With the Wii U launch coming up on November 18, 2012, it’s unsurprising to see Nintendo host yet another Nintendo Direct episode devoted to the system so players know exactly what they’re coming into should they buy a Wii U. This week’s was especially informative, as it was all about the Wii U user accounts, called Nintendo Network IDs, as well as some voice chat tidbits and information about a day-one Wii U update.
The Wii U user system will use accounts, finally, which are called Nintendo Network IDs. Your eShop purchases are tied to these and you’ll share them with friends/strangers/people if you want to play games online with them. Nintendo’s finally learned we hate Friend Codes and has joined Sony and Microsoft in the present by allowing us to swap usernames instead. Go us! Getting one is easy and only requires you to pick a name, decide on a password, enter your birthday, give your address and provide an email address.
What’s handy is, a single Wii U can be tied to a bunch of Nintendo Network IDs. As many as 12 users can be tied to one Wii U. When the Wii U is turned on, you’ll see the WaraWara Plaza where you choose the account you want to play as. Your Nintendo Network ID has eShop purchases, game saves, bookmarks and settings attached to it. Don’t worry too much about the eShop purchases part, as everyone on a Wii U system can share eShop purchases. So say Nintendo Network ID user Andy buys a Virtual Console game and downloads it to the shared Wii U in the living room. Even though Andy bought it, Sandy and Xandy also have their Nintendo Network IDs on that Wii U and can play Andy’s Virtual Console game when they log into the system. It’s a pretty nice bonus.
Also, the Nintendo Network ID won’t just work on the Wii U. Nintendo will allow people to long into the Nintendo Network on their computers and smartphones, presumably for shopping purposes. That’s another step forward! Good for Nintendo.
I wonder if a 3DS firmware update could bring the Nintendo Network ID feature to the 3DS. It seems like it’d be incredibly handy, especially if someone were to decide to switch systems and wanted to pick up all their old eShop purchases. An idea like that would also make a lot of sense though and the Nintendo Direct specifically said it would be put into future Nintendo platforms. Perhaps we’ll see it on the 3DS XL Advance, because you know Nintendo’s got another variation of the 3DS up its sleeve.
There’s one last thing Wii U owners need to know. If you buy a Wii U and want to access Miiverse, shop in the eShop or use the internet browser, you have to connect to the internet the moment you get your Wii U out of the box. Apparently, all those functions aren’t immediately available on a Wii U. They’re only available if you perfect a day-one update to install all that additional, pretty much necessary content to your system. Considering how many people will be getting a Wii U at launch, that update might take a while.