The curtains have closed on Nintendo’s family-friendly social network, Miiverse. All games that made use of the service will now be devoid of any posts. The Wara Wara Plaza on the Wii U HOME menu will no longer show updated posts from any of the communities; just the generic ones you see when the console isn’t connected to the Internet.
Launched alongside the Wii U back in November 2012, Miiverse was a haven for Nintendo gamers. It featured communities that were specific to every game and app on Wii U and 3DS, which allowed players to post what they wanted about the games (as long as it wasn’t risqué). Moderators would closely monitor user posts to make sure the network was free from the typical toxicity, profanity, and raunchiness that you see on other social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
All of this made Miiverse a pretty special network: it was a clean space for gamers to connect with one another. While platforms like Facebook and Twitter are much more massive, neither of them are completely dedicated to gaming. Many gamers who have accounts with those services tend not to share too much gaming-related stuff on there because their friends list/followers don’t mostly consist of other gamers. Since Miiverse is all about gaming, that eliminated the sense of ‘awkwardness’.
Miiverse was fairly popular through most of its life. When the initial announcement of its closure first came to light, a number of fans were incredibly upset. So, why did Nintendo decide to pull the plug? It’s simple, really—money.
Being a completely free service with no revenue opportunity like ad placements, Nintendo made virtually nothing from Miiverse. When you take into consideration that the cost of running servers is quite high, Miiverse likely had become a money vacuum after consumer attention began shifting away from Wii U and 3DS over to the Switch. Nintendo is planning to launch a new subscription-based network in 2018 for the Switch called Switch Online; Miiverse definitely doesn’t fit in that business model, hence the reason why it hasn’t been brought over to the new system. Even so, it’s sad to see the service go.
No doubt, Miiverse will go down in history as an incredibly charismatic entry in the already somewhat lengthy list of crazy Nintendo ‘experiments’, if you want to call it that. It didn’t take the gaming world by storm, but it sure did appeal to a number of folks in the Nintendo community. Being able to share tips, tricks, cool moments, hand-drawings and beautiful screenshots is what made the platform so fun. When it launched alongside the Wii U, it gave a strong indication that Nintendo was really beginning to embrace the age of the Internet. After the company’s archaic network infrastructure on Wii and DSi, having something like Miiverse and the eShop on the Wii U and 3DS seemed almost like a dream.
In a weird, almost annoying sort of way, Miiverse will continue to live on as a useless little icon on the HOME screens of 3DS and Wii U systems everywhere. For some reason, Nintendo will not be removing them via system updates. Tapping on them now will only result in an error message popping up, serving as a reminder of ‘what once was’.
Ultimately, Miiverse had a good run. It wasn’t groundbreaking, but it was certainly a lot of fun while it lasted. Hopefully, Nintendo has learned a lot from the service and will incorporate its best features one way or another into the Switch Online infrastructure.
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