Wii U, 3DS online "closer" to PSN, XBL

Nintendo is looking to play catch-up.

The Wii U will offer a significantly improved online experience to that of its predecessor, Nintendo has promised.

Marketing manager Rob Lowe outlined Nintendo's plans for the system to Eurogamer at E3 last week, explaining that a strong online set-up is much more important now than it was when the Wii launched back in 2006.

"I think that in a similar way that we waited until HD technology was almost ubiquitous before we went in there with an HD console, it's similar with the penetration of wi-fi," he said.

"I think now almost every home has wi-fi or broadband. It's a universal truth that everybody is connected online and that wasn't the case when the Wii came out five years ago.

Lowe pointed to the 3DS's refined online set-up as an indication of where Nintendo's aspirations lie for Wii U.

"If you look at 3DS and the online of that you'll get an understanding of where we're going with Wii U and we're taking that even further.

"We can't talk about the details yet as Mr Iwata will announce those slightly later. But with the online of 3DS it's obviously a massive leap on from where we were with DSi and DSi XL. It's smooth, robust, it doesn't drop in and out.

"The friend code system has also been refined. It still exists but in the same way that you'd need to pair up with friends on PSN or Xbox live. Now it's much closer to that kind of online gaming experience than what it was before.

"We always try and strike a balance. Because we do have more younger consumers than any other hardware manufacturer or games brand we need to protect them while also making it as accessible as possible for the more active and hardcore consumers to go online.

He also reaffirmed comments from CEO Satoru Iwata earlier this year that Nintendo has brought in outside help to remedy its lack of internal online expertise.

"With Wii U I think that we've already hinted that we're looking at getting people in that know and understand online gaming as it's something that perhaps we've struggled with in the past."

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