Miiverse is a great social network for Nintendo fans - a combination of reddit and twitter, a good way to share experiences, get advice, some nice humour and due to nintendo’s (too strict) moderation, always a pleasant experience. It is also a service they constantly tweak, there have been over a dozen updates in the consoles first year, all slowly improving the experience - web apps, 3DS implementation, tags, increased character count etc. They’re always small, but always improvements.
Now that’s not to say there isn’t a long way to go, we genuinely believe Miiverse can be an excellent social network that not only more Wii U and 3DS owners actively use, but become the hub for Nintendo’s much needed, improved online strategy (which we will detail our thoughts on in the coming weeks).
Here are 5 things Nintendo should do to help turn Miiverse into a fantastic social network.
On the Wii U you can instant message anyone on your friends list, fair enough. And it is instant, we’ve tested it. Now there needs to be messaging on the 3DS and web apps, especially now letter box has gone (not that that was ever a reasonable messaging alternative). But gamers would use the messaging feature much more than they do now if we could access and send messages away from the Wii U. We could be at college, or work and want to arrange a game with a friend for later on; the more ways we can access our messages, the more we will send and the more communication we will have with other nintendo fans.
BECOME MORE OF A SOCIAL NETWORK
This includes taking ideas from other social networks. Being able to repost miiverse posts, being able to @ tag friends, let us save draft messages, post other pictures (you moderate it anyway so why not let us?) - it would all encourage more people to use the service and be a fantastic way of having Nintendo in peoples minds all the time, when they’re away from the machines. Maybe I don’t want to tweet or facebook this funny picture of Link I found, I’ll post it on Miiverse instead. Miiverse could be the go-to place for Nintendo fans. Oh, and lose the follower and following limits.
IMPROVE THE U.I
The service is incredibly slow, and still buggy. Not only does it take far too long to load my activity feed, on all devices it very often doesn’t show me the latest posts, but instead posts from hours ago, or all posts from one person. There’s no excuse for this. I don’t understand the technical aspects, but you need to speed it up greatly. Aside from this there are some other clumsy aspects - not being able to message someone from their profile is baffling, allow us to ENTER for new lines in postings, allow cut and paste, why is the friends list and miiverse separate (though thank you for making friend invites unified). Finally, why can’t we have more filters on our activity feed, maybe just games that we own, or just pictures, or even specific tags.
The flashing blue light is not even close to being a good enough notification system for messages and miiverse replies; improving this function will almost transform the online ineptitude of your systems. If we can have TV notifications of messages then it would make it so much easier to arrange online games, far too many times do I have private messages of people asking if I want to play online, but it’s too late; or I see friends playing Wii Sports and I know I can’t ask them if they want a game. But if there were TV notifications then we’d know, all of a sudden playing online wouldn’t be quite so painful with one easy step.
Now to improve it further, we could decide what notifications different tags have. So maybe there could be a range of notification styles - blue light flashes, blue light stays on, TV notification; I don’t know if this is possible but, like the Wii, could a light stay on the console itself to inform us when we’re not using the machine? We could then decide which TAGS have which notification. For example I would just have the normal blue flash for all miiverse posts , a permanent blue light for a Private Messages and posts I have been @ tagged in, and TV notifications for any friends posts with the tag GAME INVITE. And when you release (play say you are doing this) a proper mobile app I’d have the notifications thrown up there too in case I’m not playing at the time. It’s such a simple idea I can’t believe you haven’t done it.
DEEPER GAME CONNECTION
Some individual games use this feature brilliantly - Mario 3D World’s Stamps, Game and Wario, Wind Waker etc And some use it in a basic way - Wii Fit and Deus Ex’s auto posts for example, but even the basic uses are still great. We feel all games should use it when they can (and surely any game can have auto post functions), but Nintendo should allow further uses. Ultimately it needs to be more interactive, and have direct links to various aspects of the game. For example NES Remix posts high scores, we should be able to click on a miiverse post with a high-score and it takes us directly to that level, we play it, beat it, and it auto posts our new time to the NES Remix community and also @ tagging the person we original linked from. The reason we say auto-posting is to break down any initial effort to make posts, imagine on Mario Kart every new time trial we make gets posted on miiverse with this feature? It would be incredible.
More TAGS. I’ve already mentioned being able to tag a post with GAME INVITE to help online play. But why not ACCOMPLISHMENT too? This would allow us to express what we are proud of, not having a trophy for just finishing a level, but maybe we’ll want to post when we have finished the game, all high scores and fastest times, the moment we realise you can flip the switches in Mario 3D World with the touchpad, whatever we feel is an accomplishment. I will elaborate on this idea in next weeks article about a radical overhaul of the plaza, but even in this simple state it would be a nice addition. Along with that we could have FRIEND CHALLENGE and PICTURES (we all love looking at pictures). What other tags would you like to see?
Some small things
- can there be general console boards for broader comments - a Wii U miiverse and a 3DS miiverse, maybe even eShop and virtual console general boards
- can we have better “happy” expressions? At the minute we only have blow job and stroke face
- can we draw on pictures we send before posting?
These are just a few ideas that would overhaul the service and improve it greatly in our eyes, while also improving other important aspects like online gaming. In the coming weeks we will detail how Miiverse and these ideas are integral to other aspects to the Wii U and go into more detail on why we feel it is so important.