This is major news. Outside the handheld or home console, Nintendo is now announcing a third platform.
We recognized that the Wii U had to have a strong account system.
Here’s a little bit of background. Up until the Wii U, the device held all of the account information. Whether you played or your kids played or your partner played, it was all one set of data to the Wii. The same was true for DS and 3DS.
With Wii U, we’re going to have an account system. This means you’re going to create a Mii, as will all the other members of your family, and the behaviour for each Mii is going to be captured in an account. For example, if you’ve achieved a certain level in a game, that information will be unique to your Mii. Parental settings will be specific to each Mii.
This is critically important, because it means things like messaging and achievements and other key online functionality is tailored to you.
I think what he’s trying to communicate is that in addition to having this robust online experience, it’s almost like having a third platform. By third I mean you have your home console, your handheld, and now this key network platform.
This network will be applied on every future platform. Why is that important? Once I build a relationship with you through an account system, all of those behaviours and experiences are going to be there for you to go back to. If you buy a piece of digital content, it will be there for you, even in future systems.
You mean I don’t have to buy Super Mario Brothers (NES) for every Nintendo console now? I can actually start using that spending money, which would have gone to SMB (NES) for OTHER games?
Is Reggie saying that if I buy a new Nintendo console (say after the Wii U like the Wii V or Wii Z), that my digital collection will be available? Is he saying that once I plug in the Wii V that I can download Super Mario Brothers without having to pay for it yet again?
If he is, then I am extremely excited. I will keep buying a Nintendo console forever if this is the case. In fact, this would accelerate my spending to ridiculous levels for the digital games. If Nintendo put out the Gamecube games for download, I would probably buy them all. F-Zero GX, where art thou?
I know Nintendo will still be in business for the rest of my lifetime. So I feel it is a safe ‘investment’ to purchase these games if I can keep playing them despite the hardware. This will also keep me from the Used Game Stores and drain much of the piracy you see all around.
Gamers like collecting games. I love being able to turn on the game console and feel rich because I have every classic game for the last twenty five years. It also free up my spending money to purchase new games since I don’t have to rebuy Legend of Zelda again and again.
This also keeps these games available for people who missed out on them or wish to explore them. This is win-win for everyone.
There is one negative. This means every game now on the Nintendo console must compete with…
And various third party classics.
If you are making a 2d platformer, it needs to be better than Super Mario Brothers 3 or different. But if you can’t compete against twenty year old games, you shouldn’t be making games in the first place.
There are other things that can be done to make the Third Platform more exciting. How about add Mii-verse to it? Allow people to discuss the awesome games and recommend them. (I don’t mean integrated within the game like SMB 6.)
Non-games could also be added to The Third Platform. What is Nintendo doing with these brilliant strategy guides?
Why can’t I buy them digitally? Very cheap, of course. Then I could use the Wii U screen to view the guide while I am playing the game on the TV. The wonderful Nintendo Power maps could be shown off on the screen which would make some of the older games more accessible.