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Nintendo Confirms Free Online Play For Wii 348

Posted by Zonk
from the with-your-internets-and-whatnot dept.
Via Gamasutra, an interview in USA Today with Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime confirms that the Wii's online component will be free to play. The outspoken Nintendo advocate says "We will offer online-enabled games that the consumers will not have to pay a subscription fee for. They'll be able to enjoy that right out of the box. The Wii console is going to be Wi-Fi enabled, so essentially, you'll be able to plug it in and go. It won't have hidden fees or costs."
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Nintendo Confirms Free Online Play For Wii

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  • Great Move (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tommertron (640180) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:30PM (#15910930) Homepage Journal
    Gets people to pick up the hardware. Also, if people can get on for free, it's a lot more likely that they'll stick around and maybe buy a few classic games.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:30PM (#15910933)
    It seems like with both Sony and Nintendo supplying free online match play, Microsoft will have to give in and make Live free. They can still make money selling games like Geometry Wars, and also in game content...
    • by UbuntuDupe (970646) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:35PM (#15910970) Journal
      Yes, good point, the PS3 has a huge advantage in cost.
    • by p0tat03 (985078) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:16PM (#15911271)

      Depends. If Ninty's online service is of the same calibre as Live (instead of just a random PC-like matchmaking service) and becomes HUGE, I can see Live becoming free. But as of now MS is the only one that has proven themselves capable of making a good console online experience.

      • I guess I missed the point of Live during my free month. In what way is it not "just a random PC-like matchmaking service"? Obviously it also has the features of an IM client, but that's nothing new and I have no doubts that the wii and ps3 online services will offer it.
        • Obviously it also has the features of an IM client, but that's nothing new

          Well, yes, PCs had IM for years, but on the DS for example Nintendo intentionally didn't provide any online chatting, so all you get is random match making and nothing else, which is really kind of annoying. There are also tons of DS games around that have multiplayer, but aren't online enabled. So while the online support for DS is better then nothing, its still very basic. If Wii doesn't do better I don't think that XBoxLive has t

        • by xenocide2 (231786) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @02:54PM (#15912119) Homepage
          I doubt Nintendo will offer an IM service to players. It's useful and lets players build communities, but the potential for Internet preditory practices is something Nintendo understandably wants to avoid, at the expense of building an online community. Look at the awkward systems on the DS. You can't communicate with people you haven't already met in the real world. And even if you do get their number through outside means like a gamefaqs forum, few games allow serious conversations. Mario kart provides no method of communication at all. Metroid Prime only allows you to talk with people you've met before, and only during the time for choosing game options.

          What this embargo on interplayer communication means is team oriented play is nigh impossible. You'd have to do something similar to the iconographic messages used in Phantasy Star Online, which was primarily designed to let people of different languages play together. Building up a meaningful vocabulary like that will take a lot of investment from both the designer and the players.
          • by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @04:07PM (#15912984)
            Mario kart provides no method of communication at all. Metroid Prime only allows you to talk with people you've met before, and only during the time for choosing game options.

            Seriously, some of us actually prefer this. It's the really hardcore players that get into the whole "clan" thing - even instant messaging through a game console is pretty geeky. I mean you can talk about how many subscribers XBL has - you're still talking a couple million people out of a population of 300 million in this country, and it's been stuck at that same number for a long time now. (It's also counting people like me, who got a free subscription, never used it, and then let it lapse.) Online team play and online chat with random people are features for a) the very young, and/or b) the very hardcore.

            I think one of the lessons you can take from the DS is that the mass market either doesn't mind, or actually prefers, to be without these features. One of the things that drove me away from XBL was just the sheer idiocy I was forced to endure, and I know I'm not the only one who feels that way. It got so I would actually disconnect my headset and try to play without it, but then I'd either get kicked out of games or not allowed in because you can tell who's not voice connected. So then I'd connect my headset but just leave it on the floor - worked a little better, but it's a stupid thing to have to do. The bottom line is while I want to be able to play against other people, I do not want to have to talk to or listen to them. I know I'm not alone in this - it may go against the hardcore gamer grain, but there is a lot of resistance among more casual players to being forced into this soup of mostly teenage male hormones.

            I've always said that XBL is just a disaster waiting to happen. Someday, a teenage prostitution ring is going to be discovered operating through XBL and that'll pretty much be the end of that for MS. They'll be held liable, whatever their user agreement states. You can bet congress will take notice if the courts don't. Why would Nintendo want any part of that potential headache?

            I think it's probably pretty smart to enable anyone to play online for free, but to sell some sort of microphone attacment to those who want it. So if you want to have your games with friends, or you want to use the service as a dating service or whatever, you can. But those of us who just want to play a quick game against a human without fuss and without having to deal with a bunch of morons can do so without being shunned because we've turned off a required piece of borg electronics.
          • "I doubt Nintendo will offer an IM service to players."

            When last I heard, they were calling it "!!M" ("Wii" upside-down).
      • I thought it was confirmed already that Wii's online service will use friend codes, much like the DS. If that's the case, let's hope there's a way to find new people to play with -- I don't like having a great Tetris match with someone and not being able to add them to my friend list.
      • I agree. XBox Live (on the 360 at least) is quite nice. I like the whole setup with the mic and everything too.

        I think Nintendos service will be a lot like the DS but probably with some added features (I hope).

        I doubt it will be as good as Live, but for free I won't complain.

        I personally prefer playing against people in person which is something I think the Wii will excel at.
  • Seals the deal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rectum2003 (686009) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:31PM (#15910940)
    This seals the deal for me! I wans't quite sure I wanted to buy a next-gen console, but this, the wi-mote, the 27-game lineup, the non-evil practices, I'm sold!
    • Re:Seals the deal (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mrchaotica (681592) * on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:47PM (#15911065)

      The Wii is the the first console I'll be buying since the Sega Genesis, and it's for the same reasons you stated.

    • Re:Seals the deal (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WankersRevenge (452399) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:07PM (#15911212)
      This seals the deal for me! I wans't quite sure I wanted to buy a next-gen console, but this, the wi-mote, the 27-game lineup, the non-evil practices, I'm sold!

      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo#1990.E2.80.9 31995 [wikipedia.org]:

      "By the end of the 1980s the courts found Nintendo guilty of anti-trust activities because it had abused its relationship with third-party developers and created a monopoly in the gaming industry by not allowing developers to make games for any other platforms."

      All three of these next-gen console companies are bastards ... as a consumer, you should hope for a draw so that there is innovation as opposed to stagnation
      • Yeah Nintendo is like the Michael Jackson of video games... on the exterior they pretend to care about children and everything they do is for the love of children... but really they just like to... well... you konw the rest...
      • Re:Seals the deal (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cowscows (103644) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @02:10PM (#15911720) Journal
        That was a good number of years, and a no-longer-existing monopoly ago. Nintendo really seems to be making a lot of the right moves as of late. They know that they have to earn their money now, they can't just dictate why people are going to give them money, or force unfavorable terms on developers. They've also had some employee turn-over over the decades, so hopefully they've purged most of that arrogant mindset.

        While I'm not naive enough to think that the bottom line isn't Nintendo's biggest concern, their recent history, combined with what they've shown about their future leads me to forgive them their past wrongs. If they manage to pull together an 85% marketshare this next-gen somehow, and then start being assholes about it, my feelings will quickly change. But I don't see that happening, so I'm not too worried.

        As for how it will really pan out, I hope Sony loses big, because they really could use the sort of humbling that Nintendo has already been through. Sony has basically gotten a draw(at best) with the PSP vs. the DS, and they still don't seem to have learned anything from it. Sometimes it takes a complete stomping to make people really reflect on the decisions they've been making. And even if the PS3 completely bombed, Nintendo and MS would still have each other to keep them reasonably honest.
    • It's funny because back in the NES and SNES days Nintendo was just about as abusive as you can get with their near monopoly status. Just as retailers who had to stock those things and ended up just eating the cost of any returned units because Nintendo wouldn't take returns or offer a refund.
    • by polv0 (596583)
      As an MBA student having just studied the rise of the video game industry in the late 80s, lead by Nintendo, this article makes perfect strategic sense for Nintendo. The industry then was catagorized by "Demand Side Increasing Returns." Rather than the typical increasing returns created on the supply side by economies of scale or scope, demand side increasing returns occur through network effects. When there is a large installed user or support base for a product in a category such as this, there is a la
  • Which games? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LoverOfJoy (820058) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:31PM (#15910941) Homepage
    What games are they planning to have online capabilities? From what I've read, most don't have any anyway. This isn't to troll, I simply don't know of any (at least not scheduled for launch).
    • Re:Which games? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Durrok (912509)
      Don't know, but imagine if they could add online multiplayer to some of their classic games. Possibilities are interesting for sure.
      • Re:Which games? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by szembek (948327)
        Mariokart! Goldeneye!!!! damn, that would be sweet.
      • Re:Which games? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by LindseyJ (983603)
        Nintendo has a great track record of multiplayer and party games, just none online (to speak of). If the new Super Smash Bros. is online, that'd be pretty sweet. I foam at the mouth anticipating a game like Crystal Chronicals or Zelda: Four Swords online.
    • by ianscot (591483) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:07PM (#15911209)

      The example networked title Nintendo referred to at their E3 press gig was Animal Crossing, which was kind of interesting given that no AC title has been announced for the Wii to my knowledge. Whatever executive it was used AC as an example of how persistent, "even when you're not playing it" connectivity would open new possibilities. The idea was to visit other people's towns in AC at any time and so on.

      The DS version of Animal Crossing would be an interesting precedent. The graphics are very close to the ones on the old GameCube title, which really looked more like an N64 game truth be told. Game play is very unconventional -- no real goals except as you choose, just puttering around, and, big finish, very much intended for and marketing to a different set of gamers. Does this sound like the general approach being taken with Wii?

      (My kids have the DS version, "Wide World," and have successfully gotten several different adults to try it out. Their grandma enjoyed it.)

    • The number of Game Cube games with LAN support (that almost no one uses) makes me hopeful. There is no reason for game designers to not include online play in any multiplayer game, especially if nintendo does all the hard work (matchmaking, server browsing, etc). I look forward to the day when online play is a non-feature, it should simply be an assumed portion of any '4-player' game.
      • Re:Which games? (Score:3, Interesting)

        While I love online multiplayer, the unfortunet side effect is that developers seem to think that it's a substitute for local multiplayer or LAN multiplayer (where most gamers who care will tell you it's not). If Xbox Live is any indication the more games go online the less use you'll get out of your 3rd and 4th controllers, even less use out of that cross-over cable.

        There are almost NO 4 player games for the Xbox 360, yet almost all of them COULD very well support it and DO support 12, 16, 32 players on
  • I like not having to pay for my DS to use Wifi, but the friend code system makes me pull my hair out. There are so many little checks and safeguards thrown in to prevent you from being able to easily and effectively add people to your friends list. I would rather pay a subscription fee like I do for XBox Live and be able to enjoy seamless integration of friends, messages, etc. throughout all my games.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      If you've got a credit card to pay for live, then you're probably not the target for pedos and the like.

      If you've got a Nintendo DS, you probably are.

      At least, thats the way people tend to think. Only little kids play gameboys, grownups play xbox games.
      • by LordSkippy (140884) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:58PM (#15911143)
        grownups play xbox games.


        You sir, have evidently never been on X-Box Live. You'll never find a more wretched hive of foul-mouthed prepubescents.

        Recently, a friend of mine said he was thinking of buying an X-Box 360. He wanted it because of the camera attachment being used in games, so he can see the other players. He thought it was cool.

        My response: "I've played on Live with all the 13 year olds cussing in my ear. I don't think I want to see them."

        • It just so happens that a lot of the more mature people on Xbox Live don't tend to play as many public games, but play more with friends in private games. There are even communities of people (like 2Old2Play [2old2play.com] where you can find lots of people to add to your XBL friends list so you always have people to play with. I spend most of my online gaming time with friends instead of in public games, and I've had a ton of fun.

          And all the foul-mouthed kids are driving their reputations down and having more trouble fi
  • by dominion (3153) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:36PM (#15910990) Homepage
    Damn, could they make the Wii any more attractive to casual gamers? I've always wanted to play online games, but I'll be damned if I'm gonna pay for a game, and then keep paying more for the service.

    $200-$250 price point, fun games, and free online play. The only way they could make it more attractive is to [insert natalie portman reference here].
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Hate to pour a bucket of cold water on the Nintendo love (I feel it too), but free online gaming is not in any way special. Like, totally free if you have a PC, forget the $200 for the console and $50 for the game. Yahoo Games for casual folk. Weird indie stuff like the Google Maps RTS and MMO asteroids. Tons of demos (I'm playing the Sword of the Stars demo right now, it's ace and has free online). Enemy Territory, Nexuiz and now FEAR:Combat for the FPSers.

      When you do at as far as paying for PC games, the
    • Damn, could they make the Wii any more attractive to casual gamers? I've always wanted to play online games, but I'll be damned if I'm gonna pay for a game, and then keep paying more for the service.

      I agree wholeheartedly.

      The more I hear about the Wii, the more likely I am to get one. My PS2 is gathering dust, and I won't buy a PS3.

      All of the other cool stuff about the Wii plus the chance to dabble in some on-line games for no extra cost sound awfully attractive.

      Cheers

  • Not the VC (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wind_Walker (83965) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:37PM (#15910996) Homepage Journal
    Let's make something clear though - the highly anticipated Virtual Console (which is able to download and play NES/Genesis/SNES/N64 games) will not be free. The pricing hasn't been released yet, but current estimates are $5 to $10 for a game. I would also hope that browsing these games would be free as well (unlike Xbox Live Arcade, where you must first pay for XBL and then pay again for XBLA games)

    This announcement is for games like Mario Kart Wii or (please God let this be true) Super Smash Brothers Wii. Those games will be free, and that's what Reggie was talking about.
    • Well, I would *hope* that goes without saying. The idea that Nintendo would just give away what amounts to a nearly infinite back catalogue is, to say the least, silly.
    • I thought that you could browse and purchase anything available in the marketplace with an Xbox Live Silver account? Yep, I was right. From xbox.com:

      Easy to Try
      Silver-level access is free of charge for all Xbox 360 owners (except those who have previously been banned from Xbox Live and Korean users under the age of 14)--there's no reason not to try it, even if you're just the slightest bit curious. It's an instant membership that's only a few clicks away. (Note that there is a limit to the number of Silver
      • I stand corrected. I actually had forgotten about the Silver free subscription. So if I have a Silver account (free) and buy Street Fighter Hyper Fighting from XBLA, can I then play that online? I'm honestly asking, I really have no clue.

        In any case, the article states that for Nintendo releases at least (which, let's be honest, are the primary reason for buying Nintendo consoles) the online play will be 100% free. Third party titles, we'll have to wait and see. I suspect it will be similar to Dream
        • I stand corrected. I actually had forgotten about the Silver free subscription. So if I have a Silver account (free) and buy Street Fighter Hyper Fighting from XBLA, can I then play that online? I'm honestly asking, I really have no clue.

          No, you need the Gold account to play online. Silver would let you buy SFHF from XBLA and play it single player.
      • The fun part comes when you use your silver account to download a game. Or a demo. That takes 8 hours to download. And then you find out it has no single player component. damn BF2:MC demo
    • It seems pretty clear that they are saying that the online service will be completly free. Sure the online service will allow you to buy stuff i.e non free games. But they clearly arn't going to be charging for you to connect. They have also floated many rumors that there will be many free games as well, and that classic NES games may be as cheap as $1. They even hinted at itunes model in one article I read.
    • You can get a free "Silver" account that lets you browse and buy all the Xbox live arcade games without paying a dime for the actual xbox live service.
  • Wiinner (Score:5, Funny)

    by Belgarion89 (969077) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:41PM (#15911030)
    Did anyone else try pronouncing "wiinner" from TFA? Anyone who did keep a straight face?
  • by Volante3192 (953645) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:42PM (#15911034)
    It's the same premise. We will offer online-enabled games that the consumers will not have to pay a subscription fee for. They'll be able to enjoy that right out of the box. The Wii console is going to be Wi-Fi enabled, so essentially, you'll be able to plug it in and go. It won't have hidden fees or costs.

    Note they didn't explicitly say "online play will be free," rather that "some online content will be free."

    This still leaves the door to some subscription based services, possibly including 3rd parties. Course, some free content better than no free content.

    Just seems that the general view is everything online would be free, I just don't read it like that.
    • by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:57PM (#15911136) Journal
      I think the "no hidden fees" bit is pretty self expanitory. SURE there may be a subscription based MMORG released, and noone expects that to be free, but its clear that all of what you get with an XBOX Live premium service will be free.
      • "but its clear that all of what you get with an XBOX Live premium service will be free."

        No, it's not clear at all. The only thing that is clear is that the games Nintendo creates themselves will not have a subscription fee for online play. And to counter your sibling poster, "hidden fees and costs" are only hidden if not disclosed. It would be very easy for EA Sports for example to release a Madden 07 that charges a monthly fee for online play but clearly states this in the packaging. It would violate n
        • And this would be within Nintendos control how exactly? I don't know much about Nintendos Network Stack, but assuming they do allow third party networks, I don't see whats wrong with Madden charging for it.
      • I honestly don't think the parent poster knows anything about xbox live premium service. This does not state that the Wii will have that level of service at all. This should be modded down since it is inaccurate...but since it says something positive about Nintendo, it gets modded up. Please moderators....as they would say on a WoW forum...learn2mod.
    • Actually, my bet is that their online play features will work exactly like the DS. The games will use something similar to Nintendo's WFC, and will allow players to compete against one another for no cost. Will they likely provide other services for a price? Probably. The virtual console being on obvious example. But I highly suspect straight-forward WiFi play, which costs money on the 360, will be free of charge.
    • Sorry, but your reading comprehension skills suck.

      We will offer online-enabled games that the consumers will not have to pay a subscription fee for.

      It won't have hidden fees or costs.

      How much clearer do you need it to be for you to understand?
      • Well, since you asked... I need the "We" to be clearer. Specifically, is that "We, Nintendo," or "We, all Wii game publishers including Nintendo,"? If only first party games have free online play then it will be a short (albeit surely great) list. This hinges on the server model. If clients act as servers (like you can do for small games with most PC RTS and FPS games) then nintendo is only offering the matchup and account maintenance details and theres no way for a game developer to charge for play.
      • We will offer online-enabled games that the consumers will not have to pay a subscription fee for.
        It won't have hidden fees or costs.

        How much clearer do you need it to be for you to understand?


        "We will offer" is not the same as "we will ONLY offer".

        Dell offers a 1 year warranty by default, but you can GET an additional 2 years paying them.
        Companies offer shareware versions of games that include, say, the first few levels but the whole product isn't free.

        They are saying they will provide content that you don
      • Online enabled != Online multiplayer

        All the 360 games are online-enabled, yet not all of them can play online. Achievements, leaderboards, downloadable content. All free of charge, ie no monthly fee. Why didn't he just plainly say "We will offer online-multiplayer games that the consumers will not have to pay a subscription fee for."?
  • by y5 (993724) * on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:47PM (#15911066)

    For me, the Xbox was much more fun online than the PS2 due to the fact that they actively maintained the network. While I could play SOCOM and deal with the abundance of hacks and online Pro Action Replay users, it just wasn't fun compared to any time I'd sit and play Rainbow Six 3 or even Halo2. And while I credit MS for not regarding its online game system as something that could police itself, I also understand that they wouldn't have done so if it weren't for the monthly fee.

    On the end-user side, the presence of a monthly fee also helps cut down on people who would not otherwise regard their online gaming as a privilege. Sure, you have brats and cheaters, but not near the amount that were on the free PS2 connection.

    Here's to hoping that the improvements in the online capability of the DS (compare Mario Kart DS to Metroid Prime Hunters) will carry on to the Wii, and continue to get better.

    ::fingers crossed:: And maybe my dream will come true. What are the chances of Nintendo buying all companies responsible for creating Pro Action Replay and like devices, and only releasing them for competing systems? I would love to see that =)

    • Blame the developers of SOCOM for developing a crappy cheater-friendly game, not Sony for not policing the network (which is the whole internet). PS2 online games function exactly the same as any PC online game, and somehow many of those remain cheat free. And don't complain that PS2 games can't be patched, runtime patching from files on the memory card which could be downloaded from the developer's servers is a perfectly viable option.
  • While Wifi Connection is nice, the Friend Code system is a real pain. Hopefully they won't continue this model for the Wii.

    The advantage of Xbox Live, from what I've seen, is standardization and support. I deserve a higher level of service when I pay rather than get it free...and Live has generally delivered. I don't ever remember having Live downtime in serious quantities (*cough* Blizzard *cough*), and it seems like the games on Live have strong SOPs relative to what I saw on the PS2, which is the main
    • >While Wifi Connection is nice, the Friend Code system is a real pain. Hopefully they won't continue this model for the Wii.

      signs seem to be pointing to the wii using the friend code system... I'd rather pay for a non pain in the ass system (but i'm still getting a wii to put beside my 360)
  • Awesome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RyoShin (610051) <tukaroNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @12:50PM (#15911088) Homepage Journal
    This means that when we get games like Super Smash Brothers: Brawl, Pokemon Battle Revolution, and Phantasy Star Universe (should it be ported to the Wii) will be even more of a hit without having to worry about the monthly fee.

    I just hope that they set up the games so you can connect to random players in the same skill bracket. I don't have a DS myself, but I imagine having to go and hunt out Friend Codes so you can play online gets obnoxious after a while.

    Here's his statement:
    It's the same premise. We will offer online-enabled games that the consumers will not have to pay a subscription fee for. They'll be able to enjoy that right out of the box. The Wii console is going to be Wi-Fi enabled, so essentially, you'll be able to plug it in and go. It won't have hidden fees or costs.
    It should be noted, however, that when he says "we", he probably means only Nintendo. So, third parties may still be able to charge for their own monthly fees. We'll have to wait until the end of this month/early September to get final clarification on this.
    • Metroid Prime Hunters on the DS has a "find players of the same rank as me" setting in its WiFi mode, so I guess Nintendo could implement something like that with the Wii. I still lose all the time in MP:H, anyway, though.
  • I now think that the next Super Smash Brothers will be more successful than Halo 3.
  • Yep, I'm sold. (Score:2, Interesting)

    Between Sony garroting themselves in public, pricing their console way out of what I consider a sane price range, and foisting Blu-Ray at a significant cost to their customers, I think the Wii will get my vote for the console I'll buy this generation.

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:23PM (#15911320) Homepage Journal
    Virtual console will be like a walk down memory lane, but (un)fortunately, most of the people I shared that lane with have all gone in different geographical directions(I'm in Europe and they are all in the US) Will I be able to play virtual console games across the internet like the person was sitting across the room? Furthermore, will I actually be able to use the Wii microphone to converse with the person? The "same room" experience can never be completely recreated, I think that game companies should try to replicate it as much as possible. I was was unimpressed by the DS online play for Mario Kart. If you are playing against a friend you cannot communicate with them in-game, really all you do is do a post-game aim conversation..bleh. And playing against strangers was pretty much like playing against the computer but only more frustrating as the computer never dropped out of the race when it was losing.

    It is possible to play old games across the internet, zsnes for example does it but I couldn't get their system to work the one time I tried and it still doesn't solve the problem of convenient in-game communication.
    • "Will I be able to play virtual console games across the internet like the person was sitting across the room?"

      Unless some games are specifically tooled for this purpose, I wouldn't expect it at all. None of those games were made with the idea that the other player would have a ~100ms response time.
  • Is it possible that Wii games with DS link capablity will now be able to work out of the box. The GBA link idea was fun for some games but the need to buy a separate rather hard to find cable to enjoy it made it something that most dont even know they can do. Animal Crossing, Madden and Zelda all come to mind as ones that really enhanced the gaming experience.
  • by roguenine19 (901001) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:47PM (#15911517)
    Nintendo is really trying to emphasize the ease with which one can do just about everything with a Wii: input is intuitive, online play is free and wifi is automatically enabled, etc.

    However, all this ease of use can be a bad thing if it limits how we can use the system. The DS' online play, for example, was designed to be easy and straightforward, but in doing so it severely restricts the experience. In-game chat is nonexistant, friend codes are a pain in actual practice and it doesn't support WPA encryption. I see the same problems potentially popping up for the Wii. What if I don't want my box connected to the Internet when I'm not playing games? What if I want to be able to play online with random people, and not have to use a site for swapping friend codes? What if I want to use something stronger than WEP encryption?

    Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to the Wii, because I trust Nintendo to deliver straightforward, fun games that Just Work. They have a good track record on that. What they don't have is a good record on online gaming.

    I just hope they don't go so far in trying to make online gaming cheap, easy, and safe that it ends up being a royal pain to play. Then again, I suppose there are far worse things to be afraid of.
  • by sjonke (457707) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:50PM (#15911536) Journal
    The great thing about this is that instead of using a $600 console and paying monthly fees to purchase, download and play Pac Man, you can use a $300 console without paying montly fees to purchase, download and play Pac Man!
  • Encryption level? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sp00nMan (199816) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @01:55PM (#15911579) Journal
    I really, really hope the Wii doesn't only support WEP like the DS does. It's bad enough having to run my wireless network in degraded security mode. Maybe they will go with WPA2 and somehow upgrade the DS in the future?

    • by bwalling (195998) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @02:23PM (#15911835) Homepage
      I really, really hope the Wii doesn't only support WEP like the DS does. It's bad enough having to run my wireless network in degraded security mode.
      Sheesh, you nerd! It's your house - WEP is fine.
    • Re:Encryption level? (Score:5, Informative)

      by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @02:52PM (#15912099)

      Network encryption on the DS is done in software, not hardware. Each title comes with its own code for managing the wifi connection.

      The developers of Mario Kart DS were not able to implement anything more secure than WEP in that title without affecting playability. So that game does not support WPA and never will. It's not unreasonable, though, that later titles, once devs learn to make better use of the system -- or titles like the Opera browser in which frame-perfect network synchronization is not as critical -- may support additional forms of encryption.

      Myself, I just locked down my wireless router to require WEP and only accept traffic from the MAC addresses of the wireless gear I own. It seems a fair compromise eto me.
    • Re:Encryption level? (Score:3, Informative)

      by RyoShin (610051)
      If you don't want to hook up Wii-reless (sorry, couldn't resist), the Wii will support a USB-to-network attachment so you can go the wired route.
  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @02:00PM (#15911625)
    Just because the ability to go online may be free doesn't mean the actual content will be.

    And read this statement carefully: "We will offer online-enabled games that the consumers will not have to pay a subscription fee for."

    What that implies to me is that any game with online-support will allow a gamer to play online without being charged. That's essentially the same model for every PC game with online play excluding MMOs.

    That statement says nothing about whether or not downloadable games will be free and certainly doesn't mention anything about subscription-based games like MMOs.

    I don't think Nintendo is doing anything wrong here; I just think people are reading too much into the statement.
  • People, people... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CaseM (746707) on Tuesday August 15, 2006 @02:32PM (#15911909)
    We will offer online-enabled games that the consumers will not have to pay a subscription fee for. They'll be able to enjoy that right out of the box. The Wii console is going to be Wi-Fi enabled, so essentially, you'll be able to plug it in and go. It won't have hidden fees or costs.

    He did not say "we will offer all"...he just said "we will offer online-enabled games..." This guys is a *salesman* first and foremost. A salesman - i.e. what he didn't say is just as important as what he did. This is a shell game played with words and misdirection. You could say the same exact things about Microsoft's XBox Live service's "out of the box" capabilies - "online-enabled games that consumers will not have to pay a subscription fee for...etc etc" All of those things are true of the XBL Silver account...you just can't play head-to-head without a gold account.

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