Iwata discusses the past, present, and future of the Miiverse.
Miiverse grew from both a discontinued Wii service and displeasure with the official Animal Crossing website, the Iwata Asks: Miiverse discussion revealed.
This past April, when the Japan exclusive Wii no Ma service was shut down, Nintendo's Kiyoshi Mizuki began to conceive the beginnings of the Miiverse.
Wii no Ma was known as a "living room service". It allowed users to shop and rent videos, all from their home. However, all this content was updated daily by Nintendo. Mizuki, now an employee of Nintendo's Network Business Department, wanted user generated content to furnish an online service, he felt it a much easier way to please all users. Also learned from Wii no Ma is that if a service is never accessed, it won't be used, which is why the Wii U's starting menu is the Miiverse.
Mizuki's ideas were strengthened by Hisashi Nogami, director of the Animal Crossing series. Nogami was unhappy with the official Animal Crossing website, which allowed users to post tips and comments on a community note board. Nagomi said this space lacked a "live" feeling.
Together they crafted the "bustling" nature of the Miiverse's plaza. Here gamers gather around icons that represent their games and compare play histories, exchange notes and drawings, and even change the expression of his Mii.
Separate from Mizuki and Nogami's work, Junya Kondo of Hatena Co. LTD approached Nintendo with a social network proposal of their own. Hatena is a leading developer of Japan centric social internet services, and had previously worked with Nintendo on Flipnote Studio. Iwata was impressed by the proposal, and based on its similarities to what Mizuki had been working on, brought Hatena onboard to aid with Miiverse.
Miiverse works on two levels, the first allows discussion between friends, and the second between strangers. While you will be able to exchange your Nintendo Network ID to add friends, Iwata was vague on how players can add strangers met in the Miiverse, only going so far as to say it will be easier than past efforts. Iwata continued, saying you'll never have a random person become your friend without your knowledge, you first have to share a connection and interest in the same games.This was further detailed in today's Nintendo Direct. If a player follows another user on a game's Miiverse message board, he or she has the option to add that individual as a friend.
Kondo states that Miiverse exists as a social network for gamers. While they can take advantage of existing services, gamers may be unwilling to discuss gaming topics with friends who don't engage in the hobby. Miiverse brings gamers together.
The comments and drawings you create can be rated through a "Yeah" button, a feature Hatena thought necessary to engage users.
Since the Miiverse is controlled on the server side, Nintendo is able to make changes at anytime to the service. Also, connecting to the Miiverse through your smart device or PC is still a possibility, but will not be available at launch.