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Nintendo gamers who own both the Wii U and the 3DS have been struggling with a major disconnect in the Japanese company’s online platform. While users would be able to download games, both modern and classic, onto their two devices through the eShop, each console required a separate login system with separate balances. So if you had money on your Wii U but wanted to buy a 3DS game, you were out of luck.
Finally, Nintendo has noticed the glaring error, and has released a firmware update to unify eShop accounts. Available on 3DS firmware update 7.0, users can now log in with a Nintendo Network ID with the same account as the Wii U, so the identity is shared across both devices. Social functionality has merged as well, as 3DS users can finally access Nintendo’s Miiverse via the handheld.
These features seem minor in the grand scheme of things, but they fix a major mistake that Nintendo made: creating two platforms instead of one. Hopefully this unified identity will not only extend to ecommerce and social, but to games as well. Like Sony(s sne), Nintendo should be thinking about when and how to create cross-platform games that allow 3DS and Wii U users to come together in more thoughtful ways. A unified ID is the first step to a universal online gaming portal, which could make games like the forthcoming Super Smash Brothers a much more enjoyable experience. Nintendo has the opportunity to bring its core base of gamers together, and it should jump at the chance.