Miiverse is a special place. It's a happy, social place where I can browse okakie style galleries full of the most beautiful, impromptu art. I can talk about a game I love and share screenshots of my favorite moments. Not to mention, in my darkest times, I've turned to it as a resource to find out why a game or, heaven forbid, my system isn't working as it should. I have to wonder, could it be Reddit's rival?
Granted, Miiverse is only in its infancy. But even so, it's often the reason I even bother turning on my Wii U. There's a wide assortment of boards, an active community, and a positive mentality that I haven't encountered on any other social media network. Even in its early stages, Nintendo has gotten it right.
It's just so easy and effortless to use. The only real rule is pretty much, "Act like a decent human being." So long as you watch your language, avoid objectionable content, and use the spoiler tags, you'll be alright. I feel so comfortable using it. In fact, I'd say it surpasses Reddit in that way. I always think twice before I post anything that isn't a simple link there. Is my discussion going in the right place? Am I following this subreddit's rules? Is it even worth posting?
I never have these concerns with Miiverse. If I have a question or thought I want to write, or even a doodle I wish to draw, I go for it. It seems like, even if you are posting in the wrong place, people won't mind. You'll still get at least one friendly "Yeah!" for your efforts. Of course, it helps that there aren't too many boards yet. I find if all else fails, go ahead and post it to the YouTube community.
That's another great thing about Miiverse. It's already building the same sense of community as Reddit. I don't know if it's just early adopters sticking together, or people generally interested in connecting with one another, but I've started getting friend requests from random, wonderful people. I've noticed the same thing tends to happen among people who frequent the same Reddit boards. A friendly user base will be Miiverse’s key to a strong, thriving community.
In fact, it was this same community that helped me through a minor crisis not long after I acquired my Wii U. I have a substantial backlog of Wii games, and decided I wanted to go ahead and start fresh in a few of them. Except twice in a row, my Wii U failed to successfully transition between Wii U and the Virtual Wii mode. I was not only flummoxed, but worried. Fortunately, the good folks at the Nintendo Land community were more than helpful. Within minutes of posting, I had responses saying that it was just a normal crash, nothing to worry about and, in case it was something more dire, they gave me information on contacting Nintendo directly.
That ties into the other thing I've noticed. Miiverse denizens are overwhelmingly positive and helpful. People are enthusiastic about their games. Not to mention, most communities are troll free. I'm sure that will change as the system's popularity grows, but it's refreshing nonetheless. I don't know if it's just that the community policing is that strict or if it's just that people are genuinely happy to be there. It's something I hope will continue, even as the network expands to other platforms.
Of course, the potential for expansion suggests that Miiverse could get even better and closer to Reddit's popularity. It will be coming to the 3DS and has recently started a beta for the PC after all. Social networks don't really evolve and hit their peak until there's a massive contingent of users shaping it through suggestions and contributions. I'm hoping E3 2013 will bring with it a launch date for the 3DS Miiverse. With an install base of over 31.09 million as of Nintendo's last fiscal report, it's bound to make a big impact on the network.
Basically, it all comes down to Nintendo really getting at least one aspect of online functionality right this generation. The Wii U is still at the point where it could soar or plummet, but at least its launch brought us a social gaming network that could eventually be looked to as the Reddit for gamers.
Date: May 6, 2013