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How Nintendo Network could one-up Playstation Network & Xbox Live

written by Alain over 4 years ago with 9 lives

Nintendo Network

It's no secret that Nintendo Network (formerly Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection) has always been far weaker than XBOX Live and Playstation Network in terms of functionality and design. With the advent of the Wii U and, to some extent, the 3DS, Nintendo has been increasing their competitiveness, but they still lack in a few notable areas such as account portability, voice chat and matchmaking.

At this point, it seems quite clear that Nintendo aren't going to be trying to compete based on feature sets. Even so, there is one thing they could do to trump Apple, Sony and Microsoft: open up the online network's data. In 2005, when the Nintendo Network launched, Nintendo provided rudimentary statistics on their website such as player counts and top winners which Nintendo Network communities (including Witendofi) promptly scraped and used to create their own graphs. In fact, Witendofi even exposed some statistics that weren't publicly visible.

The good times had to come to an end, however, as Nintendo blocked 3rd-party tricks to scrape the data and a few months later completely took down all Nintendo Network statistics.

On November 18th, 2012, Nintendo introduced the Wii U, and along with it, the Miiverse, a kind of social network for Wii U owners. The Miiverse is promised to be available for viewing on computers and mobile phones some time in 2013, but I think that Nintendo could do one better and create an API (application programming interface) that lets developers extract and write data from and to the Nintendo Network and Miiverse for use in 3rd-party websites. Developers can be highly imaginative, and opening this data up for creative purposes would, without a doubt, result in some extremely cool applications.

Imagine being able to edit your Mii online, visualize your playing history through interactive charts and graphs and automatically post to your Twitter or Facebook whenever you share something on Miiverse. Websites could keep track of games that you play and recommend others or offer you deals based on what you spend the most time on. That's what I could come up with after a minute of brainstorming, but there are so many possibilities that it would be tiresome to write them all out. Nintendo could enjoy the wealth of creativity and skill of their fan-base with relatively little work.

Would Nintendo ever do this? More than likely not, because of potentially nefarious and inappropriate uses of the data. Though, to me it seems like a shame that Nintendo would pass up such a wonderful opportunity because of a few bad apples.

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