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The Nintendo Wii U console was announced today at the annual E3 developer conference. If you haven’t seen it yet the BBC have a good summary, and Crunch Gear have a teaser video. Essentially the new console runs on a TV but also has controllers with built in screens that can also browse the Internet. The implications for gaming are immense, but there are also a number of interesting ways this could be utilised by businesses in the online space. Here’s just a few ideas:
It’s a child friendly tablet PC
This is probably the biggest point of all. Each controller has access to the Internet, in a device that is child friendly. The number of children with tablet PC’s is likely to be very low now, and will pale in comparison to the number of Wii controllers. So if Wii U is a similar success there will be a lot of children with portable Internet devices and decent sized screens. It’s a great opportunity to create online experiences for children that fit nicely on the 6.2 inch screen. For example I’d imagine the children’s gaming website Megaton would be a perfect fit.
It’s a new Operating System and Browser
So if you’ve just got to grips with Android and iOS there will undoubtedly be a new player in the arena. The Opera browser on the Wii is typically very poor, and if that also rolls out on to the Wii U it adds further emphasis on websites to support it. The main issue with Opera on Wii is it’s slow and images tend to look poor. You can get around this with a lower res version of the site, and we may need to all consider creating something of that type if people begin to browse via Wii U.
It means Nintendo is serious about online
With every new console Nintendo gets a little bit more confident with using the Internet. The Gamecube had an external modem, and the Wii had online play in a tiny amount of games. Now with iPhone selling games for 99p it has changed the space. In addition Microsoft and Sony have built in tools like Facebook, last.fm and PSN to their consoles. Nintendo need to respond and will have to partner with online providers to offer services for their users as this is something they lacked on the Wii (with the exception of a weather channel). This would work great for the BBC iPlayer for example, which can also be used on the Wii. This means brands with social networks, or digital services should be talking to Nintendo now about how they can build the properties in to Wii U, or offer them as downloadable extras.
It increases the number of online devices in a home
The president of Ericsson speculated there would be 50 billion online devices in the home by 2020. (Source: Gigaom). Now it seems he may be on to something. If Wii U supports four players, like it’s predecessor, then that’s another four online devices in a home, making the target seem less unrealistic. More devices means more people in a household can be online at once, increasing the time we spend online. So businesses should be thinking about extra ways to soak up this time, and using it to build their brands.
What do you think of the Nintendo Wii U? Is there good business potential for the device, or is it just for gamers? Please leave a comment below.