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Wii Television Channel – will it really challenge the likes of youtube…or actual television?

As Christmas saw more and more Nintendo Wii and DS consoles brought into the living rooms of the gaming public, Nintendo clearly felt that more had to be done to move the consoles into 2009.  Let’s throw in the opportunity to access a ‘television’ channel on the Wii, they screamed out with glee over Christmas dinner at the Nintendo household.  And low and behold, they bring us the Wii television channel.

This move is quite an interesting one seeing as new figures have shown that only 40 per cent of users of the Wii actually have their consoles connected to the Internet.  Only a small number when you think that 80 per cent of the 34.6 million consoles that have been purchased are hooked up to living room televisions.

Nintendo clearly feel that the time is right to reveal their latest move and feel that the “youtube-ery” is the way to go.  The service, that will see Wii users having to pay to watch content on the Channel, will be launched mid-2009, according to Nintendo, although a free service will also be available.  The Channel will only be able to be accessed in Japan however, and will be run in conjunction with advertising firm Dentsu.

If you’re sitting there wondering when the Channel will be available to you anywhere else in the world other then Japan, then Nintendo have a message for you – “the deployment of overseas is also considering the time is yet to be determined”.  I think that is Nintendo speak for ‘don’t hold your breath’.

Apparently the two firms, Nintendo and Dentsu, have not yet agreed on the content of the Channel but the word on the web is that there will be a number of cartoons and other entertainment programmes that will aim to please a wide array of Wii users.

However, Nintendo are taking quite a big risk chucking money into this scheme as the likes of youtube and other video sites are already well established and well respected throughout the Internet community.  Brining in a Channel on the Wii and slapping the Nintendo name on to it does not always provide success.

However, if Nintendo have proved anything since the release of their Wii, it is that they can do little wrong.  Released two years ago, the Wii is still selling strongly and this Christmas has done little to prove otherwise.  Amazon has announced that the Nintendo Wii was the highest selling gaming console that the site had to offer.

Discussing the upcoming video service, Nintendo have released a statement claiming, “Nintendo and Dentsu shall use the environment surrounding the Wii so that living rooms with Wii-ready TVs would become more of a fun area for communication among families and friends.”

Still it will be interesting to see whether or not the Channel is a hit and if it is then it will again be interesting to see what is next in the Nintendo evolution.  Perhaps Wii Cinema or Wii Movie Rental?

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