Nintendo was unfamiliar with rivals’ online features
Nintendo has been lacking some core functionality when it comes to online networking for quite a while now. I mean, it was only announced in November that cross-platform accounts were finally going to be a thing. Even then, the accounts would only apply to the Wii Shop and not to the rest of the experience. Now, it seems that the problem goes way deeper.
It always seemed to me that Nintendo lived in some strange ivory tower, or maybe it was Takeshi’s tower. Either way, they seemed removed from the rest of society – this can be a blessing as they are able to maintain creative integrity without being influenced by outside forces. Of course, sometimes they are so removed from the world, it leads to epic fails, as seen with their network features. According to an anonymous developer on Eurogamer, Nintendo has no idea about the Xbox or Sony features:
[We]asked how certain scenarios might work with the Mii friends and networking, all the time referencing how Xbox Live and PSN achieve the same thing. At some point in this conversation we were informed that it was no good referencing Live and PSN as nobody in their development teams used those systems (!) so could we provide more detailed explanations for them? My only thought after this call was that they were struggling – badly – with the networking side as it was far more complicated than they anticipated. They were trying to play catch-up with the rival systems, but without the years of experience to back it up.
The article goes on to explain problems with Wii U development and other issues. However, some of these issues were later rebutted by other developers via twitter. Unfortunately, no one has refuted the fact that Nintendo doesn’t know about Xbox Live or PSN. Um, seriously?
I understand Nintendo targets a different market – my expectations for 3DS and Wii U are different than those for Sony or Microsoft products. That said, how can companies not see what their competitors are doing and try to learn from it? Microsoft is finally offering decent free games through their paid program, probably thanks to massive uproar and comparison with PS+; shouldn’t Nintendo also be keeping a finger on the pulse? Or at least keep themselves vaguely informed of how other companies are handling networking and social aspects of gaming? I can’t even add the Wookie as a friend on my 3DS – it just doesn’t work. No wonder. Wow I understand that Nintendo simply doesn’t know about this stuff. Oh well, let’s just hope that they give us more awesome games and none of us will complain about their archaic online systems.