Nintendo is looking to revolutionize the social networking aspect of gaming with the Wii U through a new service dubbed Miiverse which, if you haven't figured it out by now, is short for Mii and Universe.
"Wii changed changed the way friends and families interacted in the living room," Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said during Nintendo's pre-E3 press briefing, "turning the living room into a kind of playground."
"Today, Wii U does what we did, only better, and at hte same time it is also something entirely new. Not only can it connect people in a better way, but it also connects people living room to living room in a much more compelling way."
So how will it work? When booting up the Wii U, you will be brought into a Mii Wara Wara, which is sort of a gathering place for all Wii U players. The term describes a kind of gathering place and represents the general noise of commotion created by a crowd. Miis that you will see include your Mii, Miss on your Wii U system, your friend's Miis, and Miis on the Wii U that are from your country or speak your language that are playing the same games as you.
Here you will see general chat from Miis in the form of speech bubbles. While it offers speech bubbles, communication is not constrained to just text. It will also allow for handwritten notes and you will be able to add images or facial expressions to your chat. You will also be able to share screenshots from your own gameplay experience and transmit content from gameplay you created yourself. This is all native on the Wii U and Miiverse will actually interactive directly with all Wii U games.
The purpose behind this social network is not only to add information, but to also adds "a new degree of empathy between players".
During the pre-briefing, we saw a cheesy commercial that actually showed off a pretty helpful feature: the ability to find help on a certain part of a game if you are stuck. Using the Miiverse, you can ask questions to others stuck on similar parts and work together to find a solution. This can be in the form of text or video through the Wii U GamePad's webcam feature.
"Not only does Wii U offer players a way to connect across great distance, but they can also enjoy a sense of connection even when not playing at the same time," Iwata explained. "Players will be able to compete with others online, but with the Miiverse even the single player game, even when not competing or cooperating, even when games are not designed for online interaction, Miiverse can connect your living room to those with others regardless of space or time."
At first glance, Miiverse may just seem like Nintendo's way of playing catch up to Xbox LIVE and PlayStation Network. In a way, it is. Yes, you can see friends online and chat with them, but it looks like Nintendo is putting more of an emphasis on connecting gamers.
The service, which functions on the Nintendo Network, will eventually be possible to access from the Wii U and other mobile devices like 3DS, your cell phone, and even PC.