Ever wonder why PS3 and Xbox 360 users were playing games online without a hitch while Wii users were still fiddling around with friend codes? Nintendo bigwig Shigeru Miyamoto explains why.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Miyamoto explains that Nintendo didn’t focus on online features in the past because it would have, “limited the size of the audience that could enjoy those features.” In a weird and roundabout way, it sounds like he is saying that Nintendo did not want the Wii to be known as an “online console” when a good portion of their consumer base wasn’t even able to go online yet.

However, things are changing according to Miyamoto. “Certainly now we see that so many people are connected to the Internet,” Miyamoto said. “It opens up a tremendous amount of possibilities.”

In the past, Nintendo has come up with several stories explaining their policy toward online play. Friend codes were, at one point, called family friendly, as was the lack of voice chat support in Wii games. Of course, there is a certain degree of truth to that. We don’t see those “online interactions not rated by the ESRB” warnings for nothing.

Nintendo’s Wii U has far stronger online features than the Wii did, but it has fallen on hard times lately. However, Miyamoto isn’t ready to give up just yet. “I think that the Wii U still has a long future. We really view it as being the ideal device that families are going to want to have connected to that screen in the living room that everyone is going to gather around and watch. Certainly in the short term I would want to see it performing with probably a little more momentum. I think in the long term I'm not at a point where I'm concerned yet.”