Monday, March 05, 2007

No third party online games until 2008?



Nintendo may not be ready to offer its online infrastructure to third party companies until 2008, the US head of Japanese developer SNK, Ben Herman, revealed to UK gaming site SponG.

Nintendo is still not letting Wii third-party publishers include online capabilities in their games and it doesn't look like they will during 2007. So the best chance they have at building an online presence appears to be what they're doing with Virtual Console.




If true, this information should come as a surprise. In early February, NOA president Fils-Aime clearly stated that 'Pokemon Battle Revolution' will be the first online game in the US. It being already available in Japan, a US release is imminent. And why should third party online titles not follow soon?

Of course, Pokemon is using game-specific codes just like the DS, which are theoretically unnecessary for regular online games (each Wii having a console-specific code, which the DS does not have). So I strongly expect following online games to do away with individual codes. And the implementation of such a system may indeed explain a significant delay between Pokemon and what I expect will be the proper online games to follow. In this sense, 2008 might be realistic, after all.

However, Reggie went on to note that online development kits were already in third party publishers' hands. So is there a contradiction between the SponG information and Fils-Aime's comments? Perhaps developers have the online kits but simply have not yet been given the green light by Nintendo to implement online functionality. Perhaps implementation simply takes the better part of a year. Those explanations are a bit of a stretch but they may reconcile the two statements.

Otherwise, one of the two sources must be wrong. The SponG interview, it should be noted, is riddled with spelling mistakes, drawing the authenticity of Herman's alleged words somewhat into question.

EDIT There have been two recent developments regarding this story. Firstly, NSider user Kezay has come across some information (via the NeoGAF forums) pointing to Sega releasing a Pachinko game for Wii that will feature both online and Mii support. It is also slated for release this year. So it seems that at least some third party developers have access to online kits, as Fils-Aime stated.

Secondly, IGN has been able to confirm that Pokemon Battle Revolution, the first online title for Wii, will be published June 25th (coincidentally that is my birthday).

With Pokemon Battle Revolution paving the way just four months from now, Wii gamers can expect the previously announced lot of online-enabled games (such as Mario Strikers and Battalion Wars) to follow shortly after.


Source: SponG
Thanks to: MaxConsole

17 comments:

Emil007 said...

hmm... Elebits?

Βορέας said...

I think that Pokemon Battle Revolution uses a separate friend code because of the Diamond / Pearl compatibility. Both games are Online and let you play with other people online. So you could play against someone who uses the DS online, while you are using Wii. Therefore, it would make sense that you can enter a Battle Revolution user on your Pokemon DS friend code and vise versa. The friend code from Battle revolution is a 12 digit code. If it used the Wii's 16 digit friend code, online compatibility with the DS games would be impossible, because all DS games use a 12 digit friend code.

Something I find interesting about whether game creators have or not online development kits yet is the following.

On Ubisoft's official game info page for Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII. On the page for the Wii version of the game, there is nothing written about online mode. But in the PS3 version page the following is written:
Multiplayer for up to 16 players online (with one new PS3/Wii mode)
http://www.ubi.com/UK/Games/Info.aspx?pId=5330
This could be an error but it could be something that slipped out as well.

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Starstriker1 said...

Ominous if true. I'm really looking forward to an online shooter for Wii...

I'm hoping that Nintendo doesn't force this friends code nonsense, though... or, if they do, that a 3rd party can work around it with some kind of code sharing server.

Anonymous said...

There isn't a real reason you couldn't have a console specific friend code on the DS. Certainly, each DS contains unique MAC codes. They probably include unique RSA codes for encryption/decryption. Combine these with a hashing function and even a username and you have a console specific code. The only difference with say a potential unified friend code system for Wii is that the code can ONLY be generated and accessed IN a game and not in the menu system, due to limits on what Nintendo could reasonably change with the firmware.

Unfortunately, this is probably more telling of Nintendo's policies with the Wii, indicating they're likely to a friend code per game system with the Wii

M. Ferreira said...

I have to say that Sega Sammy's refuted SNK's statements :)

http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3157812

Sega Sammy is releasing an online pachinko game that also uses Miis. While it probably won't show up outside of Asia (pachinko isn't exactly popular int he US or Europe), it certainly refutes the statements by SNK.

Falafelkid said...

Hi Ferreira.

Thanks for your comments, but I already updated the story a day beforehand. Thanks nevertheless.

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