After being rumored for the past few weeks, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has confirmed the forthcoming launch of Nintendo's own complete online service, known simply as Nintendo Network.
The online service will service as the direct replacement for past Nintendo attempts at online gaming, such as the much maligned Wi-Fi Connection and Friend Codes along with allowing for paid downloadable content, such as in the next game to support the service in Final Fantasy: Theatrhythm, which will feature additional songs for purchase. Iwata said the following about Nintendo Network during yesterday's earnings call:
“Unlike Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, which has been focused upon specific functionalities and concepts, we are aiming to establish a platform where various services available through the network for our consumers shall be connected via Nintendo Network service so that the company can make comprehensive proposals to consumers.”
Currently, Mario Kart 7 features support for Nintendo Network, but the actual service will launch officially with the release of Theaterhythm next month. Along with DLC support, Nintendo Network will also support sales and downloads of complete games along with online gaming and multimedia, with the goal of making it the main online service for the 3DS and Wii U.
Iwata did stress that sales of complete games over Nintendo Network would be done taking its current retailer partnerships into account, as retailers typically took a dim view over Sony's attempt at selling PSP games over PlayStation Network with the PSPgo.