The Miiverse Is A Bad Idea - Apozem Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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The Miiverse Is A Bad Idea

The news is out. Nintendo is finally joining the current generation of consoles with a new system for creating virtual characters and sharing them online. Gee, if only that had been done before... perhaps by a company called Microsoft... oh, to dream. Perhaps someday someone will address this grave issue. Until then, Nintendo will bravely lead the way into the future.

Sarcasm aside, the Miiverse seems like a neat idea. People can use it to enlist help against tough bosses like in Nintendo's promotion literature. They could also use the tablet screen to send funny pictures to friends. Challenges, jokes, or even a map of a certain level in a game could all be shared amongst gamers. When you think about it, the positive potential of the Miiverse is pretty huge.

Too bad none of that will happen. You see, Nintendo is forgetting one inconvenient fact. This might sound a bit harsh, but bear with me. Here goes.

People are gigantic a**holes.


Seriously. Anybody who's spent a significant amount of time listening to the chatter from fellow players on Xbox Live knows just how pervasive and irritating your fellow players can be. There's just something magical about the combination of anonymity and high-intensity competition that really brings out the inner foulness in people. Some of them get pretty into the game and become angry when they lost. Others are just pretending to be angry out of a twisted sense of humor.

Xbox Live is an absolute abyss of stupidity. Whenever I play Halo or Call of Duty online, it's become second nature to mute each and every player within my lobby. Quite frankly, I don't care what they have to say. It can't possibly be interesting or relevant or helpful in any way. Ninety nine percent of chatter on Xbox Live is one person calling another a certain homophobic slur or insinuating that their mother has a very active sex life.

Ask yourself, is there any reason that this will change for Nintendo's console?

Nope. Not even a little bit. If anything, it'll be even more disastrous for Nintendo. They've made an absurd amount of money from selling game consoles to non-gamers like grandma and grandpa. Their audience is normal people, ordinary people, the types who play play WII Tennis "even though the controls are a little complicated." Going out on a limb, most of these people have never had their sexuality questioned by anonymous strangers over the internet. I can't imagine that grandma would take well to being called "totally gay."

Up until now, Nintendo has done its best to protect its users from the dangers of online play. The Wii is a console for the whole family, something that everyone can play without being intimidated. Introducing the chaos and insanity that comes along with dealing with anonymous internet strangers is exactly the thing to scare off Nintendo's hard-won casual audience.

If nothing else, it's interesting to see Nintendo slowly introduce innovations that the rest of the gaming world had two generations ago. Slowly but surely, guys. It'll be even more interesting to see how Nintendo's audience will handle the new pressures of online play. Hell, because the Wii U's target audience is more than just 13-22 males, maybe Wii U players will act responsibly online and not degrade the whole place into a festering pit of profanity like Xbox Live.

Somehow I doubt it.

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