Nintendo Network is the online service for the Wii U. Nintendo Network offers game downloads, videos, content and DLC, and personal user accounts. The new network is the second online system for Nintendo, and is the successor to the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Unlike the previous system, Nintendo Network will not require friend codes and will be based on a user account system, much like the competing Xbox Live and PlayStation Network services. Nintendo Network will launch in Fall 2012, and will be available for the Wii U when the console launches. The new online system will also be available for the Nintendo 3DS handheld console. A key part of the new system will be Miiverse, which is a social network for the Wii U.
Nintendo Network features
Nintendo Network will combine multiplayer gaming with online services such as a social network, eShop, digital distribution service, and more. Here is the full list of Nintendo Network features:
- Personal user account: each Wii U user will create a personalized account that will tie his games and content to. Unlike Nitnendo Wi-FI, the new Nintendo Network does not require Friend Codes to play online with friends and others.
- Wii U eShop: digital download service with full retail games, game demos, and downloadable content (DLC).
- Wii U Virtual Console: via eShop, older Nintendo titles such as NES, N64, and GameCube titles can be downloaded and played on the Wii U. See more on Wii U backwards compatibility.
- Video: The Nintendo Network will include a dedicated video channel for the Wii U, with game trailers, movies, interviews, and much more. It will also be available to purchase videos for download.
- Wii U apps: the Wii U will support apps such as video streaming (e.g. Netflix), productivity apps, and more.
- Wii U channels: will be back from the Wii and will include internet browsing, social network, and many other non-gaming related channels.
- Miiverse: lets players connect with their Miis and share screenshots, game progress, videos, messages, and more.
More features will be added to the network as the service matures, rumored future additions include a YouTube video channel, and several TV network channels where users can watch online TV through the Nintendo Network. This will most likely be based on geographic location of the user.
Nintendo Network games
Games that support Nintendo Network online play, downloadable content, and other online features will be marked with the “Nintendo Network logo” on the box (the logo which you can see on this page). So far all of Nintendo’s major first party Wii U games, like Pikmin 3, Mario Kart, and Zelda, will support some of the features of the Nintendo Network features. Third party publishers are expected to roll out features as well, including multiplayer gaming like Ghost Recon Online, in addition to downloadable content (DLC) as well.
Nintendo Network storage
The service will utilize Wii U’s internal flash storage to store games and content. While the internal storage on the Wii U will be limited to 8 GB (rumored), the console will offer expansion via USB hard drives, USB memory sticks, and SD cards as well. Nintendo Network content can be saved to any one of those 3 external devices.