Nintendo enjoys breaking conventions. Disruptive ideas have been part of the company's heritage, and while some innovations set industry standards -- from the D-Pad to motion controls -- other ideas seem different for the sake of being unique. Case in point: Nintendo's implementation of online in both the Wii and DS. In an interview with IndustryGamers, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime admitted that the company has shortcomings in that arena. "The online ... or let me state it more broadly, the digital area is an area where we can improve, and we've made a commitment to dramatically improve in that area."
It may be too early to celebrate the death of friend codes, though. In typical Nintendo fashion, the company won't be following the models created by Microsoft and Sony. "I can just about guarantee [our plan] is unlike anything that our competitors have done to date. The reason for that is it wouldn't be innovative, it wouldn't be distinctive, and therefore, it wouldn't be Nintendo ... Our approach will be to enable the consumer to discover our digital content much more easily."
It's hard to imagine a service that offers a drastically different experience from PSN, Xbox Live, or even Steam. Let's hope that Nintendo's desire to appear innovative in the online space results in something more akin to the 3DS and less like the Virtual Boy.