With Sony busily working on PlayStation Home and Microsoft unleashing the NXE today, Nintendo is feeling left out and wants "in" on the community action too.
Like a lot of sputterings gaming officials briefly throw out as if viciously baiting eager fans simply for their amusement, sometimes it seems that companies also like to chime in on the success of their rivals. Case in point: just a few days before Microsoft released the New Xbox Experience, Nintendo of America’s president Reggie Fils-Aime comes out of the woodwork and claims that the company is working on a community concoction of its own.
"Nintendo has always had a vision on community," he says in this article even though the company forces consumers to use anonymous Friend Codes. "The issue is that we define community differently than our competitors. ... Our consumers do want a sense of community, and we’re going to deliver that—but in a way that is unique to Nintendo."
Given the company’s offbeat direction in regards to the Wii console and its approach to gaming on a whole, it will be interesting to see what the company will devise. The Wii console already offers a hint of "community" by allowing consumers to create avatars and share them with friends via the Mii Channel. Gamers can also participate in polls thorough the Everybody Votes Channel, participating in user-created surveys like "Do you believe an underwater civilization existed" and "What do you usually do first (shower or brush teeth)?" As uninteresting as it may sound, it’s curious to see the percentage of Wii users who voted one way and how many voted differently.
But as far as a true community is concerned, the Nintendo Wii currently doesn’t have it, and the lack of such a feature may or may not hurt the console in the coming months, depending on how well gamers take to the other two consoles’ offerings. Given the company’s present policy of policing communications between players, it will be interesting to see if consumers will take any attempt at launching a virtual community seriously, or as a complete joke. That will ultimately depend on Nintendo’s approach.
"What’s up G9EI1N3J6O8B3H5D. And what’s up with your avatar. It’s blurred."
"You need a special "unblock" code to see it, and I lost it."
"Oh. That’s lame."
Still, so far the console’s financial trajectory takes it well past the sales of rival consoles Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It’s unfortunate that Fils-Aime didn’t elaborate further on Nintendo’s community plans, but then again, it’s really no surprise. Don’t be surprised to see Nintendo’s big shocker reveal at E3 2009 (which coincidentally is supposed to go back to its massive overbloated roots).