The lights are on
The Wii U's homescreen offers something akin to the Wii's Mii Plaza, only with social-networking functionality built into it. Nintendo showed off the new feature, dubbed Miiverse, during its stage presentation. If you thought it would function similarly to PictoChat or SwapNote, you're kind of right. You're also kind of wrong, too.
The L.A. Times is reporting that posts made in the Wiiverse won't be immediately visible to other users. According to Nintendo's president, Satoru Iwata, posts will face three different levels of screening, which will create a delay between the moment you press "send" and when your message pops up.
First, your message will be screened by filtering software. That'll block obvious profanity and other potentially objectionable content. People will also be able to report posts from other users. But what's to keep people from scrawling curse words or pictures of genitalia through the built-in drawing tools? The intermediate process is a bit more interesting, and it's designed with that in mind. According to Iwata, Nintendo will hire people to manually sift through updates before pushing them live onto the Miiverse. That kind of intervention is bound to create some kind of bottleneck, isn't it? Nintendo acknowledges the difficult position it's in, balancing the immediacy of messaging with the need for the Miiverse to fit with Nintendo's family-friendly image.
“The attraction of a social network is the immediacy of the feedback,” Iwata says. He also recognizes that there's bound to be a lag when people have to eyeball all those posts – a potentially mind-boggling volume, if the Wii U approaches the Wii's popularity. Iwata offered a ballpark estimate for what kind of delay users might expect to see. “[P]ersonally, I think 30 minutes should be acceptable,” he said.
We don't know how friend lists work on Wii U, and if having people on your list somehow circumvents the approval process. The console supports video chatting, too, which could create a host of other issues. Will Nintendo be putting those on a seven-second delay?
Email the author Jeff Cork, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.