The Nintendo Network is an online gameplay network which acts similar to Sony's PlayStation Network. It is the second network created by Nintendo after the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection (which launched during the release of Mario Kart DS). It has been made to provide online play for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U compatible games. It was announced on January 26, 2012 and became available later that year. Unlike Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, which focused on specific functionalities and a largely de-centralized environment, Nintendo Network aims to establish a central platform where various services available through the network for consumers are connected; examples include user accounts and the Miiverse. While Nintendo Network offers similar features to the previous service including online gaming and digital purchases, more features have been added, like downloadable content (DLC) for specific games, patching, and user account control.
On January 20, 2012, an image of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy's box art was shown showing a "Nintendo Network" icon in the corner of the box. It was speculated that "Nintendo Network" was a rebranding of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
Mario Installments with Nintendo Network
Other Installments using Nintendo Network Operations
NOTE: Games shown below are not directly related to the Mario game series overall, but do give references to the series in certain parts of the game in question.