How Nintendo Hopes Miiverse Will Make Money Without A Subscription Fee

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Nintendo’s Wii U will have a central hub that will serve as the system’s online service, called “Miiverse”. Last month, prior to E3, Nintendo demonstrated Miiverse and explained its many functions, including a messaging system, a social media network-like “Wall” of sorts where you can post screenshots and communicate with other players, and a system that recommends games to users.


Nintendo don’t plan to charge a subscription fee for Miiverse. At an investor Q&A, company president, Satoru Iwata, confirmed: “We cannot promise here that Nintendo will always provide you with online services free of charge no matter how deep the experiences are that it may provide, but at least we are not thinking of asking our consumers to pay money to just casually get access to our ordinary online services.”


Instead, Iwata feels that Miiverse will help bring in profits in a different manner—by recommending games to Wii U users, and hopefully increasing the number of Wii U games sold in this way. Iwata says that Miiverse could, for instance, increase a casual user’s interest in certain games to a point where, instead of only buying two games a year, he’s willing to try out three or four games a year, based on recommendations.


“In short, we expect that online services will contribute to our profits in the form of increasing the number of games to be sold for one platform,” Iwata says. “From an economic standpoint, with that as an objective, the company is considering the necessary and appropriate services.”


While Miiverse will initially only be available on the Wii U, Nintendo also have plans to make it available on the Nintendo 3DS.

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Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.