The Nintendo Network is Nintendo's online service that launched with the 3DS and was further expanded with the release of the Wii U. The service replaced the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection online service that was used on the Wii and DS, with a wider array of features and services.
The Nintendo Network does not have a paid subscription. It is an entirely free service.
Nintendo Network ID (NNID)
Nintendo Network IDs are the user account systems used for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS platforms for player identification. Each Nintendo Network ID is associated with a user-created Mii.
NNIDs were introduced with the release of the Wii U. NNIDs are used for building friend lists and match-making in online titles. They are also required for online services such as posting to the Miiverse social network and making purchases through the Wii U eShop.
On December 9th, 2013, Nintendo pushed the use of NNIDs onto the Nintendo 3DS. The functionality of NNIDs on the handheld is more limited in scope. Currently, they are required for posting to Miiverse from a 3DS. A user that already has a NNID created on Wii U can link the account to a 3DS; the act of doing so unifies the wallets used on the Wii U and 3DS eShops.
A main complaint about the NNID system is that the account is tied to the system. A user cannot create an account on one Wii U/3DS and then log into another Wii U/3DS to access their account. Currently, the only way to move account information from one piece of hardware to another is to either send the device to Nintendo (in the event of a broken Wii U console), or in the case of the 3DS, using the handheld's system transfer utility.
Universal Friend Code System
Developed separately from and released prior to the Wii U, the 3DS does not feature the friend list or matchmaking functions of NNIDs. Instead, it uses a unified version of Friend Codes. Rather than game-specific Friend Codes, as were seen in Wii and DS titles, each 3DS system has its own unique Friend Code that works across all 3DS games played on it.
The Nintendo Network allows the developers and publishers of games to push a software patches and game updates to their respective games, something that was not present in the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
The Nintendo Network is the system that handles the online multiplayer aspects of the Wii U and 3DS. On the 3DS playing an online multiplayer game still requires the use of friend codes, but on the Wii U will utilize the new NNID system.
The Nintendo eShop is the online marketplace that is powered by the Nintendo Network. The eShop allows for the purchase of digital games for the Wii U and 3DS and also supplies the interface and process of purchasing Virtual Console games for the respective systems. Aside from the purchase of digital games, it also gives the ability of game demos, game trailers, game ratings, user reviews, patches for software, and DLC for games.
With the rollout of NNIDs to the 3DS Nintendo made the 3DS and Wii U share the same eShop credit, making it easier to manage credits and purchases on the service.
Both Club Nintendo and Nintendo's Digital Deluxe Program (Nintendo Network Premium in Europe, Australia, and Japan) tie in with eShop to where if you buy a game digitally it will handle the points and registering automatically.
The Miiverse is a Nintendo only social network that is available for access on the Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, and a web-based portal. Nintendo has announced plans for dedicated phone and tablet apps for the Miiverse.
A Miiverse post usually consists of a picture of the game / a drawing they have done on the Wii U Gamepad or 3DS touch screen, text regarding the game, or sometimes featuring both. Other people can "Yeah!" a Miiverse post (similar to "liking" on other social networks) or comment on the post.
Communities are more or less a group for people to post their thoughts and drawings on a specific game or game series. User created communites are not implemented and Nintendo has said nothing about ever implementing them.
Communities range from being about a certain game, e.g. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword to being about the franchise as a whole, e.g. The Legend of Zelda and each have their own message wall, but are grouped together for easier discovery.
Introduced in Super Mario 3D World, stamps are unlocked through completing a predetermined event in a game, e.g. collecting the stamp collectible in Super Mario 3D World. These stamps are then usable for Miiverse posts, making it easter for people to have better looking posts instead of trying to draw everything themselves.
**Note, in order to use a stamp in Miiverse the post MUST happen through the Miiverse Integration in the game that stamp was unlocked in**
Some games have a feature built-in to where you are able to post to the Miiverse directly from the game. This also allows the use of stamps for Miiverse posts in games that support stamps.
Nintendo TVii is a televsion based service that allows users to find what they want to watch on Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, and also if it's available on their cable subscription, through telling the Wii U your channel lineup. One the user has found what they want to watch, they can choose the source of the video and watch it through the TV or on the GamePad, cable TV CANNOT be watched on the GamePad. It also sports many features that deal with consuming television content.
Nintendo TVii supports a number of video services for streaming, including:
- Hulu Plus
- Amazon Instant
- Nintendo Direct
Other services are being worked on.
Social Network Integration
One can also post on Miiverse, Facebook, or Twitter account about a television show they're watching.
TVii features a feature riddled software univeral remote to control whatever you need it to. It uses the IR blaster on the top of the GamePad to communicate with the hardware.
Real-time Sports Companion
TVii also heavily features a sport companion. It shows the score, current stats for the game, and a play-by-play of the game. It also has social networking integrating so people can comment on a certain play and polls for various things related to the game.
The Nintendo Network powers both the Swapnote service (now discontinued) and the Wii U Video chat service.
Both the Wii U and the 3DS have powerful internet browsers built-in that are able to be opened during gameplay. The Wii U browser can be viewed on both the TV and GamePad, or on just the GamePad, allowing a more private internet experience.