Link: Now, We All Can Wii
"Nintendo Co. has opened its blockbuster Wii game system to independent video-game developers, the company announced Wednesday.
Nintendo said it will let hobbyists and game studios create and sell downloadable Wii games with a tool called WiiWare. Gamers will be able to purchase the games through the console’s Wii Shop channel starting in early 2008. ‘Independent developers armed with small budgets and big ideas will be able to get their original games into the marketplace to see if we can find the next smash hit,’ said Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, in a statement."
What is the word I’m looking for? Oh yes: "w00t".
Link: Putting the We Back in Wii
"As of the end of April, Nintendo has sold 2.5 million Wii consoles in the United States, almost double PlayStation 3’s sales of 1.3 million and closing in on Xbox 360’s 5.4 million sales, according to the NPD Group, a market research firm.
What changed? The secretive company is coming out of its shell. It has made a concerted effort to woo other makers of game software as part of a broader change in strategy to dominate the newest generation of video game consoles."
I rolled my eyes when I saw the headline of this NY Times story on the Wii because it opened with the same tired stats on the Wii’s success we’ve been reading for the past seven months . It also asserts that reaching out to partners is a "new strategy" which of course can’t be true. But if you stick with the piece for a few paragraphs, something new pops out at you: part of the Wii’s success is because of Nintendo’s focus on getting third party developers on board.
I don’t think this is the only reason for the Wii’s success, for sure. Clearly the low price point of the Wii compared to competing consoles is a biggie, as well as its innovative controllers and simple interface. In its effort to uncover new ground, the Times story doesn’t mention these important aspects. But it’s clear that the story of the Wii is a story of disruptive innovation — using out-of-the-box thinking and cooperation with partners to defeat well-heeled incumbents.
The other day they announced that they’ve releasing the classic version of Galaga for the Nintendo Wii (it’s available through the online Wii Shop for 500 Wii points, or US$5.00).
Today they announced they’re releasing a bundle of old Namco games for the Nintendo DS. Hopefully this means they’ll make the Namco games available for the Wii at some point as well. Five bucks for a classic arcade game is a no-brainer to me (even though you can play these games illegally on a PC or Mac using MAME for free — it’s still a solitary pursuit).
My big goal is to get the lovely wife to do more gaming with me and kid #1. I play Mario Kart and Lego Star Wars with the kid every day, but Carole’s oft-repeated summary of her gaming interests is "I like Pac-Man," so hopefully the Namco releases (which include classics like Pac-Man, Galaxian and Dig Dug) will lure her into playing with me and Celeste.
It would be cool if they equipped the classic games with awareness of your Wii code so you could share high scores with your friends — it seems to me like the ability to swap high scores with friends would be an easy first step toward online competition without having to do the heavy lifting to make the games sync up with each other in real time. (Plus, it would give people more excuses to use Wii Badges to exchange codes.)
Link: When Will Wii Play Online?
"In early March, rumors began circulating on popular video game Web sites that Nintendo was not allowing any third-party video games to include online multiplayer features in 2007, drawing the ire of some fans who want to break out of their living rooms and take their Wii gaming prowess global. ‘With every month, online multiplayer becomes more and more important,” said Bryan Intihar, an editor at Electronic Gaming Monthly. ‘As a Wii owner, I don’t know what they’re waiting for.’"
Link: Wii Is Guest of Honor at New Genre of Parties
Kris Smith called it "the equivalent of a man Tupperware party.” In early December, he and a few pals gathered in a basement in suburban Chicago to try out their friend’s brand new Nintendo Wii video game console. At the end of the night, Smith, 32, was sweaty, exhausted, and completely sold on buying a Wii for himself. Smith, who never enjoyed video games before the Wii, said the console has given him a new way not only to enjoy time with his wife and children, but also to socialize with his friends. After securing his own Wii, Smith, who heads new media initiatives at a start-up, organized a "Wii Tournament" that included an hour warm-up session and a trophy for the winner. The invitation told guests: "If you have ever picked your nose or punched someone, you can get in on the fun.”
Hey, gamers have been having "parties" in which they "get together" and "play" with their "consoles"? Somebody phone the NY Times! Maybe they’ll do a story about it in the next four or five years.
It has always been clear to me that punching and nose-picking have always needed to be more deeply integrated into the gaming experience, and finally the Wii has given it to us.
Link: Nintendo’s Wii to provide news
Rabid video gamers could get some help keeping in touch with the outside world this weekend as Nintendo Co. launches an online news service through its popular Wii console. The Wii News Channel, scheduled to debut Saturday, will primarily feature top news stories and photographs from The Associated Press.
Consoles with a broadband Internet connection and the Opera Web browser will be able to access the free news channel, which will offer AP news in multiple languages. Japanese-language news will come from a separate agency.
There were no immediate plans to sell advertising space, said Perrin Kaplan, vice president for marketing at Nintendo’s U.S. headquarters in Redmond.
News will be displayed through an interactive map, which users can navigate with the Wii’s wireless controller, Kaplan said.
"The beauty of it is it zooms in and out of areas of the world," she said. "So if you really want to focus on regional news or national news versus international, you just blow up the map of the U.S."
Even as a rabid news junkie, I am not sure if the Wii is where I want to get my news, but I’m looking forward to playing with this, at least. Maybe Daddy can watch the news while my young gaming comrade is having in-between-game potty breaks or something.
One interesting and unheralded feature of the Wii is the fact that it plays Nintendo GameCube titles. (It also plays older games that you can buy online from the Nintendo 64, NES and other Nintendo systems through the "virtual console" feature, but I haven’t played around with those yet.)
We are getting a ton of mileage out of the old GameCube titles, many of which have been around a while so you can pick them up used or at a discount. Mario Kart Double Dash is totally ridiculous. Lego Star Wars has eaten up a ton of our time in the past few weeks, and we picked it up for just $19.95. The part at the end of Episode III where Queen Amidala gives birth had us in stitches but I won’t give the gag away. Every minute I play Lego Star Wars I think to myself "this is more fun than the actual movies were".
Both games are a pretty good entrée into the world of console gaming for little ones (my main motivation for getting the Wii was to have something to play with my five-year-old girl).
My xmas present finally arrived yesterday.
I have benefited from the obsessive gadgeteers’ unboxing ritual over the years, so I decided to do one of my own. Enjoy!
People don’t take pictures of their kids playing Playstation or XBox. I’m just saying.
(There are hundreds more photos like this on Flickr’s Wii Motion pool.)