Could the Nintendo Network actually be Nintendo’s answer to Xbox Live and PSN?

During Satoru Iwata’s latest financial briefing, the Nintendo president revealed a few interesting tidbits about Nintendo’s new console. First and formost, it looks like Nintendo is finally going to be taking online seriously with Wii U. The new online network that Nintendo has christened the ”˜Nintendo Network’ will be far and away Nintendo’s most ambitious step towards really delivering a compelling place for gamers to game online.

While details about the new network are still scarce, Iwata has promised that with Wii U, personal accounts that will allow multiple user accounts per system will become a reality. This means that online profiles will no longer be system based. Whether that means each player will be given a friend code, or if an Xbox Live gamertag style system will be implemented remains to be seen.

Whispers of an external hard drive for the Wii system and claims of patents showed no fruit in 2011. Since the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 made their debut the users have been spending money buying one sata hard drive after another to save every exciting moment of game play and upgrade their system. Nintendo showed no signs of wavering from their flash memory. And why should they change? The resourceful Wii user had already found a hack to save all their games onto an external hard drive? Much to the dismay of the average Wii user, the little console that could wasn’t planning to jump into the hard drive era with the likes of it’s competitors.

Iwata also reiterated that paid add-on content in the form of DLC will be coming down the pipeline for Wii U and 3DS. While we already knew that games like Theatrhythm Final Fantasy would allow players to purchase new songs as DLC, this is the first time Iwata has commented on how Nintendo would like to use the technology. In addition to DLC, Nintendo has shown interest in providing the digital distribution of full retail games. Nintendo has stated that they will be taking into consideration their relationship with retailers however, because you don’t want to piss off Gamestop after-all.

The biggest take away out of all this seem to be that Nintendo is finally wisening up and stepping up their online presence. For too long Nintendo has promised to offer online functionality that would rival that of Xbox Live and PSN, but have fallen far short of the target. If all of these plans come to fruition, it looks like the Big N will finally be able to stand toe to toe with the likes of Sony and Microsoft in the online arena, and stand a fighting chance.

Eugene lives in New Mexico and has been a life long gamer since getting his hands on an NES. Always partial to Nintendo, Eugene has made it a point to keep informed on all things Mario.