Nintendo has officially unveiled its new online service entitled Nintendo Network, which will initially roll out to Nintendo 3DS users but will also come to the Wii U when it launches later this year.
Nintendo Network will offer users a number of services including competition and communication between users as well as the sales of digital content. Nintendo says that the infrastructure is already in place for the digital distribution of 3DS titles.
The Nintendo Network will also allow for the sale of downloadable add-on content with the Japanese title, Tobidasu Pricla Kiradeco Revolution, being the first game to offer this in-game purchasing while the upcoming new Final Fantasy title will also offer it.
Nintendo was careful to point out that these in-game purchases are very different to those seen in social games on the likes of smartphones and Facebook. The company said in its statement: “Please note that Nintendo, as a software maker, does not plan to deploy businesses where our consumers cannot know in advance which item will appear as the result of their payment and they have to repeat the payments and, before they know it, they end up spending a huge amount of money in order to obtain the items they originally wanted to purchase.”
On the Wii U, Nintendo will introduce a personal account system, compatible with Nintendo Network and which will replace the friends' code system which was not that well-received on the Wii.
Speaking of the Wii U, Nintendo also announced that it will be bringing a final format of the next-gen console to games trade show E3 in June, and it has announced that the Wii U controller will come with a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip.
Nintendo says this will make it possible to create cards and figurines that can electronically read and write data via noncontact NFC and to “expand the new play format in the video game world.” There will also be the ability to make micro-payments using the NFC chip.
The Wii U will be launching sometime between E3 in June and the end of 2012 in Europe, the US, Japan and Australia. Will you be buying one? Let us know in the comments.