Mario Kart TV And Nintendo’s Social Network Awareness


Mario Kart 8 is one of the Wii U’s last hopes, and a fairly progressive thing Nintendo is doing with it is an accompanying mobile social app. I’m starting to wonder if gaming-related social apps like these actually translate into heightened notoriety for the main software and hardware, especially hardware like the Wii U that needs notoriety.

Many posts back I talked about how great ideas like MiiVerse, Steam Community, and the PS4’s sharing were. You can pretty easily get sucked into those services which essentially amount to social networks in themselves. They let people discuss the playing of games in an environment most closely tied to the actual playing of games. They also potentially advertise the games themselves. What I’m wondering is if all that stuff is just isolated — not reaching more general social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

When he first unveiled MiiVerse, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata specifically said he didn’t base the Wii U around Twitter and Facebook integration because he wanted social interaction on Wii U to be all about video games. When you talk about a game on MiiVerse it even let’s other people see whether you’ve actually played that game. Mario Kart TV is basically the same thing geared towards Mario Kart players. Theoretically sharing on the PS4 has the same effect, but is there missed potential here?

Mario Kart 8 will let users upload footage directly to YouTube, but if you could directly tweet or post to Facebook from the game that might get more general audiences to know that there is in fact a new Mario Kart game out on a new Nintendo console.It’s recently occurred that people still care about Mario Kart — over the last fiscal year Mario Kart Wii sold more copies than Mario Kart 7, despite the former having been released four years earlier.

That means people are still hearing about Mario Kart Wii and buying it, but for some reason aren’t buying its sequel. Do they still mainly want Mario Kart on a console, or are they totally unaware of Mario Kart 7 and the 3DS? Are they even aware of Mario Kart 8 and the Wii U?

Right now all the MiiVerse sharing is really only reaching people who already own a 3DS or Wii U. Mario Kart TV seems to mainly be for people already buying Mario Kart 8. I’m sure people will find ways to manually post and tweet the stuff in the app, but Nintendo should make it easy for every owner to do that. I’ve seen a lot of tweets under the hashtag #PS4Share, but very few, if any, posting screenshots from MiiVerse.

In some ways it’s similar to the issue with Nintendo Direct. Nintendo Direct is a nice way for Nintendo to get PR messaging straight to its fans, but it’s questionable how much that information reaches people not already tuned-in. Right now one of the biggest problems with Nintendo’s products is not enough people outside core gamers know those products exist, and just maybe some of their services can help if tuned in a slightly different way.


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