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A 'Wii' Roundup

Filed under: Nintendo | Nintendo Wii
Posted by Jeremy on May 1, 2006 11:19 AM
Comments (0) |

Judging from the plethora of opinions on Nintendo's recently announced name for the console formerly known as 'Revolution', the surprise announcement succeeded. When was the last time you heard so many news outlets talking about Nintendo? Let's get beyond the name, 'Wii' (pronouced 'we'), and actually look at the book under the cover, so to speak. Nintendo's next console will truly be revolutionary and 'wii' like it! With a focus on games and the gameplay experience, Nintendo is separating themselves from the hardware one-up-manship of Microsoft and Sony.

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The 'Wii' will not pump out graphics in HDTV, will not try to be the center of your living room entertainment experience, and will not cost more than $300 (according to the best guesses of analysts...personally, I feel they're going to launch it at $199).

What it will do is become the de facto gaming machine of the next-gen consoles. Turn it on, play games. And not just next-gen games, but a library of 20 years of Nintendo games, in addtion to games from the SEGA Genesis and TurboGrafx via the 'Virtual Console' which allows you to download games.

The 'Wii' will also be WiFi ready out of the box, and will most likely instantly connect to the Nintendo WiFi service, which is already a smashing success. Whether or not Nintendo will charge for the service is still unknown.

For comparison's sake, Microsoft currently offers its Xbox Live Silver, which allows gamers to go online, but doesn't allow gamers to play vs. each other. Xbox Live Gold, for $50/year (or other monthly options) gives the gamer access to everything.

Whether or not Nintendo will adopt a similar plan is up in the air. My guess is that basic service, which would include the ability to play vs. others, would be free. Downloads, themes, etc. would be for sale. My feeling is that Nintendo is more interested in getting a large base audience than making money right away.

The lesson learned from the GameCube is that without a large installed base you don't have much. The lesson learned from the DS is if you sell WiFi enabled games and offer WiFi service for free, then people will buy more WiFi enabled games...and the circle of profits and popularity is formed.

Of course, the most exciting aspect of the Wii is the controller; a remote control style controller that senses movement and motion and can be operated with one hand. Most genres that us gamers are used to (like the FPS 'Red Steel') will use the attached 'Nunchuck' (nunchaku) style controller which essentially looks like a track ball (but with an analog stick instead of a ball) in your left hand and the motion sensing remote in your right hand.

Much has been written about this controller and the more I read about it, the more I'm convinced that Sony and MS will soon be copying the idea. I simply can't wait to play games in this manner.

My point is this: The name of the console doesn't matter. I don't like the name of my Honda Civic, but that doesn't mean that it's not reliable, gas sipping, safe, and holds its value. The fact that it's called 'Civic' has nothing to do with that. The car could be called the Honda Poo and people would still buy it because it's arguably the best small car.

People will come around on the 'Wii' name (how did the English language survive using 'we' as a pronoun without society making potty jokes?). It's just a matter of time. Those who think it's a horrible name won't care what it's called when they're having the best gaming experience they've ever had. Then, I'll call them all hypocrits and laugh maniacally, via Nintendo WiFi, of course!

PS - Oh, and put me in the small minority who think it's a brilliant name.

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