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Iwata tackles Virtual Console prices, Wii Connect24 [update 3]

Ross Miller

Sure, we have a good grasp for what its controller can do, but what about this new-fangled Wii internet connectivity? Nintendo president Satoru Iwata recently sat down with Nikkei Business Publications to dish out some teasers regarding the Virtual Console and Wii Connect24.

Iwata showed hope that Nintendo's Virtual Console would allow developers to "create a reasonably entertaining game in 2 months with a team of three" and sell it for around 500 yen (likely $5 in the US). What Nintendo is banking on is that less financial risk will equate to more creative risk-taking, and the unique experiences will attract customers to the Wii (e.g. Ragdoll Kung-Fu, Geometry Wars).

Iwata further extrapolated on Wii Connect24, where he envisions the console connected 24 hours a day. Iwata hopes to give console owners new content every single day, and gives the example of having monthly DS demos download overnight, so that players can wake up, find a blinking light on their console, and know that they have new content from Nintendo.

Continue reading for more thoughts on the interview.

Here are some observations / suggestions:

  1. Culinary Allegories: For some reason, industry figureheads like to compare their products to food: Iwata discussed "eating French cuisine or a full dinner each day would quickly lead to boredom, wouldn't it? You'll want a simple bowl of rice and soup every now and then," pointing out the need for Virtual Console title as complementary to big-budget titles. Ken Kutaragi recently compared PlayStation 3's luxury by noting the disparity between "the company cafeteria" and "a fine restaurant." Where, then, does this put Microsoft on gaming's food pyramid chain? Hideo Kojima, too, compared next-gen gaming to steak dinners.
  2. Involuntary Downloading: Those monthly DS demos? As many of us do not like to waste memory on software we do not want / can't use (remember, some people don't have DS units), we hope there's an option to turn off nightly downloads. Also, we hope Nintendo learns from Microsoft's mistake and implements background downloading from the start.
  3. Quality Control: Nintendo wants original content every day, but how far are they willing to go to make that promise? We don't mind absorbing a game for a few days if it is of good quality, rather than some questionable "games" that pop up every 24 hours. Let's see the Nintendo Seal of Approval on these simple, priced-to-move titles.
  4. More silly allegories: Iwata: "some design Formula 1 cars, others design hybrid cars," a statement made to demonstrate how Nintendo is not "anti-technology," with the Wii representing hybrid cars in this scenario. We warn, however, that hybrid cars can cause dangerous increases in smug.
  5. Blinking Lights bug me ... argh.
While we get a lot about Nintendo's philosophy, we learn very little in terms of tangible facts. Hopefully this will change as the suspected launch date draws near.

[via Gamasutra]

[update 1: added Kojima's culinary comment.]

[update 2: "Blinking lights" comment moved to the end and re-worded to emphasizes its more tongue-in-cheek importance on the list. Many of the other, more serious, critiques are not meant as anti-Nintendo sentiment, but suggestions that all companies do (talk food) or should do (quality control).]

[update 3: fixed a minor typo]

In this article: DS, Wii

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