The Wii U has launched in the United States and news is beginning to trickle in regarding the online experience, specifically the Nintendo Network.
Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 owners are used to having the same login on multiple machines but the new Nintendo Network Account is locked to the specific machine where it was created. You will not be able to spread downloaded content across multiple machines as the Wii U support page states the following:
Once an NNA has been created, it can be deleted from the system. However it cannot usually be transferred to a different Wii
We suspect that under certain circumstances – the console breaking or being stolen perhaps – Nintendo will relent and allow the account to be transferred but apart from that, once you have purchased any games or DLC it is locked to the one console on which it was purchased. Nintendo do allow multiple users accounts per console so a family with two children could both have their own login and access any content but obviously not at the same time.
The Wii U help page has some rather bizarre wording on it:
A Nintendo Network Account can only be used on the console where it was created. In the future, you will be able to use your Nintendo Network Account with future Nintendo consoles and other devices, such as PC’s.
Future Nintendo consoles? Well that’s kind of handy for when the Wii-U 2 comes out in 2017 but it’s rather useless now. Being able to access your account via PC may be uselful if you start using the Wii U as a media centre but, with only a small hard drive, that is unlikely. Perhaps using your NNA on your PC could enable remote queueing of downloads in the future, a feature still lacking from the PS3 and very much valued on the Xbox 360.[drop2]A one off fee of $0.50 to create a NNA account for users aged under thirteen is also required. The payment is obviously designed so parents are aware that their child is going to be using the console online but it is non-refundable, which seems strange when refunded micro-charges has long been a security check with other services ensuring your credit card info belongs to you.
There has also been a number of reports of other minor (or not so) irritations surrounding the Wii U launch. Issues with a large (although not 5GB as some are reporting, it’s around a 1 – 1.5 GB download) day one system patch which takes a long time to download and install, for example. That might speed up as the demand for bandwidth drops off but for the huge number of eager Christmas morning Wii U unwrappers, it’ll be such a disappointment to then have to sit for an hour or two and watch a progress bar.
We’ve also seen reports that the game save slots are per machine, rather than per account (or unlimited). So the traditional three save slots on a Super Mario game exist for New Super Mario Bros. 2 but those are the same three save slots, regardless of the user account that’s logged in. Nintendo Land, the system-demonstrating deluxe model pack-in compilation, has a single save slot and it’s machine-wide, apparently.
Of course, a lot of these quirks might easily be fixed by future system software patches. You might remember how the Xbox 360 dashboard was completely unrecognisable from how it is now or that the PlayStation 3’s firmware was very basic until it got up around the 1.8 – 2.0 update around a year after release. But many are still worried that the lack of expected features, and the persisting idea that Nintendo is a touch naive with its user account and online systems, might indicate an operating system that was rushed out on hardware that’s not quite perfected yet.
The Wii U launches in the UK at the end of the month and is expected to sell extremely well in the busy Christmas shopping period. Let us know in the comments what you think of Nintendo’s account policy and the other bits of info filtering through about the first in the next generation of console releases.
Some sections of this news article were added by Peter Chapman