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Nintendo hopes to use Wii U's Miiverse for cheap game discovery
Nintendo hopes to use Wii U's Miiverse for cheap game discovery
October 29, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

Game discovery problems have been a concern for developers across nearly every platform out there lately -- Nintendo believes its upcoming Miiverse social network could help Wii U game makers avoid those issues.

When Wii U launches in three weeks, the system will come with a built-in Miiverse social network that not only lets console owners communicate with each other, but also notifies users about games their friends and others are playing.

"The important mission of Miiverse is to create opportunities to let you know about [games you might not have heard of otherwise] without spending our finite advertising budget on it," said Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, explaining the feature at an investors briefing last week.

Many studios have struggled to get their games noticed in not just the saturated mobile app stores, but in the online game and console spaces as well. As a result, the tools and strategies for aiding game discovery have become a hot topic among developers, and most of Gamasutra's editors cited the problem as one console makers must address to make their next-gen consoles succeed.

The problem hasn't escaped Nintendo's attention, and Iwata said it's one his company contended with for several years after reaching such a wide audience with its popular DS and Wii systems. Though plenty of consumers were picking up titles like Wii Fit, the platform holder had difficulty directing them to the next game they should play.

"We had tried various actions and were able to show some results, but unfortunately we could not come up with the perfect answer," the president added. "Then the use rate of the hardware gradually decreased and people were starting to stop playing games during the gap period between releases of highly-anticipated game titles."

Iwata pointed out that in order for Miiverse to have as many opportunities as possible to reach users and expose them to new games, Nintendo has to look beyond just offering the social network on Wii U. That's why the company intends to also make the social network available on 3DSes, PC browsers, smartphones, tablets, and other web-capable devices.

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