Wii U getting achievements, cloud storage, social networking

wii u achievementsThe Wii U will be getting achievements, cloud storage, social networking, avatars, and much more, according to a developer Wii U Daily spoke to. The source, working at a European development house with several Wii U projects in the pipeline, says Nintendo will unveil many of the new Nintendo Network features at E3 next week. Here’s a run down of the rumored features:

Wii U achievements

Nintendo will introduce an achievement system where players can earn achievements in games much like Xbox Live and PlayStation Trophies. However, Nintendo is said to be expanding the service where players who accumulate a certain amount of points get access to additional features. “We have a lot of freedom with the Wii U points system, we can add “brackets” for players, e.g. if you amass X points you get promoted into a new bracket with awards such as new MP [multiplayer] skins”. While the source called the feature “Wii U points”, he made it clear that Nintendo hasn’t settled on a name. “It’s basically what we’ve been asking Microsoft to do for years. Players who earn points by completing the game should be awarded. We can do that now”.

Wii U cloud storage

We previously reported about Wii U cloud storage, we have some more details on that. The cloud storage option will be “a few hundred MB”, will be free to all players, and will only be used to store save games and player profiles. It’ll launch in 2013.

Social networking

Nintendo will also add “deep integration” of social networking features to the Wii U, including both Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. Players will be able to upload screenshots to their Facebook accounts, auto-Tweet game progress, and record and upload game videos to YouTube. “They’re working on a UI overlay for the OS to add Twitter and FB notifications, but so far we haven’t seen it. They’ve reserved a lot of system memory for stuff like that”, the developer told us. “There isn’t much documentation about it in the new SKD, but they’ve told us it’ll be available in the future”.

Wii U avatars

Nintendo Network on Wii U will introduce new avatars with a lot more features than the original Mii avatars on the Wii console. Players will be able to use the Wii U controller’s built-in camera to take pictures of themselves and create digital avatars that resemble high-definition Miis. The Miis can then be imported into games. “There’s an API for the camera to scan faces and turn them into low-res 3D versions for games. But it’s still buggy as hell and it depends a lot on the kind of engine you’re running”, the source said.

Wii U development and game ports

Additionally, the source mentioned that porting current gen games to the Wii U isn’t as easy as originally thought, and that games that have been developed for the Xbox 360 are “much easier to port to Wii U than PS3 versions. A lot less headache involved because their architecture is similar. Technically, you can just recompile X360 to the Wii U and it’ll pretty much run, but PS3 to Wii U is much much trickier.” He said that the latest SDK hardware is final, only the software keeps updating.

“We’ve spent a lot of time creating our own tools for the X360 this generation, and we’ve already tweaked a lot of the tools to work on the Wii U. But if you code on the Wii U from ground up and have to use middleware, it’s probably gonna be tougher than doing an X360 game from ground up.”