Speculation seems to point in the direction of Nintendo coming out with a robust multiplayer service for the next console generation. As of now, the Nintendo Wii’s weakest point is its lacking multiplayer aspect. Sure it provides the bare minimum required, but besides for that, it is laughable to say the least.
It seems as if they are not even concerned with the online service in the slightest as of now, with reason. The Wii was made to target new gamers and old gamers alike. Online gaming is more of a modern video gaming aspect, while it seems that the Wii is more family oriented, which would mean offline multiplayer and single player enjoyment. It is quite obvious that this approach to sales have been a success, because the console is currently first place in the console war, though it is last place in terms of console activity.
You have to take a look at the accomplishments first before you begin to consider the failing points, to understand why such an approach was taken. The Motion Controller was announced for the Wii, and has quickly become one of its major selling points. It revolutionized the gaming industry, by showing how profitable such motion control technology can be, and possibly even changed the direction of focus to be taken for the next video game console generation to take. More focus is being given on innovation and exclusive features, opposed to which console has more raw power and prettier games. So when you consider the direction that Nintendo has been taking this whole time, it is understandable why the multiplayer service has been so lacking. Why compete with the Xbox Live and Playstation Network, which would take an amazing amount of time and money, when you can introduce a new concept to the video game industry and profit immensely off of it?
So now that they have successfully changed the direction and focus of the video game industry, one of the only things left for them to do is dominate the multiplayer aspects of a console. I am guessing that they will most likely incorporate a ground breaking or position shifting feature within their online service that will completely baffle the competition and most likely attract a greater crowd than ever before. As of now, they currently make use of a sloppy friend code system, which has received quite a lot of ridicule for being inconvenient and what not. It also has no protection against cheating that I know of, because I have used hacks on many Nintendo DS games while playing online, and had no problems what so ever. But I envision a future gaming console by Nintendo that will completely shift the focus in terms of an online service, some how connecting us to each other in a way not thought of before.
It is not as if Nintendo has much of a choice. Many gamers were weary about purchasing a Wii for the sole reason that it has a lacking multiplayer service. Many of the games today have a selling point that has to do with their multiplayer, especially the AAA top selling games. Nintendo has been lacking with support by third party companies because of the poor graphical capabilities, poor processing and poor online capabilities. So if Nintendo does not get their act together and fix these problems, they will alienate their old fan base composed of mainly hardcore and modern gamers. They will only be able to keep their inactive new and older gamers.
This all leads to Nintendo planning a robust and innovative multiplayer service that will take the video game industry by surprise in the upcoming console wars.