Yes, Nintendo does support multi-player games, but not through online play. If their target audience can't play online, it limits how much interactions kids can have with each other. This limits the amount of peer pressure to buy a console. In the end, it's an unnecessary limitation which is part of their 80s and 90s businessmen mentality of "walled gardens are what consumers should want". Giving people what the businessmen want to sell them, and not what the consumer wants to buy is not a good way of running a business, unless you plan to run it into the ground. Nintendo should have learned this by now, and hasn't adapted to the changing times.
The lack of an open platform for online play has made Nintendo seem "more safe" than the racial slurs, insults and innuendos seen on XBox Live and PSN, but it keeps more people from interacting. It's best to just give parents the control and responsibility to limit the amount of voice, webcam, text input and emoticon conversation their children can be exposed to. Let them pick and choose what they want their children to be exposed to. Here's an example:
Imagine a YouTube video, of a Nintendo employee (speaking in the language which the console is setup to run in) telling the person setting up the console something like this: "Hello, and welcome to the Nintendo family. Before we continue to set up your WiiConsoleThingyMehBleh, let's set up some user profiles. First, let's set up a parent account. Make sure nobody is in the room before you type it in, and make sure you remember it or write it down somewhere. Great, we got that all set up. Now let's make some other user profiles."
After a few users are set up, the voice continues asking: "We've got those accounts all set up. But before we continue, let's check to see what each one can or cannot do."
It thens goes through a list of items, such as:
- Allow user to send voice using microphone over the internet. (Yes, No, Application-Specific Custom User Settings.)
- Allow user to dend webcam image over the internet. (Yes. No. Application-Specific Custom User Settings.)
- Allow user to send text, images or files over the internet? (Yes. No. Application-Specific Custom User Settings.)
(And then the same goes for receiving anything over the internet, like hearing voice chat, receiving text, or receiving webcam images or files.)
- Allow online games? (Yes. No. Application-Specific Custom User Settings.)
- Allow online purchases of games, music, content using the Nintendo Store? (Yes. No.)
- Limit the games and content this user can access with age restriction? (Yes. No.) [If yes, set up the age resitrction according to the country's laws and age rating system. ESRB, and so forth, you get the idea.]
- Limit web browser and video watching? (Yes. No.) [This would disable things like Firefox, Netflix, Hulu and so forth.]
(For Nintendo to remain age-appropriate as it has wanted for so long, it could have an automatic pr0n filter included, regardless of the profilt or settings or user account, even the master account.)
What I suggest is to allow Nintendo to allow third-party companies like Steam to sell and distribute legally the emulators and ROMs that Nintendo has to offer, as a means of getting more money. Nintendo wouldn't have to allow online multiplayer if they think pedophiles are a danger to children, but it would still allow those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s with Nintendo consoles in our houses to enjoy the games we loved as children. It gives Nintendo a much-needed cash injection for very little work. Barely any need to polish the game, and since there are plenty of emulators out there already, it wouldn't take Nintendo that much work. They've got people who design operating systems already, so designing an emulator for PC for console classics like Dreamcast, N64, SNES and the original NES would be easy. Same goes for GameBoy, GameBoy Color, GameBoy Advanced and even the 2DS.
Also, if Nintendo wanted, they could design an Operating System for PCs designed around a closed-source version of Linux meant for PCs, which would still provide a good closed-garden environment they so love. But it allows gamers to have one more way to consume content they love and cherish.
Nintendo controllers aren't PC compatible *out of the box*. They can be rigged to work for PCs, yes, but they aren't designed for it, and it doesn't work easily or all the time or very well for that matter either.
Nintendo should realize that getting it's content out there for more people to enjoy and buy is more important for the financial success of the company than selling over-priced and over-hyped consoles which lack any sort of meaningful features of wide game selection to choose from. If Nintendo just kept up with the times, they could blow Sony out of the water, and parents would love them for it. Right now, Nintendo just isn't selling well because they've burnt too many bridges, their strategy is failing, and they can't seem to get their act together, and their managers and directors can't get their heads out of their Ruby Slippers long enough to see that they aren't in Kansas (erm... I mean the 90s) anymore, Toto. (Sorry, I was watching The Wizard of Oz playing to the soundtrack of Dark Side of the Moon.)