Social features in games have become “very important” if not “mandatory,” says Iwata

Thursday, 23 August 2012 19:44 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has described MiiVerse, the social network for Wii U, as a bit like Facebook for Nintendo fans, with a few exceptions.

Speaking with Kotaku, Iwata feels in the current climate, a social in games is “very important” if not “mandatory.”

“We have reached an era where even a single-player game experience [can] have a social component that is very important,” he said. “And I think, again, that social component is mandatory.

“Of course the Internet does provide a lot of that interaction, but it’s not built for that purpose. For example, Facebook is something that connects you socially with a lot of different folks, but that doesn’t guarantee that the people you are going to have interactions with via Facebook are interested in games. And what I’m saying is that I don’t believe that the life experiences that you have—and those might be with the people you are connected with on Facebook—are not equal to the gaming experiences you might have with a lot of different folks.

“I feel that we need to create—or present—a gaming platform as the place to create that ‘social graph’ for folks who are in gaming circles, I guess. So that’s kind of the reason for creating Miiverse.”

Iwata used Xbox Live as an example of a service which allows people to play “with folks at different locations at the same time,” something Nintendo plans to offer with Wii U in an sense.

“If you look at gaming services, for example if you look at Xbox Live, one of the more traditionally or generally accepted features of the gaming service is the ability to play with folks at different locations at the same time,” he said. “On the other hand, you’re not always going to be available at the same time to play with each other.

“And of course we’re going to have that service of head-to-head [multiplayer, when you are] on at the same time playing games against each other, but what we really want to do is create a place where folks who are playing by themselves will not feel like they are playing by themselves.

“They’ll be able to share those experiences and have that empathy that we mentioned earlier.”

Wii U is currently without a concrete release date, but Nintendo is holding a press event in New York City on September 13, so hopefully an exact date and price will be announced at that time.