Nintendo’s Wii U Launch Prompts a Litany of Complaints from Early Adopters

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.

Source: Nintendo via Gameranx

Some sections of this news article were added by Peter Chapman



  1. Nintendo should have got feature parity for what’s expected in the online arena in the modern day sorted out prior to launch, but I’d expect them to respond to user feedback over the coming months just like Microsoft & in particular Sony did.

    Microsoft obviously cut their teeth on the original Xbox… Sony did so in the first year of the PS3 launch & certainly in its first few months… Nintendo don’t have a year they need sort out these issues quick.

    On the PS3, remember Blu-rays playing in SD unless you had a rare & expensive as feck 1080p TV (at the time)… Patched a few months after release so it could output in the more common 720p too.
    Or having to watch a progress bar for a download because there was no background downloading despite that already being a feature on the 360… which was already on the marketplace? Achievements were a convention at the time, later added. Hell, they still don’t have a joined up way of game invites & game launching into same lobbies… Tons of things were added to PS3 within months.

    For their sakes I’d hope Nintendo can do the same, because next year when the PS4 & Xbox marketing machine kicks in, there is no room for niggles or gaps where a feature should be.

  2. The Wii U is really for Nintendo fans who want HD.

  3. Nintendo should have just looked at how MS and Sony provide their online services and said ‘they’re doing it right, everybody loves it so let’s copy it’. No one would blame them seeing as it’s what people expect from their online experience. The linking an account to one system is ridiculous as well. If you move on to a new system you should be able to take everything with you and not have to buy it all again. This just shows how behind the times Nintendo are with online services.

    • Not sure I’d choose to mimic Sony, or even Microsoft for online services when there’s Steam to copy from!

      Totally agree with your point though: it’s not like any of this is undiscovered country, is it?

      • Oooops…forgot about steam :/

        Surely Nintendo can see that there are working formulas out there and by not following this they are alienating themselves again. Is it stupidity, arrogance or some other otherwordly power that stops them from just doing what is necessary for online gaming.

      • I was a bit shocked reading this article, having had a few consoles and knowing in the back of my mind that they work quite hard and can forgivably pack in after a few years (less forgivable if its 12 months and a day!) I’m sure many will want the option of being able to sign in on any machine. Even a limited number of one at a time is fine, but one for the forseeable is a dodgy decision. I’m with on on Steam, their hardware check is essential given the perpetually changing nature of PCs, and is a shining example of a good security feature with perfect flexibility.

    • I don’t know, I think Gamersgate is a good system, much prefer it over Steam maybe even GOG could be considered? but I’m not sure.

  4. I don’t know what they gain from locking NNA to machines. Silly. In likelyhood of the system failing I’m sure it’ll create a pandemic of Nintendo Migraine though probably not as worst has Microsoft Migraine.

    • …oh and Sony, its explainable. Having to wait for so long to see progress bars in downloads/transfers…bricking.

  5. This is unbelievable! Are they really trying to bury themselves before Christmas?

  6. There’s a NeoGAF thread which seems to suggest that pretty much every WiiU is randomly locking up, for some people as many as 3 times per day (even happened a few times on the Giant Bomb livestream). Gotta hope for Nintendo’s sake that it’s a software issue.

  7. That is pathetic and Ninty are usually the ones that don’t release consoles that break on day 1 or have major problems. :O The firmware update should have already been installed instead of forcing users to download it on day 1. And i’ve heard from Phil aka that grumpy Irish bloke that if you lose connection to ninty’s servers whilst downloading and installing a patch, it will brick your console. And having a 1GB patch on a console that only has 25GB harddrive(not sure how much it actually has) is unacceptable. Also, Ninty has managed to beat Sony for the slowest download speed apparently.

    Why lock the account to one console? As most users hate having an account locked to one machine.

  8. Considering the Wii U launches in about ten days time I’ve seen very little about it in the media. I didn’t realise it was so close until I read this post.

  9. I’m outraged,but it’s ok as i now have internet explorer on the 360.

  10. nintendo, will you never learn?

    still so out of touch.

    their so called online service is going to be shown up as an anachronism.
    it’s out of date compared to this generations machines, it’s going to look archaic next gen, which is what it’ll end up being judged against.

    accounts not transferable to another machine?
    yeah because nobody will ever need to do that will they?
    region locked?
    in the days of instant worldwide access to content that kind of restriction isn’t totally backwards.

    and saves for the machine, not per account?
    it’s not like they’re charging people for accounts and not letting them have their own saves is it?
    oops. >_>

    seriously, a decade ago those things might have been acceptable, but this is 2012.
    somebody tell nintendo that it’s 2012, not 1982.

    does anybody know if this thing will even play CDs?

    oh and i just found this.

    suddenly scee don’t see quite as pathetic in comparison. o_O
    but, still pretty pathetic.

    • and the whole charging for a childs account, just doesn’t sit right with me.
      maybe it’s the cynic in me but i can’t help viewing it as less about “protecting children” than it is about getting peoples card details.

      figures that’s the only up to date thing they’ve done with this machine.

    • also, with the saves, i’d imagine support saves per account would have to be coded into the software itself, so maybe the accounts system wasn’t finalised in time for the launch titles, and a one gig+ firmware update certainly implies a few things weren’t finalised until very late in the day.

      so that could be fixed with later titles.

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