One can say that social networking, not in its current ‘Like’ form but as a rudimentary way of communicating, started off between gamers, chit chatting in between a round of MOHAA or WoW, coining what has now become currency with Leetspeak. Of course some may disagree, but chatting and tweeting as we do nowadays certainly has roots in leetspeak and it only makes sense that social networking platform, with all its modern trappings be developed for gamers today.
And that’s exactly what Japanese game developer Nintendo intends on doing, creating a social network for its users, known as Miiverse. The news was announced in a presentation given by company president, Satoru Iwata, ahead of the E3 video game conference in Los Angeles. The company’s latest consoles, the handheld Wii U, is specifically being geared towards this social networking prospect, and very much like standard social networking sites, will allow users to interact, chat, share gaming tips and self created content. Nintendo will then later on expand to allow Nintendo 3DS, PC and smartphone users to also connect to the Miiverse. A more detailed presentation regarding the console and the Miiverse will be given on Tuesday.
Speaking at the presentation, Mr Iwata said, "We believe it can solve the issue of 'alone together.’ We believe it enables the sharing of more smiles, more laughs and more empathy.”
The presentation itself showed just what exactly users could do with the Wii U and the Miiverse, allowing users to chat and type while playing and also if placed next to a television, started a video chat with other gamers. The presentation also showed off some previously unseen features on the Wii U, with extra buttons a newly designed thumbstick controller and a data card slot.
But while Nintendo is hedging its bets on the combined strength of the Wii U and the Miiverse, having recorded its first annual loss in April of this year, some industry analysts aren’t convinced. Speaking to the BBC, Patrick Garratt, of gaming website VG247, said, "The social aspects in the presentation show Nintendo realises people now need to be constantly connected through their digital devices, but my concern is that the entire system appears to be closed. Without a wholesale embrace of Twitter and Facebook I think you have to ask serious questions about how well Nintendo understands the social networking space."
The E3 video game conference which is to start on Tuesday in Los Angeles is to see a couple of major announcements. With Microsoft and Sony announcing developments in their respective Kinect and cloud gaming businesses and LucasArts announcing a new ‘mature’ Star Wars game.