With the Nintendo Wii U due to launch later this year, company president Satoru Iwata today further explained how we can expect user accounts to work on the system.
As part of a Nintendo Direct video stream, he explained that each Wii U console will have accounts that each user will need to sign up for. This is a first for a Nintendo console, as the company has never required you sign in to any sort of account to access any of its systems before.
Up to 12 of these accounts, known as "users" and each assigned a Mii character, can be created on one Wii U console and allow family members or friends keep their own save data and play history separate from everyone else who uses the same console.
Alongside these user accounts, only a single Nintendo Network ID sign-up is required that works for all users. This allows purchases to be made from the online eShop and access to the Miiverse, and essentially acts as the new "friend code" system. Purchases made from the eShop will then be accessible by all user accounts on that system.
The ID will also act as a gateway for other devices. "We plan to work together on various other network services with different software developers via Nintendo Network," notes Iwata. "You can use each software developer's service using your Nintendo Network ID."
Your Nintendo Network ID can also be utilized elsewhere. You'll be able to use your ID for other future Nintendo hardware (although Iwata didn't mention whether they'll be an update for the Nintendo 3DS to introduce the ID to the handheld), and from next year, your ID will also be used on PC and smartphone devices to access the eShop and Miiverse away from the Wii U console.
The Wii U console is due for release on November 18 in the U.S., and the company hopes that the aforementioned built-in Miiverse social network will lead to cheap game discovery, amongst other positives.