Most probably brushed off Nintendo’s internal Wii U social network (called MiiVerse) when it was announced. We’ve seen what Nintendo does in the online space.
Then you use it, and you never want to go back.
Despite egregious moderation that pulls even the slightest bit of *potentially* offensive content (like website links to what you’re reading right now), MiiVerse is quite substantial plus well integrated. Playing New Super Mario Bros. U, balloons can optionally pop up to tell players what they can expect going in, or maybe reveal a secret. These are not programmed tools; the community wrote them and took the time to spit them out. Thanks to this feature, I found a secondary exit I otherwise wasn’t looking for in one level, and that’s optional too. No spoilers is you don’t want them, and you can turn off in-game MiiVerse functionality entirely if you so choose.
Maybe the game doesn’t support MiiVerse that directly. In ZombiU, I can hit the home button. There, I select the MiiVerse option, visit the community to ask question and/or seek an answer, and then pop back into my game. There’s no reason to save in-game. I’m free to leave and return as often as I wish. With stringent text limitations, these background tip platforms become individual, game-specific Twitter accounts where people recommend games, talk shop, or just chit chat. Every game (and app!) has one.
The Wii U does not have an achievement/trophy system. Nintendo screwed up in that regard, but what they’ve done is create a super accessible community option – that despite the “smite down my URL” censor tactics – is probably better in the long term. If I make something amazing happen, the community will still know, and my thoughts will be there for everyone to see. If friends need to join up, private messages solve that concern, and you can track those on your friends list with an activity list. It’s more involved than PSN, and deeper than Xbox Live.
For the grief they receive, Nintendo is onto something with a hand sanitizer level of cleanliness.