The lights are on
First, the good news. Nintendo's latest 3DS update introduces the community-driven Miiverse to the handheld, and it's live now. Once you've updated your system, you'll be asked if you want to link to a Nintendo Network ID (different from a Club Nintendo account) or create a new one. Linking will allow you to share account activity and credit balance across systems.The Nintendo Network ID can't be linked to multiple systems at the same time, though. So if you have multiple 3DS consoles in your house, you'll need to choose. Likewise, your Club Nintendo Account can only be tied to one Network ID and, therefore, only one 3DS.After linking an existing account, you'll need to choose if you want to use the Mii on your 3DS or the one linked to the ID. Whichever you choose can be modified at any time with the Mii Maker, though.The Miiverse functions similar to its Wii U counterpart. There are different communities to participate in, and the 3DS offers an offline mode, so you can make notes and upload them later.Now for the bad news. Nintendo has still not implemented a true account system. While you can now transfer your content among 3DS systems an unlimited number of times (up from five), you still need both consoles. You can't simply input your account information and access your games. Be aware that linking your ID may change your credit card settings on your 3DS. We've encountered a variety of errors with the eShop all morning, and can't dive any deeper right now.Furthermore, the 3DS version does not support friend features. If you want to link up with other users you encounter in the Miiverse, you'll need to friend them on the Wii U. The Miiverse update does not get rid of friend codes on the 3DS.The Miiverse has been cleaned up a bit given the new influx of users and games. Instead of showing the number of "Yeahs" (upvotes) you've received, it will now show the number you've given instead. Additionally, Miiverse communities now prioritize comments made by people who have played the game in question. This can be toggled to "all posts.You can read up on the Miiverse in our coverage of the Wii U version to get an idea for what's in store.
Our TakeNintendo is slowly inching toward a contemporary online account system. The Miiverse update helps, but it doesn't fix the core problem. Nintendo needs to adopt an account-based purchasing system instead of the hardware-based one that exists now. Systems get damaged and stolen. Requiring users to have a police report or other proof in order to recover games (possibly hundreds of dollars in expenditures) is absurd.The Miiverse on 3DS is a novelty, and for those that enjoy it on the Wii U, that's fine. For the rest of us, the good news is being able to move funds between the Wii U and the 3DS. Without a Wii U though, this update is negligible.