So I was working on a new update to the PC Platformers Game Opinion Summaries article, when… Starcraft Remastered released, and I’ve barely played anything else since since the original Starcraft is my favorite game ever and it is still incredibly addictive. I will write something about that game once I find the words, but for now I have something else to say a little about, a recent very bad decision of Nintendo’s.
Miiverse is a social network slash forum system that Nintendo set up. It supports the Wii U and 3DS, and can run on those platforms or over the web. In Miiverse there are some general areas, but the main focus is game-specific; you can search by game, bookmark individual game Miiverse sections, and more. Every single game on the 3DS and Wii U has a Miiverse section, and those sections have three parts: one which posts Miiverse status updates tagged with that games’ name, one where people post drawings related to that game, and one which is a forum section for posting threads with comments about the game. It’s a pretty well-designed system. I care quite a bit about categorization, so this setup, with a separate page for every single game on the service, is something I really like. Having separate categories for every game is a lot better than having only one giant mess of a forum where everything goes in together, or worse, having nothing at all!
Indeed, Nintendo calls Miiverse a social network, but while it has an element of that to it, I have used it differently: as a game-information resource. Built-in game-specific forums where you can discuss games and look up information for help about those games, in a forum specific to that game no matter how obscure it is, in a service built in to the system’s OS? That’s a fantastic idea, and while I may not have posted much at all on Miiverse, I absolutely have used it for game information. For many of the more obscure indie games on the 3DS and Wii U Miiverse is one of the only places online with much of any information about some titles. Miiverse is great and should continue on. Miiverse is kind of like the game-specific forums Steam and GOG have, except for a console, and it’s just as useful. Sure, console games have fewer technical issues to discuss on a forum than PC games will, but as Miiverse game communities show there is still a lot of value in this kind of service and it not replaceable; again, where else on the internet would I find actual helpful gameplay info about Alien Cleanup Elite for the Wii U? Nowhere, I think, if not for Miiverse.
Now, I’m sure it has other issues, but for perhaps my largest complaint, I wish that it was easier to get into a games’ Miiverse page — for instance, if you launch Miiverse while a game is running you should be able to go straight into that games’ page, instead of having to manually type in and search for the games’ name first, I do not understand why this was not simplified — but you can add communities to a quick-access list once you have been to them once, so at least in the future it gets a bit simpler. The solution to this is to improve Miiverse for the Switch, of course. Build on its successes, and improve on the shortcomings.
However, either in a misguided effort to abandon everything about the Wii U just because it failed to sell or in order to cut costs, Nintendo decided to not integrate Miiverse into their new hit console the Nintendo Switch. This led to rumors that it would be shutting down, and recently Nintendo confirmed this with an announcement that Miiverse will shut down far sooner than is reasonable or decent — Nintendo is completely shutting down Miiverse on November 7th: ttps://miiverse.nintendo.net/posts/…AAADV44YslslXw . Once it closes, Miiverse will be completely gone. Games that have Miiverse integration will be broken after that point, and those elements of the games won’t work. The main home screen on the Wii U and the Splatoon plaza now won’t have any other players’ messages shown on them, Mario Maker levels will have no comments, Affordable Space Adventures’ ending will be kind of broken, and more. It sounds like Mario & Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (3DS/Wii U) will be the worst-affected title, as even level download online won’t work in the game after Miiverse is gone, so I and anyone else interested in the game really should get it before then! I really liked the final DS M&DK game, which I think that one is similar to, so I will get it soon for sure. You get both versions with one purchase, which is nice.
Seriously, completely shutting down Miiverse this year is such an obnoxiously awful thing to do! Sure the Wii U is fading out, but people are still playing it. Splatoon and Mario Maker particularly still have healthy active online communities. Additionally, the 3DS still has good upcoming releases going into next year, and Miiverse is very much a thing there. And breaking major elements of a lot of your Wii U and 3DS games for no good reason — because seriously, Nintendo has the money to keep Miiverse up, it can’t be that expensive! — is really not good for consumers. The small amount of money Nintendo will save on server and moderation costs is in no way worth the loss Nintendo platform owners will suffer because of this mistake.
So, I think that while it was not perfect, Miiverse is a great idea and a pretty good service. I have not posted much at all on Miiverse, but it is a valuable resource for game information either way. It’s really unfortunate and, in my opinion, a mistake that Nintendo is abandoning the idea of running their own network and is now saying “just use Facebook and Twitter and stuff”, because those aren’t the same at all! Miiverse’s Game-specific pages are a completely different and far more useful thing than a generic social network full of everything. I want a place to look for information about this specific game on, not some giant social network to attempt to search through, and probably fail to find the relevant information on. Miiverse’s level of categorization is really nice.
So, instead of being somewhat cruelly obnoxious as Nintendo is being, they should have continued Miiverse on and made it a part of the Switch as well. It’s unfortunate that Nintendo is making the big mistake of shutting it down, because consoles need game-information forums like this. They are fantastic sources of information on PC game-distribution services like Steam and GOG, and consoles should have something similar as well… and the Wii U and 3DS do right now, if only Nintendo had realized how good an idea it was to keep them. Too bad.