Nintendo has done a U-turn with its announcement of providing online free play for Nintendo games. Earlier President and CEO of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata had revealed that the Wii U's Nintendo Network service would be free of charge. Now, it seems that this statement is false and they may charge for certain premium services.
At E3 2012 Nintendo's online services were shown off, promising a high level of interaction and webcam chat as well as cross format interaction. However, this may not all be free as they could possibly charge for "deep" online services at some point. Nevertheless, the company mentioned that ordinary online services for casual gamers would still remain free.
Iwata slammed Microsoft in the process of making its defense. He said that paying for such services via a subscription, such as Xbox Live, did not suit more casual gamers. Therefore, Nintendo, according to him was still doing more for the gamers by keeping ordinary online services free.
Iwata did state that even if the online network did remain free, the company would still benefit due to consumers wanting to buy and play more Nintendo titles to make use of this rich online community on the console.
The Wii U will utilize the Nintendo Network online service, already in use in 3DS games.
According to earlier reports, by offering Nintendo Network for free, the company was probably banking on the social aspect of the Wii U's MiiVerse to boost the sales potential of software. Basically, by gamers simply saying they liked or enjoyed certain games in MiiVerse, Nintendo believed game sales for a given piece of software can increase, by word of mouth.