When it comes to providing gamers with online options, Nintendo has been in a distant third behind Sony and Microsoft. While the company has been providing more and more online opportunities over the years with such games as Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart 8, many players feel that these features are “second rate” compared to what Sony and Microsoft have to offer with their PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, respectively.
However, it appears that Nintendo may finally be “getting it,” and preparing to move its Nintendo Network into a more casual place for gamers to enjoy a variety of services. The Japanese video game hardware/software company discussed its strategy during a Semi-Annual Financial Results Briefing last week, according to TechCrunch.
One key feature it’s finally introducing is the ability to “pre-load” games, allowing users to purchase and download a title before its official release, so that it’s ready to go the moment it officially releases. This enables players to get right into the action, instead of having to wait for the game to download – which could pose a problem depending on how badly servers are getting slammed. The company will officially introduce this feature with Super Smash Bros. with the Wii U later this month, and other games to come for both the console and the 3DS handheld.
In addition, players can also purchase games directly through Nintendo’s site, rather than having to log into the eShop on their consoles in order to buy games. Of course, the catch is having to log in to the site with their game login, so their purchases match up.
Finally, Nintendo is looking to optimize online game performance, as it’s done previously this year with Mario Kart 8. One big title that will test this is Super Smash Bros. when it releases on November 21st, as it’s likely to be a huge party favorite with Nintendo Network users. If the company plays its cards right, it could also see a boost in its online MiiVerse feature, which enables users to post messages using items from games.
Obviously, Nintendo still has a ways to go to make the Nintendo Network accessible for all users – and a few glitches to overcome as well. However, forward progress beats none at all, and 2015 will certainly be a year when it can give its all with online-compatible games, including upcoming releases like StarFox and the all-ages shooting game Splatoon.