Iwata Asks: Miiverse’s Design

In the latest Iwata Asks, the producers of Miiverse detail how the featured Wii U application came to be, from its roots as a Japenese-only Wii application to a full-fledged Wii U social network.

Image|Iwata Asks the Miiverse Producers

A Wii eShop channel, Wii no Ma was what led to the creation of Miiverse. A “living room communication channel”, Wii no Ma was only available in Japan, and featured three main services, which were Shopping, Home Theater and Ironna Ma (Various Room). During the inteview, Iwata discusses the good and the bad of Wii no Ma, and then explains that Wii no Ma inspired Miiverse.

Iwata: When you look at Wii no Ma and Miiverse, they hardly share anything in common except the Mii characters, but if Mizuki-san hadn’t worked on Wii no Ma and hadn’t experienced the difficulty of updating content every day, then Miiverse might never have come to be.

Iwata then went on to describe what the Nintendo team first thought of Miiverse.

Mizuki: When I made the presentation for Miiverse, I think I described it as something like a “new network service using Mii characters,” and was surprised when you, Iwata-san, called it a “empathy network.”

Iwata: When I heard what you said, I thought that if people who had experienced the same game got together and said “Yeah, yeah, I thought so, too,” and connected via that kind of empathy, they would both be happy. We needed to figure out how we could design the service so that people would empathize with each other as much as possible, so I labeled it an empathy network.

As the interview continued, several Wii U details were revealed, such as how the director of Animal Crossing coordinated the Wii U console menu.

Iwata: The Wii U console menu is actually coordinated by (Hisashi) Nogami-san, director of Animal Crossing.

Mizuki: (Katsuya) Eguchi-san, general producer of Wii U, and Nogami-san, with their experience on Animal Crossing, agreed to the Miiverse concept at a pretty early stage. Thanks to Eguchi-san’s efforts, games like New Super Mario Bros. U and Nintendo Land are compatible with Miiverse.

It’s interesting to know the inspiration behind Miiverse, as the groundbreaking Wii U application is definitely new for a Nintendo console of any kind. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.