Seeing Pokemon Black & White's local four-way video chat in action doesn't make it look any less useless.
Earlier this week, we learned about some cool new features to be included in the upcoming Pokemon Black & White, like a video chat mode that lets you use the DSi's camera and Wi-Fi connection to speak with your friends face-to-face (theoretically) anywhere in the world.
The video chat also has a four-way group chat mode, it was announced - but we learned that this would only be available over the DS' local wireless connection. You know, the local wireless connection with a range of about ~30 feet on a good day. So, this four-way video chat requires all four participants to effectively be within the same room in order for it to work.
It's almost impressive, in a stunningly vestigial sort of way.
Above (from about 0:40 onwards), you can see the four-way chat in action on one of those crazy Japanese Pokemon TV shows, and just as we suspected, it's rather silly. Now, don't get me wrong - I think that from a technical standpoint, it's actually pretty neat. With a beefier Wi-Fi network and more powerful hardware, this sort of thing could be a very impressive feature down the line. Think about full group video chat combined with something like Xbox Live's party system - that sounds like it'd be a good idea, right?
But in its current form? While there may be something hilarious about four people chatting over their DSes while well within range to look up and just speak to each other normally, I think our initial predictions were right on the money. "Stunningly pointless," indeed.