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Miiverse: Much more than a social network, says Nintendo

Miiverse: Much more than a social network, says Nintendo

June 5, 2012 | By Christian Nutt

At a special post-E3 event at the LA Convention Center, Nintendo producers Takashi Tezuka and Katsuya Eguchi outlined the Miiverse service, the social engine for the Wii U.

Miiverse, in the view of Eguchi -- who's also the producer of the Animal Crossing series -- is "a reliable system to find friends online and become friends with them."

On the other hand, said Tezuka, producer of the New Super Mario Bros. games, "I think there may be some people who think of Miiverse as a social media messaging board within Wii U, but that's not what it is."

In fact, the functions of Miiverse will change from game to game, the pair revealed. "How Miiverse is utilized really depends on the design of each individual game," Tezuka said.

In Nintendo Land, the collection of minigames the company unveiled today, it offers "an opportunity to make friends within the park," said Eguchi.

"It's really fun for me to be able to talk with other people who are playing the same game, and sharing information about tactics, or maybe difficult parts of the game."

Meanwhile, New Super Mario Bros. U uses it in two ways, according to Tezuka.

"If you keep falling into the same pit and dying, the game will ask you, 'How do you feel about this situation?'" said Tezuka. Users can post their comments (in speech bubbles that look a lot like Tweets.)

At the same time, "if you have a really excellent run" at the game, you might trigger an opportunity to post -- in other words, a socially charged Xbox-style achievement. These are specific conditions, such as clearing a section of the game quickly or grabbing several hard-to-reach coins in one shot.

"A lot of different conditions... will give you the opportunity to express your feelings about how you're playing, in Miiverse," said Tezuka. "This allows people who don't even know each other to share their experiences, because they're playing the same game."

Eguchi was particularly keen on the idea that players who are playing the same game can share with each other. "I know that on the internet there are plenty of message boards and whatnot... but I hate when people go to message boards and complain about games that they never played, and I'd like to have a system you can go to someone, and talk to someone about a game, and you know the person has played the game."

"As the producer of Animal Crossing, I often hear a lot of opinions from people who say, 'I have a hard time finding friends to share my Animal Crossing experience with online'," said Eguchi. By letting players make new friends, this will alow these players to enjoy "an experience like Animal Crossing to its fullest."

There's even "a system built into Miiverse to avoid spoilers," said Eguchi -- players can mark their own posts as spoilers or flag other users' posts for Nintendo to review. He also said the company will be "aggressively pursuing" a "pleasant environment" where people "don't feel scared or threatened" or "uncomfortable" due to other users' behavior.

"You want to be able to trust someone before you become friends with them," said Eguchi.

For more reports from E3 2012, be sure to check out Gamasutra's live coverage.

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