Miiverse represents a great transformation for Nintendo’s online network policy. We have always wanted to prevent users from having objectionable encounters with strangers over a network, so we established friend-oriented networks. That has been our practice since it became possible to use Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection21 to connect to a network via the Nintendo DS.
21 Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection: A wireless Internet service for various Nintendo systems that allows users to play specially designed video games online with friends all over the world.
That’s right. Our approach was connecting acquaintances in the real world, so you might say that we favoured an ‘ultra’ real-life social graph. That’s why we made it so you exchange Friend Codes with your real friends. But then some people put their Friend Codes on other networks and bulletin boards and exchanged them with strangers anyway.
So we came to think that it might be better for Nintendo itself to provide a service that would be more fun to use. With Miiverse, you don’t simply become friends with complete strangers without any prior knowledge. You become friends with someone with whom you sense a shared sensibility because you play the same game.
In the same way that men and women don’t find themselves suddenly going out without talking to each other, in Miiverse, you talk about a game in which you are both interested in. This allows you to think "We get along!" or "I want to play together with this person!" and then consider becoming friends.
It’s a theory that would establish better friend relationships.
When making Miiverse, what did you two find difficult and interesting?
Let’s see… Development itself wasn’t that hard. In dealing with Hatena, they didn’t ask us "Show us a specs sheet." Instead, they just sped ahead with what we asked them to do verbally, so everything went along very smoothly.
We’re pretty loose. (laughs)
No, no, not at all! (laughs)
If you said, "Please do it sort of like this," then they made it for you.
Yes. There was a difference of company atmospheres, of course, but to me it felt like I was working with in-house people. And, maybe because it was Hatena, there’s a notification function this time. When someone feels empathetic and hits ‘Yeah’ on your comment, you get a notification. But that isn’t something we requested. Hatena said, "Of course we need that!" They made it and we thought, "This is great!" (laughs)
Hatena has made all kinds of network services, like Hatena Bookmark and Hatena Diary22, so they understood realities such as the necessity for a function like that these days. I feel like that’s why you were able to make something so substantial at a speed and level that you couldn’t have if you had only developed it in-house.22 Hatena Bookmark and Hatena Diary: Hatena Bookmark is a service that allows users to manage their favorite websites online, see what sites others are using and search for information on the Internet. Hatena Diary is a blog service that launched in 2003.
That’s right. When Mario Club23 debugged it, the notification function got great reviews. We wouldn’t have noticed how useful it was until we were told about it, so Hatena was extremely helpful in that regard.23 Mario Club Co., Ltd.: The company that conducts debugging and testing on Nintendo software during development.
It’s also true for the ‘Yeah’ button, but when you post something and you get feedback – as with Hatena Star24 – it’s pleasing. You could say that the desire to know right away when you get something like that is human nature. (laughs) Once you experience that, you can’t go back to a world without it!24 Hatena Star: This service allows users to express their appreciation of blogs and Flipnotes by awarding a star with a single click.
When something evokes a reaction, making that known is something Hatena really focuses on.
Based on Hatena’s experience, that was a matter of course.
Yes. Because Internet services are essentially about creating a place for people to interact, you understand the essence of it by observing and watching people gather. I feel like network creation has an element of drawing near to something like human emotion.
They wanted us to hold off on determining some of the specifications as we saw the users’ reactions, and that made a lot of sense to me.
Wii no Ma was a format that was installed on the client side, but Miiverse is an Internet service so we can change the service however we want from the server side. Deciding things afterwards is common in the world of the Internet, but not so much so in the world of video games.
We say that development starts after release. (laughs) It’s like after we’ve finished giving shape to an original concept, that’s when it really begins.
This will be the first time I’ll be constantly feeling uneasy after the release. When I think about it, I really get nervous. (laughs)
It’s alright! We’re with you! (laughs)
And the browser that serves as the base for Miiverse runs really well.
Miiverse is a communication service that you enjoy within the game console, but it is also an Internet service. One of the strengths is that if you have a web browser, there’s the possibility of being able to access it with, say, a smartphone or computer in the future.
Yeah. It’s quite a lot easier to use now. And it will continue to develop!
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