have to wait and see how this pans out. Would you pay for a premium Wii U online membership? What would you expect in return for paying, say, $50/year for something like that? Let us know in the comments section!

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  • Meelow

    It would be like PlayStation Plus not like Xbox Live.

  • Swic11

    If its similar to the playstaion+ system, then sure, but only if it’s better. I pay for Xbox live and I have no problem with that. That only costs about $60 a year.

  • WiiUPlayWithMe:P

    If they gave premium services that include game downloads and other such things, sure. I’d pay for a set of games that I keep as long as I have the service. That could pay itself off quick. I thought that PlayStation Plus idea was pretty great, so a Nintendo twist on something similar to that, sure. Just don’t make it Xbox live priced and I’m good

  • Biggy N

    I don’t have problem paying for online service as long as it would be cheap and beneficial. But I hope the online multiplayer access should be remain FREE as I think if this was advertise with that game, it should be included as you already paid for it.

  • Draco Breach

    I’d have to see the benefits first, of course. I have no problem with a paid subscription as long as it makes sense. I wouldn’t mind a sort of tiered subscription as outlined below.

    A) Silver – Free; basic Wii U apps, Miiverse, subscriber services (Netflix, Hulu Plus, Youtube, et cetera), full price for all eShop games (sales events are cool though!), basic leaderboards

    B) Gold – $4/50; Silver plus enhanced Wii U apps, online multiplayer, select discounts for eShop games, enhanced leaderboards

    C) Platinum – $5/70; Gold plus Nintendo Power subscription, possible extras if it edges towards $70 (like more discounts)

    I see more benefit, personally, to pay for a Nintendo Network subscription at my proposed Platinum level because I already subscribe to Nintendo Power. If Nintendo did subscription right, I’d sign up for it.

    As a side note, “discounts” includes up to 100% off.

    • Pwait5026

      why would to pay to play a game online?

      • Draco Breach

        Excellent question. I’m glad you asked.

        I never said I was willing to pay to play a game online. I said I’d be willing to pay Nintendo to maintain servers to play the entire library of Wii U games online. Every. Single. One.

        I worry that maintenance costs will be too high to continue to allow Nintendo to offer online multiplayer as part of the base package (let’s call it Silver for now). Sony and Microsoft can get away with it because they have other avenues of profit. Nintendo would either have to offer micro transactions or subscription services (such as my proposed Gold and Platinum).

        I also understand why my post is unpopular. There are a large number of consumers who don’t want to pay for online multiplayer. Personally, I don’t like the pay-to-play system in place for the “greatest” MMOs – like World of Warcraft. However, I’d like to differentiate right here.

        World of Warcraft is a single game which Blizzard wants to charge $15/month to go beyond a certain level.

        My proposal is for an entire library. I see the benefit looking at it from a consumer and business perspective. I set the price low ($40 maybe $50 per year) as a fair compromise.

        Let’s face it. As consumers, we all want well maintained and updated servers, excellent customer support, hack/cheat-free experience, information security, and minimal downtime. Without some way to pull in a steady stream of cash, we will not have these features/benefits.

        Yet we want it to be fee free? This is a tad hypocritical.

        Now I admit; I do not play a lot of online. I’ll access Nexon from time to time to play Dungeon Fighter Online or something. I even play Diablo II and Diablo III when I have the chance. I doubt my habits will change. I prefer story-driven, single-player games – like Xenoblade Chronicles.

        In the end, Nintendo will take the route with the best risk/reward scenario. I just feel it is important to point out why paying for a robust online multiplayer experience may be the ideal. It’s one of many proposals I’m sure, and it will continue to be the least popular as long as the real benefits are not explained fully.

        I’ll go over them again.

        Well maintained and updated servers – The equipment and specialized employees cost time and money.

        Excellent customer support – The necessary training and employees cost time and money. The number and location(s) of support centers (including call centers) take time and money to construct, equip, and maintain.

        A hack/cheat-free experience – Do you like hackers making it impossible for you to compete? Yeah. Didn’t think so.

        Information Security – The last thing consumers want is to worry that servers will be hacked and account information (user names, passwords, and credit cards) stolen. A full security suite and specialized employees cost time and money.

        Minimal downtime – Servers have to be taken down for maintenance. It’s an immutable fact. There are tricks to minimize downtime – including duplicate servers. Yeah, that’s right. It costs more money. You can schedule maintenance to a specific time and day of the week, but servers can die suddenly.

  • Loz fan

    I would pay for it.

    • Conscius Gamer

      If it becomes a service similar to xbox live I won’t be buying a wii u then.

  • Frankensavior

    I’m hoping that they take the Playstation Plus route. As much as I don’t care for Microsoft or Sony. I do have respect for Sony products. The Xbox live model is a complete and utter joke, and its a horrible deal compared to all the much better features that come with Playstation Plus. I paid for a year of Xbox live, and it was complete crap. You hear a lot of M$ fanboys say you get what you pay for, and that’s a huge load of bull. Hopefully Nintendo will use they Playstation Plus as a model and improve up on it in every way they possibly can. I wouldn’t mind to pay for it, but they features have to be worth it, and there must be a free basic version that is always accessible.

    • Frankensavior

      Also I meant “THE” in two spots where I put “they”. So sorry for sounding stupid. That’s entirely my fault. I wasn’t paying attention.

  • CrazyBoi351

    Well isn’t this great… I:
    If i wanna pay for online services i might as well get an xBox360, this really makes me wanna buy the Wii U less

    • uPadWatcher

      Are you either crazy or mentally challenged? If Nintendo is taking the PS-Plus route, I’m still buying the Wii U. I’m sure the Nintendo Network will have online games for free.

  • Paul

    sorry but unless nintendo have the top games like battlefield 3, medal of honor war fighter, need for speed most wanted etc with high end graphics i cannot see many people paying for online

    im really sorry guys and girls but ps+ is a load of old tosh and not worth the price

    if you want to play old psx and ps2 games you can on there old systems or a emulater on pc or mobile phones

  • Chris

    I don’t know, that idea of making the internet subscription based might turn a few people off, including myself. But I’m sure most of the online features will be available for like the online multiplayer and the Miiverse, but if the go the way of Playstation Plus then that would be great because it means people can have that option to pay for the ability to get discounts, get DLC early and be able to get some unique features that the normal services doesn’t have.

  • Ripcord

    I think they should do it the sony online style, because it’s better than xbox live and cheap as well

  • Mike

    PS+, they have to compete with Sony in Japan, so that would be the wisest choice. And what would those couple of bucks mean to them anyway, they gain profit from everything they sell, I’m sure a paid online service won’t be needed.

  • Daemonrunner

    Since Nintendo is already offering a lot of social and multiplayer “out of the box” with the Wii U, their payed experience would have to be an enticing enhancement to the core experience. Some ideas could include:

    Premium multiplayer (secure and lag-free) – consider this your “Xbox Live experience”. The free multiplayer could be subject to lag and instability while the premium multiplayer would be virtually flawless.

    Premium leaderboards – goes hand-in-hand with the Premium multiplayer (if leaderboards are your thing).

    Extra discounts on eShop titles – maybe 50% – 75% off or something.

    Extra Coins when registering games and doing surveys on Club Nintendo – maybe like an extra 10 – 15% per registration/survey (this assumes they overhaul the Club Nintendo system to be linked to your Miiverse account).

    Real-time chat rooms – I know there will be forum boards and video chat, but the forums may be delayed and you would only want people you trust to do video chat with, so this make real-time chatting possible without the wait/security risk.

    Virtual Console link to 3DS – any Virtual Console game that is available on both the Wii U and 3DS would only require a 1-time buy and can be playable on both systems as long as you keep your premium membership. I think this should be free already, but it would make a great perk for premium subscribers.

    Early access to DLC/eShop releases – always a nice perk

    1-hour game demos – so much better than canned demo’s. Plus, any progress you did make will be available when/if you unlock the game.

    • Jacob

      As long as they implement something similar without PURPOSELY making the free service gimped I’m fine with it.

  • Pwait5026

    this is why i dont own an xbox…so i dont pay for online

    • Conscius Gamer

      Same here.

      • Michel

        XBox has taken it too far in my opinion. I don’t mind not being able to play online if I don’t pay, but none of their other services are available either unless you’re gold. Why the heck do you need a paid gold membership to look at your twitter feed or facebook?

        Heck, I needed a gold account just to view their E3 press conference! I’m not paying to look at their advertisement if it’s already available on Youtube for free(Course you can’t access YouTube on Xbox without being a gold member either)

  • Indoctrination

    nintendo network is a great name