At E3 Nintendo’s online services were shown off quite frequently, promising a high level of interaction and webcam chat as well as cross format interaction, however this may not all be free as they could possibly charge for “deep” online services at some point.
“We cannot promise that Nintendo will always provide you with online services free of charge no matter how deep the experiences are that it may provide.
“But at least we are not thinking of asking our consumers to pay money to just casually get access to our ordinary online services.”
Iwata believes that casual consumers would see no reason to subscribe to a service like Xbox Live or even PlayStation Plus.
“We have a wide variety of consumers, from the ones who enthusiastically play video games to those playing more casually, who are not always interested in them but try to play a game only when it has become a public topic or play it just during certain periods, like a year-end season and summer vacation.
“We therefore believe that services which ask our consumers to obtain paid memberships are not always the best.”
Iwata did state that even if the online network did remain free, the company would still benefit due to consumers wanting to buy and play more Nintendo titles to make use of this rich online community on the console.
“Even if we will not directly get paid by such online services,” said Iwata. “They will help build the circumstance where consumers are more constantly playing games on our platforms, which will increase the sales potential of new games, or a consumer who has played two games a year would be inclined to try three or four games a year. In short, we expect that online services will contribute to our profits in the form of increasing the number of games to be sold for one platform.”
Nintendo’s main online service for the Wii U will be Miiverse - a sort of online Mii Plaza with games.