User accounts hit Wii U with Nintendo Network

It looks like Nintendo may just join Microsoft and Sony in at least one element of the console stakes, even if it’s one generation later than the competition.

As part of an investor presentation, Satoru Iwata has revealed plans for the Nintendo Network, an all-new network for Nintendo devices including (at this stage) the 3DS and upcoming Wii U. Details are still slim on the ground, but it looks like we may finally have a networking opportunity similar to Xbox Live running on Nintendo‘s next console.

Nintendo Network

...does what it says on the tin!

In the future, it will include “competitions and communication among users,” says Iwata. Expect digital content sales as well, and you’ve got the important bases covered. At this stage, we’ve already actually seen part of the Network in action, with the “Community” building functionality of Mario Kart 7 – this is going to become a “regular part” of 3DS and Wii U releases.

Rest easy with the knowledge that Nintendo Network is not just a rebranded Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Instead, it’s an all new network supporting a unified account-based system: Your account will not be tied to your hardware.

…so, when can you expect all of this? There’s still no release date for the Wii U, despite retailer claims to the contrary, but Iwata has promised that the new console will launch – worldwide – “before Christmas”. He also promises that it’ll bring a strong launch lineup with it, and says we can expect plenty more online news from Big N in the coming days.

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