Starting May 1 in Japan, the Nintendo Wii is getting a new video service channel called "Wii no Ma" (Wii Room). Nintendo president Satoru Iwata introduces it in a new video.
Nintendo is partnering with Japanese ad agency Dentsu for the endeavor, which is for the Wii and the DS. Instead of offering existing movies and television programming, as seen in Sony's video on demand service and Microsoft's Xbox Live Video Marketplace, Nintendo is offering cartoons and "mainly family-oriented programming" options created especially for the Wii video service.
In a video message from Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, the exec does admit that there are few programs at the moment, "but that number will increase." Iwata also announces that five Tokyo TV stations have signed on to provide continue.
Iwata points out that the Wii was luckily launched when large screen TVs became popular — giving more reasons for families to congregate in the living room like they used to. Wii Sports and Wii Fit capitalized on the idea of families congregating in the living room. "Our own research says that approximately 87 percent of Wiis are connected to the largest TV in the house, which is in the living room," says Iwata.
Wii no Ma also allows those who might not be gamers enjoy using the Nintendo Wii by watching programs. According to Nintendo, things like this can help video games be accepted.
"In the beginning, Wii no Ma is available only in Japan," Iwata says, "but there are plans to launch the service aboard in the future." All the programs will be free at first, but Iwata does reveal that down the line Nintendo is readying programs with a "small" fee — something that Nintendo has stated since announcing this project.