At its annual shareholder's meeting this week, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata confirmed that the company will not institute a subscription-based online service like Xbox Live. In other words online play will be free to use like PlayStation Network. According to a translation by Andriasang.com, Iwata said that the company considered an Xbox Live-like model for online gaming but ultimately decided against it. The company came to the conclusion that it would attract more customer use by avoiding a subscription model.
By keeping online service open and free, and "by having everyone use the Miiverse together, word of mouth will more easily spread. This will lead to greater hardware and software sales," Iwata told shareholders.
Yesterday Nintendo took a step towards improving its upcoming Wii U and 3DS online multiplayer and ecommerce offerings by hiring Duncan Orrell-Jones to the newly created role of senior vice president of network business.