Nintendo: Online VC play out, voice chat possible

NOA president Reggie Fils-Aime squashes speculation of significant upgrades to Virtual Console games; "would not be surprised" if chat functionality comes to Wii.


Pokémon Snap, released this week as part of Nintendo's weekly Virtual Console update, lets gamers share photos taken in-game with their online friends via the Wii's new photo-sharing functionality. The online photo-sharing capabilities caused a stir after they were initially revealed, with speculation running rampant as to whether Nintendo would be making a regular habit of adding online functionality to Virtual Console games with features such as leaderboards or the type of multiplayer modes found in select Xbox Live Arcade classics.

However, that speculation was squelched today during a phone conference held by Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime. Although the official cause for the occasion was to address the Wii supply shortages heading into the holiday season, Fils-Aime also offered up a few nuggets of information in relation to Nintendo's future online plans for its hot-commodity console.

"In terms of Virtual Console, our approach has been predominately to leave those legacy games alone and to not do any significant upgrading or changing of that core game as we make it available," he said. "One of the small exceptions to that, we did make some small changes with Pokémon Snap, for example. We do not anticipate making online gameplay available for virtual console games."

However, it wasn't all ill tidings coming from the House of Mario. Fils-Aime also dropped hints that online voice chat may be in the cards for the Wii, once an appropriate peripheral to accommodate the functionality is settled on.

"In terms of online voice chat, as you know, we are constantly making updates and changes available," said the exec. "Certainly our system has the capability for online voice chat; what it comes down to is finalizing the peripheral that would allow you to speak during gameplay, and the fact that we make this available on the DS certainly suggests that it is something we value and something that we are constantly looking at, and I would not be surprised to see that capability come on our system."

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