Nintendo has announced plans to launch a video distribution service on the Wii, great news for gamers but a "nightmare" for Japanese television executives.
Unlike video-on-demand services for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, however, the new Wii service will feature content developed exclusively for Nintendo, including cartoons, cooking programs, lifestyle shows and "brain-training quizzes." Most of the shows will be supported by advertising, according to a Telegraph report, but some material will only be available on a pay-per-view basis.
Roughly 18 million Wii consoles worldwide are connected to the internet, and some Japanese broadcasters are said to be deeply worried about the launch of Wii-exclusive programming. A "leading TV official" in Japan admitted the Wii was now "the centerpiece of the living room," while an executive at broadcaster Fuji Television said the new service will be "the stuff of television producers' nightmares."
Whether Nintendo also plans to include conventional television shows and movies wasn't revealed, but the root concept of the service - extending console exclusivity to the realm of video programming - is unusual, to say the least. And while the venture also appears to be laden with risk, I've long since given up nay-saying anything Nintendo does. The company's ability to buck trends while amassing Scrooge McDuck-like piles of cash is no guarantee of success, but it does give observers a reason to think twice before dismissing its strategies as crazy and doomed to failure.
The service is being developed by Nintendo and Dentsu Inc., the largest advertising company in Japan. The service will debut this year in Japan, but no dates have been set for international launches.