Iwata details Wii video service, confirms DSi transfer

Nintendo president explains how new advertiser-sponsored Wii no Ma channel will allow videos to be downloaded to new handheld, shared with friends.

One week after Nintendo unveiled the Wii no Ma video service in a Japanese-language trailer, company president Satoru Iwata has posted a video explaining it in detail. Viewable on the official Japanese Wii site, the nearly 25-minue video covers the logic behind the service, how it will work, and how it will grow in the future.

"Many of you must be asking, 'What is Nintendo doing?'" began the recent Game Developers Conference keynote speaker. "Let me explain. ... We're trying to change the relationship between family, TV, and the Internet...starting in Japan, and then expanding to other regions."

Given that 87 percent of Japanese families who have a Wii have it in their living room, Iwata said he wanted the video service to bring families together. To that end, it will feature a virtual "Ochanoma," or tea room, populated by Miis. In that virtual tea room will be a virtual widescreen TV, which players will select using the Wii Remote.

Indeed, Iwata said that the Wii Remote is what will make the Wii's video service more accessible than other video services, since people of all ages have handled the device. The Wii's ease of use is one way Wii no Ma will be differentiated from video-download services on the PC and console. "There is no point in duplicating a video PC delivery service...there is no point competing with YouTube or 24-hour channels," he explained.

The origins for Wii no Ma began shortly after Nintendo partnered with Dentsu, a Japanese advertising firm, to launch a TV guide channel. At the beginning of 2008, the two companies began discussing how they could create a new kind of video download service. Though somewhat different in its interface, its business model is hardly unique.

"Broadly defined, Wii no Ma is a service which delivers video to the consumer, funded by ads," said Iwata. "It's meant to be enjoyed by the whole family without taking up to much [of their] energy."

When it launches in Japan tomorrow, May 1, the service will have only a "limited catalog" of videos, all of which will be free and be viewable an unlimited number of times. However, its catalog will expand with the support of five Tokyo television networks, promised Iwata, who showed clips of nature shows, a music video, and a wedding reception as examples of video content.

He also said the public "could expect" that future offerings would include "anime and manga" content, since the distinctly Japanese art forms "are enjoyed all over the world." He said that such global demand could eventually lead to simultaneous global releases of exclusive video content to Wiis worldwide, irrespective of region.

Another way Wii no Ma will stand out from its competitors is that its videos can be "transferred to the DSi" and watched on the go, as Iwata hinted at earlier this month. (Presumably because of its lack of an SD memory card slot, the DS Lite was not mentioned as an option.)

Players will even be able to download coupons from advertisers on the service onto their DSis by visiting sponsored "Kaishanomas," or company offices, sponsored by various advertisers. Like a much lower-graphics version of the company spaces in Sony's PlayStation Home, the three-dimensional Kaishanomas will feature 12 areas where advertisers can put content. Besides coupons, these can include general information, questionnaires, video featurettes with no time limit, and even areas where a Wii owner can order free samples of a product.

Iwata explained that Kaishanomas are just one way the Wii no Ma will "move advertising forward" by making it part of the Wii entertainment experience. Another will be the services' emphasis on rating videos, which will provide both advertisers and content producers with real-time, demographically indexed feedback on who is enjoying a video feature.

Players will also be encouraged to rate video offerings and then send them to their Wii friends, who can watch them immediately. The ratings will also be helpful for letting Wii users select videos, since each video will show the Miis of those recommending it, sorted by gender and age. This information will then be used to program a "Wii no Ma Concierge," a Mii that will walk into the virtual tea room and suggest videos based on a Wii owner's past viewing habits. Iwata even suggested that the concierge, whose apperance will vary, could look like a celebrity or a historical figure.

Overall, Iwata said he saw Wii no Ma as building on Nintendo's successful strategy of making its console appeal to nontraditional gamers. "The definition of what you would consider a video game has become much wider than before," he explained.

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Discussion

149 comments
gameking5000
gameking5000

@Malco_Vicenzo I don't think we can draw the a conclusion so quickly. You never know

Glade_Gnarr
Glade_Gnarr

So maybe the Hitler or Jesus Miis will get the respect they deserve from Nintendo, I can't even use Hitler for Mario Kart online.

Malco_Vincenzo
Malco_Vincenzo

PSP and a PC did this without hype when the PSP was released. Nice try nintendo.

wahyudil
wahyudil

oh well, its allright to get more non-traditional game .... but please give us more great games ....

PandaBear86
PandaBear86

iTunes + iPhone >>>> any multimedia features Nintendo offers on their outdated hardware

gameking5000
gameking5000

@GameBlender Why on earth do they need many ads for a company that gains much more profit than the Xbox 360 and Sony. Also if you think it's just Pokemon then you need to think again

gnrlstuart
gnrlstuart

great, sounds awesome. and even though i think nintendo need to make more quality games. i love how the use their fanbase to innovate, and educate people, showing the young and the old computer games are for everyone.

ratm247
ratm247

i thought this idea would suck until i read gameblenders comment. now im kind of excited for it...

Nintendo2Brawl
Nintendo2Brawl

so is this to just watch videos i can get that through the internet channel but the only thing i would like is how you can talk to people but idk if its free ill get it

GameBlender
GameBlender

Translation: The Wii video service will feature nothing but ads and episodes of Pokemon.

gameking5000
gameking5000

Could be handy. Looking forward to when the service arrives in Australia

retroguy02
retroguy02

Wow, how more redundant can these "features" possibly get? I think that if a console offered something like a unified live internet TV with a proper infrastructure and a reasonably-priced subscription (I would be satisfied with 5+ basic channels for the price of a yearly XBL subscription), it might be worth it - Wii is a promising console for that, considering its remote. But what do they do? Instead of releasing good games or actual features they try to win over new buyers with these fillers. Tsk tsk.

jeffokiecorry2
jeffokiecorry2

...and.... We already have computers, internet, TV....and REAL living rooms. So... Why? You tube is on Wii anyway... Seems.... Unnecessary. As far as DSi Tv.... Sheesh. Maybe we should all look up from our screens once in a while and see life in HD.

aussenbagen
aussenbagen

Really exciting, you get to watch advertising videos supported by advertising videos. I will pass. You can get this on any ad supported website like ABC.com.

sgt-hawkins
sgt-hawkins

i think i want to give this a chance maybe nintendo will start to redeem themselve... besides if it offers free stuff i dont really see any reason to complain

angelGP32
angelGP32

The Wii is like the nerdy kid in high school, while the bullies, MS and Sony, laugh and make fun of this stupid thing, the Wii being the nerd, laughs it's way to the bank, every time.

KhanhAgE
KhanhAgE

Would Japanese people prefer to watch entertaining Japanese television or watch "video clips" on their Wii. I don't think this is going to be used much in Japan. Iwata said this isn't going to be YouTube like, but pre-selected videos... Videos like wedding receptions? Also I think most Japanese people have HDTV and since this service will provide only SD content, there will be those who won't use the service for that simple reason.

CRS98
CRS98

If they wanted to bring families together with videos, they should have added DVD functionality to the console, like everything else out today.

Sir_Hobo
Sir_Hobo

Man, I haven't bought a good first party game for the Wii in over a year. Nintendo needs to get off their asses and make something good. My money is already getting more sucked toward Sony. I haven't even played my Wii in months.

angelGP32
angelGP32

the funny thing is, you can already view YouTube on the Internet channel and there's probably more and better quality there, this whole thing is a joke.

2bitSmOkEy
2bitSmOkEy

so Quofan your happy with the games on the wii? You would rather play mario party 4001 rather than mario galaxy or zelda? There are 3 games I have played on my wii since i camped out for it on release. If you are even somewhat gamer savvy you could probably guess which 3. Gtfo with your high and mighty garbage about hardcore gamers being selfish or whatever your babbling about. Its extremely simple, the wii has 3 (maybe 4) games out of THOUSANDS that are even remotely decent. The rest are mindless, boring mini games designed for adults who did not grow up with gaming or for 2 year olds. Nintendo may have built an empire with the Wii, but it will surely fall if they don't eventually pop out some games that are more than skin deep.

xgalacticax
xgalacticax

I'll take any extra thing my console can do. The gaming community is full of whiners that dont know that nintendo has to cater for console functionality as well as making games. Does anyone complain when it takes a decade for Sony to bring out Gran turismo 5 and any of their other major titles?....or when Sony and Microsoft do this same thing...bring out all this extra stuff you can do with the console that has nothing to do with games. But no, its only wrong if Nintendo does it...right? Yet when the so called hardcore games come out on the Wii, these people who complain dont buy them...look at the sales for Madworld and No more heroes. how many of these people actually bought those games?

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

Quofan the Prinny is dead-on. Nintendo is a business, plain and simple. Where was the fan loyalty during the Nintendo 64 or GameCube years, when everyone passed Nintendo over for the new kids on the block? Nintendo has seen the highs and lows of this business, and knows that the so-called 'hardcore' are as fickle as they come. They cry for innovation but let 9 out of 10 creative games rot on the shelf, with only a few dozen franchises enjoying predictable success. They complain about Nintendo milking Mario or Zelda to death, but then yell at Nintendo for making something besides another Mario or Zelda game. They complain about stupid 'casual' games, without doing a little research and finding the good ones that can provide a lot of fun. Nintendo can't count on us, so they're going after the huge new market the Wii created.

Quofan
Quofan

@HappyBB "It's now only pure business for Nintendo. There's no such thing as fan loyalty or what-so-ever in their eyes, only money." Yeah, because Sony and Microsoft dont want your money *sarcasm* Of course they care about money. They ALL do. Theyre businesses. This is how capitalism works. I dont like it either, but thats how it works. Badly. As for the fan loyalty thing, last time I checked they were giving Nintendo fans everything they asked for. No headset? We get Wii Speak. Maybe not ideal, but its there, take it or leave it. No DVD discs for the GC? DVD discs for the Wii. People complained for years about third party support. So they make a successful console that brings devs on board, third party software increases, and we even get hardcore games, despite what fanboys like to say. On top of this, Ninty put all their eggs in one basket by releasing their first party titles at the beginning to allow third parties a chance (so they stop moaning "third parties can't succeed on this platformz"), and people still complain about the lack of Nintendo games...... The ones with no loyalty are the selfish, spoilt fanboys who think that several hardcore games a year is not enough, and every game should be catering to them. This whole 'casual' thing is a false divide created by the hardcore themselves, it doesnt exist in reality. You just think you're better than people who dont buy games as frequently as you do. As for the shovelware, besides Carnival Games, it doesnt even sell.

Quezakolt
Quezakolt

i wished' we could access theses funcitons without a Wii.. another reason for me to hold on getting a DSi.

necronaux
necronaux

Advertiser Sponsored? Bet there will be commercials imbeded in each video download, especially if they're free. Even here at GS we have to watch commercials before a lot of the video clips.

angelGP32
angelGP32

@camikitten, you are exactly right and it's not like their 3rd party support is awesome, it's all mostly B.S. shovelware kids games. It's pretty sad when I can walk into any given retail store and the only racing games I can purchase on the DS is Mario Kart or Cars the Movie, but hell, if I want a Pet game there's 58 of them.

Icehearted
Icehearted

@DrMatta I was about to say that myself.

nini200
nini200

Everybody, don't be shocked when Iwata announces that this is Japan Only.

buzzguy
buzzguy

Seems to me that there should be an SDTV beside the Wii! What's all this HD-nonesense? ;-p

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

Microsoft must be missing out on something that Nintendo and Sony see as a valuable market. Maybe this is the "big surprise" Microsoft has in store for E3? I doubt it, though. I like the idea of the service. I'm curious if the shows will be worth watching. Like Home on the PS3, it might just be a niche feature. I'd like to see Sony or Nintendo make deals with Hollywood studios to provide "real" shows for free in a similar manner as Hulu does. $2.99/episode is not something I've been willing to pay when I can rent an entire season on Blu-ray/DVD for $6. _

ratm247
ratm247

if nintendo doesnt have an announcement at e3 that blows my mind, im going to have to sell my wii. its been a year since something worthwhile has been released.

ratm247
ratm247

i thought the brits would be the first to add a tea room to playstation home...

glennvolio
glennvolio

The company that was all about "kicking ass, taking names, and making games" has once again poured lots of resources into yet another non-gaming product. Typical.

teknicz
teknicz

If the same service could be launched in the US with all the videos that Hulu has, I'd be interested.

DrMatta
DrMatta

Seems Nintendo is giving us everything except games.

zaphod_b
zaphod_b

I can't remember the last time I turned on my Wii. This will do nothing to change that.

AzelKosMos
AzelKosMos

Another service i'm not interested in. I want games Nintendo...you do remember those right?

xophaser
xophaser

Not bad, but it seem like most of these features (similiar) can be done on the PS# and PSP already.

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

Eh, doesn't interest me, but I wouldn't call it an impending failure just yet. The same people mocking this idea were probably the same people making fun of Wii Fit, Wii Sports, or the Wii itself. We hardcore gamers are NOT the only fish in the sea; we need to accept that.

Potemkin2005
Potemkin2005

The Wii is just awful. I wish I had realized that before buying one. It's like this little white turd next to my 360 that just sits there and gathers dust.

fennec_fox
fennec_fox

Thanks, but not interested. First of all, exclusion of DS and DS Lite is total rubbish - these handhelds already HAVE what is needed for connectivity with Wii, and an offer of SLOT 2 (or even SLOT 1) SD adapter cartridge would have allowed for easy download of whatever content Nintendo wants users to access, including new browser, DLC, demos, movies, etc. As it stands now, it's just a gimmic for Japanese Wii audience, and only for those who own the newest DSi - no value for me here.

E1025gama
E1025gama

lol, on the first video click play then keep clicking 0:47, pretty much sums up this service.

E1025gama
E1025gama

I would love to know the person who comes up with all these stupid ideas to waste Nintendo's money. If I had a business I'd sack him for wasting time of developers. No doubt this won't be popular and will have no support.

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

sounds rubbish no really - it does more, better games please Nintendo