There have been some interesting rumors surrounding Nintendo's new Wii U console: EA's digital distribution service, Origin, may be a big part of the Wii U's online experience. The info is highly questionable, however.
The anonymous tip coming from the new fan site wiiugo.com, alleging Nintendo is looking to offer a more open and flexible experience for publishers than Xbox Live. The source says that many publishers like the Microsoft online service, but are unhappy with the strict guidelines.
Supposedly, EA is very interested in supporting the new platform and making Origins a key part of that online experience:
EA would have the chance to bring Origin to the console space and win many new users while Nintendo see it 'as an opportunity to rebuild relationships with Western gamers because they feel that only a massive western company such as EA nderstands [sic] what is needed to make an online service attractive to western gamers.'
The source also said Valve is looking to get in on the Wii U action as well. However, the article said EA was aggressively persuading Nintendo to go Origins exclusive with Wii U's online so they can gain a competitive advantage over Steam.
Now the information comes from an EA intern via a network engineer. So, we are going to file the information under the probably not going to happen category. But it does bring up some interesting points.
First, Nintendo should definitely be looking to improve its online service. Nintendo has been severely lacking in the online department, with the only way to play with friend over the net is through Nintendo's notoriously atrocious code system. The friend code system required players to input a 12-digit string of characters to play with people they know. Any improvement to the system would go a long way to help.
The rumor that Nintendo is looking to provide a more open service does jive with Nintendo's spirit as they tend to be a more hands-off company when it comes to third party developers. But going with EA's Origin service just doesn't make much sense. The service only offers EA developed games and nothing else. If Nintendo is to achieve a more flexible and open digital distribution model, Origin will have to make some changes. It would make much more sense for Valve to take over this type of open gaming platform. Valve's digital distribution service, Steam, offers games from all sorts of other developers, including many indie studios.
We'll have to see if these rumors pan out when Nintendo reveals more details about the Wii U. Nintendo will probably start revealing the juiciest details about the Wii U when the next E3 kicks off in June. It will surly delve into its online plans by then.