Well it may have taken a week or so, but 1Up was able to squeeze the information from Bill Trinen that Nintendo’s first party launch window games, running through the end of March 2013 will not feature any online multiplayer whatsoever. Instead all first-party Nintendo games will utilize the Miiverse in bold and interesting ways. This likely refers to being able to post messages via New Super Mario Bros. U, and other interactions like that. Here’s exactly what he said, when questioned whether or not Nintendo Land would feature online multiplayer.
It’s not going to be played over the network. For Wii U launch specifically one of the things that we want people to understand is that a network connection to a game can mean a lot of different things. It can mean online gaming, but it can also mean other unique ways to connect to other people. Miiverse is an important part of that. So for our first-party teams, particularly at launch, what they want to do is try to lead the way and show people different ways that you can use Miiverse in a meaningful way to connect the content to the Internet.
That pretty much confirms one of my biggest fears that Nintendo still doesn’t really ‘get’ the idea of online multiplayer and why it’s so important in today’s day and age. Third party titles will utilize the Nintendo Network, but we haven’t been told how friend lists and communication will work, or if that will even be implemented. At this point it seems Miiverse will be the direct hub for friends, messages, etc, but it won’t be tied into games for those purposes. At this point we really can’t confirm anything, but I have the feeling we’re going to learn a lot more in the coming weeks leading up to its November 18th launch. One thing is certain, all Nintendo games launching with the Wii U will not feature online multiplayer, and that’s really a downer.