Nintendo has announced Nintendo Network, a new online service for Wii U and 3DS.
It'll support DLC, including full digital game downloads at some point, and offer a personal account system on Wii U.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said: "Whether it's our first-party titles or third parties' titles, for a number of games, we will actively attempt to achieve compatibility so that our consumers can enjoy our online services that we will deploy under the name of the Nintendo Network.
"Unlike Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, which has been focused upon specific functionalities and concepts, we are aiming to establish a platform where various services available through the network for our consumers shall be connected via Nintendo Network service so that the company can make comprehensive proposals to consumers.
"For example, competitions and communication among users, as well as the sales of digital content, will be covered within the Nintendo Network."
Japanese 3DS title Tobidasu Pricla Kiradeco Revolution will be the first game for which consumers can purchase and download add-on content, followed by next month's Theatrhythm Final Fantasy.
"While we are on this subject," Iwata said, "when we discuss anything relating to add-on content, our remarks are very often reported by the media by their attaching such modifiers or notes as 'the ones used for social games.' Please note that Nintendo, as a software maker, does not plan to deploy businesses where our consumers cannot know in advance which item will appear as the result of their payment and they have to repeat the payments and, before they know it, they end up spending a huge amount of money in order to obtain the items they originally wanted to purchase.
"As a software maker, Nintendo believes that its packaged software should be sold to our consumers in a form so that the consumers will know in advance that they can enjoy playing the software they purchased just as it is. We believe that our consumers will be able to feel more secure if we offer our add-on content as an additional structure in which those who love the game will be able to enjoy it in a deeper way for a prolonged play time."
Iwata also said Nintendo is "considering the future possibility" of full digital game downloads. "This concept was built into the design of the Nintendo 3DS, and we already have the necessary infrastructure. We will prepare the same infrastructure for the Wii U. However, we have not decided the concrete timing of when we will start it.
"The decision must be made by taking into consideration such factors as the relationship with the wholesalers and retailers, and the best way to be embraced by consumers, as well as the environment surrounding the market and consumers, such as the required memory capacity on consumers' SD memory cards. However, as an option for the future, the significance of this business field will increase.
Nintendo will also introduce a personal Wii U account system compatible with Nintendo Network. Iwata said: "With this, for example, the ease of using a video game system when the hardware is shared by multiple family members, which has been a challenge we needed to tackle, shall be improved, and we will also be able to construct and offer the system by combining a variety of different services and content."