Why Nintendo’s Miiverse is already dead
Miiverse is Nintendo’s newest gaming social network only available on the Wii U console. While it has some benefits, it also has many drawbacks. These drawbacks will become Miiverse’s ultimate failing and why it will ultimately fail to gain traction as a lasting social network.
What exactly is Miiverse?
Miiverse is a gaming social twitter-like network available exclusively through the Nintendo Wii U console and only available by using a Nintendo Network ID (which is also created exclusively on the Wii U console). The Nintendo Network ID (NNID) is much like an Xbox Live ID used on the Xbox. However, unlike Xbox, you cannot access your Nintendo Network ID from the Internet. It is only and exclusively available strictly through the Wii U console. This is one of the major failings of this network and only one of the major reasons why this social network will ultimately fail.
No Internet access to content?
[Update: Miiverse is now available on the Internet in a limited fashion. However, at the time of this article’s publish date, it was not yet available. You can now visit the Miiverse Web Site and see your posts. The below paragraph is here for historical reasons.]
Nope. There is no web access or any other external access to any of the content placed in Miiverse or, indeed, anything else related to your NNID. So, you cannot review anything about your NNID until you have access to your Wii U console again. This is one of Nintendo’s bright ideas that is ultimately a bad idea. Even Microsoft has learned that you have to allow access to at least pieces of your Xbox Live ID content on the Internet so you can at minimum login and get some information about your Xbox Live account. So, while you can’t get access to the exclusive content on the Xbox, you can at least see your gamer points and profile and set up things about your Xbox Live ID.
This exclusive access via the Wii U console will ultimately be the failing of this network. Basically, if you don’t buy a Wii U, you can’t have access to Miiverse content. If your console breaks, you have to buy another one to gain access again. There is no way to get access to this content from the web or in any other way than through a Nintendo device. Even Apple produced iTunes so you could at least buy things on the iTunes store without owning an iDevice. Nintendo just doesn’t get it.
Miiverse is limited
Instead of Nintendo providing something more useful like game Achievements, they thought that having a half-baked social network would take the place of this. Well, as a gamer, I’m here to say that this is not an adequate replacement. Being able to post for help and gain access to it quickly is cool, but you can easily get help by using Google and posting to open forums available on the Internet. I don’t need Miiverse for this. Yes, the screen shot feature is cool, but it is limited and the Nintendo admins are strictly fascist with reports of content problems.
Worse, you can’t even edit your posts. So, if you forget to mark something as a ‘spoiler’, then you cannot fix that. You can only delete your post and start over. Worse, there’s a 5 minute timer on posts, so if you delete a post and want to repost, you have to wait 5 minutes to fix it. So, even if the admins mark a problem with your post later, you can’t correct the problem as there’s no way to edit it. Seriously, if you’re going to flag posts as problems, at least have the decency to add editing tools to modify and correct the problem.
Miiverse administration is stupidly designed and poorly operated
If your content is reported, you can expect that you are always in the wrong. It doesn’t matter whether or not you really are, it matters what the admins say. And clearly, the admins always side with the person who reports the content and not with the person who created the post. So, be warned that if someone reports your content, you are always marked as being at fault. Worse, the whole administration piece is stupidly designed.
There is a ‘Messages’ area where if your content is reported, you will receive a canned response from some anonymous moderator stating that you have violated Miiverse ‘terms and conditions’. If you want to dispute the process, you can’t. Your options for response are limited to about 6 different canned responses, none of which are at all appropriate to getting a proper response back from the admins. No, you cannot write an email or send a text response to someone to ask a question or get clarification. In fact, if you do need to contact someone in person regarding an issue, you have to go to Nintendo.com, submit their general web form case and then wait for them to provide you with a pin number and the phone number to call in. That phone number being 1-877-803-3676. But, don’t try to call it blind. You will need the pin code provided by a Nintendo staffer to call in. Note, they don’t tell you this anywhere in any documentation or even on the Wii U in Miiverse. You have to somehow just ‘know’ this.
Worse, there is little the admins can really do short of removing the post which they should really be doing anyway. If they delete your NNID, you can simply create another one. Sure, you might lose all your content associated with the old ID, but it’s not like you had achievement points associated with it anyway. You will lose any posts you made, but no big deal there either. It’d basically be like losing a private twitter feed that no one but Wii U users have access to. It would not be like losing your Twitter account which would be a much bigger deal. Although, you might lose money you’ve built up in the Nintendo store, but that’s something I’m not sure of yet.
Yeahs vs Spoilers
There is a ‘Spoilers’ flag that can be set on a post. Unfortunately, you cannot mark something as a spoiler after the fact and it only takes one report by some random schmo for your post to be thrown into question as being a spoiler. This then throws the content into some random admin’s queue who really doesn’t care and will always side with the person who reported. You can’t dispute this process at all. So, your only action left is to delete the post which the admins could have done anyway.
Posts can be marked with a ‘Yeah’ (which is akin to Facebook’s Like feature), but these have no bearing on whether or not it’s a spoiler. With spoilers, you have to report it through a form. Once reported, an anonymous moderator makes the decision whether it violates terms. But, it doesn’t matter if it does or doesn’t. You’re already guilty and you will always be in the wrong. Nintendo is not taking any chances, so the poster of the content will always be dinged on the content. So, how exactly does any of this in any way incent any gamer to want to participate in this network knowing they’re going to have run-ins with admins? Nintendo, you’re biting the hand that’s feeding you.
With any game, any still image is considered a spoiler. If you’re showing game content, that’s a spoiler for someone. So, it doesn’t matter what image you’ve posted, if someone reports it as a spoiler, it is a spoiler (at least according to Nintendo). This is the wrong approach for a social network. Nintendo shouldn’t be making the decisions about spoilers. Social networks need to operate on likes or thumbs down features. Instead of taking the word of only one person (which is currently what it takes for Miiverse), it should be self-policed by the software based on the consensus of a number of people participating in the social network. If a number of people tag something as a spoiler, then mark it as a spoiler automatically. Problem solved with no personnel intervention involved. Don’t flag an account as in ‘violation of terms’ with this silly and stupid canned response system. Just automatically take action by allowing the users to self-police the content. Again, if more people mark it as not a spoiler than those who do, it remains visible as not a spoiler. Social networks should be governed by those participating in the social network, not by Nintendo employees. Nintendo clearly doesn’t understand the concept of a social network or how it should operate.
If you decide to delete all of your Miiverse posts, you might as well just go delete your entire NNID. It’s a whole lot faster. Trying to weed through your old posts on Miiverse is like watching paint dry. This entire process is majorly botched, hugely time consuming and barely works. I had about 170 posts and it took me nearly 2 hours to delete most of them. Suffice it to say that you have to refresh the entire list of posts each time you want to get to the next post to delete. And, because they only load a screen at a time, you have to wait when you pull the screen up for it to load more posts in. Worse, you have to basically unfriend and unfollow everyone in your list to limit this list to just your posts so you’re not scrolling through tons of other people’s posts to get to your own. Worse, there’s no way to see, at a glance, who you’ve friended or followed. So, you have to just weed through the ‘Activity Feed’ to find the people you’ve friended and followed. Note, I’m not even filling in half of the details here for deleting content, but suffice it to say that Miiverse was not designed to delete your old content.
If you don’t want to participate in Miiverse, there is no way to do this on the Wii U console. Basically, you have to disconnect your Wii U from the network to not participate in Miiverse. There is no option on the Wii U console to turn it off or in any other way opt-out. Note that as long as you have an NNID associated with your Wii U, your console will log into the Miiverse service and show you content on the carousel screen even if you don’t want to participate.
Overall, Miiverse seems like a good idea, but it’s badly designed, poorly implemented and poorly operated. Yes, the one thing that it does is allow for quick access to help, but that one feature is completely overshadowed by how poorly the entire software is conceived and implemented. I personally cannot recommend this social network for any use other than for a quick ‘Help I’m stuck’ kind of question. Even then, I would suggest using Google first as it will likely be faster.
If you are a parent and don’t want your child participating in this social network, you have no option to turn it off from within the Wii U console. So, if you’re thinking of buying a Wii U console for your child, you should be well aware of this fact before you consider that purchase. If you would prefer your child to not participate in this poorly run social network, then you should probably consider a different console purchase. Additionally, considering that Nintendo is having major troubles even roping in developers to put their AA titles on the Wii U, I’d say purchasing (or, rather, not purchasing) the Wii U is pretty much a no-brainer.
Done with Miiverse
I’ve given Miiverse a fair shake and have come to conclusion that because of its limited usefulness and Nintendo’s fascist moderators and ‘terms and conditions’ coupled with bad software design, I can’t be part of that community. This is the reason I deleted all of my content on there. I may yet delete my NNID and just be done with it.
Until Nintendo can figure out that this social network design is crap and until they redesign it from the ground up, my suggestion is to avoid using Miiverse as its sole value is extremely limited and may actually cause more harm than good for some people. Nintendo, you need to figure this out fast.