Nintendo Wii – One step forward, two steps back (pt 3)
Downhill from here.
So I called up my friend who had a Wii pre-ordered weeks ago so that I could add him to my friend’s list. I guess I kind of took for granted that a modern console with an online service would have such a thing – though I began to worry for a while since it’s very difficult to find (you go to the “Message Board” and then “Write new message” and then “Address Book” – yeah, wtf). But here’s the kicker – you don’t have a screenname. Nope, you basically have to pass someone a MAC address. Actually a MAC address is shorter since it’s in hex. Your “Wii Code” is 16-digits (looks just like a CC number). Good luck memorizing that one and passing it to your friends.
And let’s say you do manage to remember your own Wii Code and write it down for a friend – that’s not good enough. You also need his or hers before any kind of communication can be made. Absolutely absurd.
So then I got a few friends onto my friends list (a few had to wait a couple days before then Nintnedo network acknowledged our friendship), time to play some games right? Wrong. No launch games support online play. Not one. Pathetic.
Oh well, at least I can see which of my friends are online and what they’re doing, right? Nope. The Wii maintains a list of “Today’s Accomplishments” in the message board, but I’ve found no way to share it with friends or view their accomplishments or standings in games. I can’t invite anyone to chat, since there’s no chat capability. I can’t invite anyone to play games because there are no multiplayer games. And even if there were, it appears there’s no mechanism for sending such an invitation, unless maybe you both happen to be playing the same game and the game developer decides to let you find each other.
So what can I do with my Wii friends online? Well, I can send them text messages. But that seems to be it. Oh, and I can send pictures (but not from my computer – lame) and “Mii” characters (cool, but the novelty wears off quick without any games, details, or communications functionality).
I have to ask… Did anyone at Nintendo ever even try an Xbox 360? Did they ever try out Xbox Live? The only explanation I can think of is that no, they never tried it. If they had, they would have been far too embarassed to actually deliver such an incomprehensibly awful online service.
I, like other mortals, do not have a PS3. But I can’t help but think that Sony can take some small pleasure from the fact that whatever their online service is like, it cannot be this bad.
For Nintendo, there is a bright side. And that bright side is that these problems can be fixed. Until then, the Wii is entertaining at parties and a good Zelda machine. But if it really wants to be a “next-gen” console, it needs to wake up to a little thing called the internet.