In this weekly column, our journalist Mark Raby gives his insight on one big rumor, news story, or trend that developed over the past week.
Well, the Wii certainly was no stranger to big headlines last week. It seemed virtually every big video game story was all about Nintendo's next console. It's less than a month after E3 and we got more hard details about the Wii in the past seven days than we did during the big convention.
Finally, we got some concrete details about the Wii's online functions, DS connectivity, and even the business plan for the console launch. Nintendo is surely not going to keep a passive role in the next generation.First off, let's recap what we learned last week. Nintendo made a back-handed insult to Sony when Satoru Iwata announced that on the Wii launch, they expect only a small loss, compared to Sony who will be digging into their deep pockets just to stay alive. This attitude tells me that Nintendo really thinks they have the chance to out-do Sony in a next-gen era.
More importantly, though, we found out some great technical details about the Wii last week. We now know that virtual console games will set you back about $5 to $10, and Nintendo's patent for an ambitious online community was granted. These online features seem quite similar to Xbox Live, but you know what? Xbox Live is very successful, so the Wii-Fii service should mimic XBL's record-breaking growth and accessibility.
Finally, in a not-so-surprising announcement, we got the official word that Wii will have connectivity with the DS. When you consider Nintendo's message with the Revolution/Wii ("the new level in gaming experinece"), you've got to believe that Nintendo had this connectivity in mind when they designed the DS. I am very curious to see how well a touch-screen interface will work with Wii games.
So what do all these details mean? For one thing, it means that we're going to be looking at one very innovative, though inexpensive console when the Wii launches this fall. Meanwhile, Sony seems to be very quiet about the PS3. I can almost envision those behind-closed-doors meetings at Sony where they are desparately trying to figure out last-minute adjustments they can make to ensure they remain the industry leader.
Also, Sony has released virtually no specific plans about their online functionality for the PS3. PS2 really had a horrible interface, with pretty much no out-of-game communication at all between gamers. Don't get me wrong. I am stoked about the PS3 and will probably be picking one up on launch day, but it seems like they are too cocky with their dominance in the current generation and may just essentially cut themselves out of the competition in the next round.
Anyway, Nintendo certainly wanted our attention this past week and they got it. After E3, the Wii was seen as a cool little gizmo, but now it is becoming an actual, well-founded console with a solid business model. I wonder how many more little nuggets of information Nintendo still has up their sleeves with regard to the Wii...
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