The Problem With Wii U’s Online

Nintendo has done a great job of turning things around since the disastrous launch of the Wii U. With games like Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros., and their Amiibos selling like hotcakes; the future has never looked brighter for the system. Nintendo is hoping to continue this trend of excellent games with Splatoon, and based on previews of the upcoming shooter it is shaping up to be tons of fun. Not only will Splatoon be a great addition to the Wii U’s library this summer, it will fill the need the console has for online team based competitive online multiplayer games. Without the likes of Call of Duty or Battlefield, Splatoon will hopefully scratch the itch for anyone wanting some shooter action.

On a more negative note, without either Kart or Smash the Wii U would be almost completely dry of any compelling online experiences and this is troubling. Almost just as troubling is Nintendo’s stance on cross/in game voice chat. For example Splatoon has no chat option for multiplayer. A tactical shooter without voice chat isn’t all that tactical, and without it a layer of strategy is being stripped away. While it definitely isn’t a necessity, it is still something you would expect from an online game releasing in 2015. Instead of completely omitting chat from their games, why not give the consumer the choice by implementing some type of parental feature to ensure kids aren’t being harassed by adults and vice versa?

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Contrary to what Nintendo believes, online gaming is here to stay, and the longer it takes them to fully embrace online besides what they offer on their eShop, the harder it will be for them going forward to sell consoles to a gaming generation where everyone is connected to the internet. I love my Wii U. The potential for the console is tremendous, but simple things like no party chat and friend codes has held them back in the past. I’ve played online multiplayer on my 3DS more than I have on my Wii U. That’s insane. It’s not too late for them to acknowledge this, and hopefully by the release of whatever new console they are working on this will have been addressed.

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Don’t get me wrong, while these are glaring weaknesses for the console, there is also a ton Nintendo has done right concerning online on the system. The e-shop is incredibly easy to navigate and is pleasant to look at, and they have built a decent online community with the Miiverse. Lets not forget the virtual console.  Older gems like Mario 64, Donkey Kong 64, and Paper Mario are available to download for a mere 10 bucks. There is something for everyone here, and its all available at an incredible value.

The system isn’t the problem. The Wii U’s online infrastructure is much improved over its predecessor.  However, it still feels as if Nintendo is holding our hands. Give us cross game party chat options, and take the kid gloves off of your online titles. The Wii U is ahead of the competition as far as their online store is concerned, but its the lack of chat options and compelling online experiences that makes the Wii U’s online feel disconnected and barren.

 

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