Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
arrowPress Releases
August 1, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


Nintendo counts on 'second-screening' to win the living room
Nintendo counts on 'second-screening' to win the living room
September 13, 2012 | By Leigh Alexander

September 13, 2012 | By Leigh Alexander
Comments
    16 comments
More:



After spending almost an entire console generation appearing disinterested in multimedia and networked services, Nintendo says it's just been waiting for the right technology. Now, the company hopes the Wii U's "second screen" approach will give it the upper hand in the living room entertainment biz, and make it the top device through which consumes access all their media in the home.

Although the Wii handily won the install base race -- and the company's director of network business Zach Fountain says the Wii is also the top non-PC platform for Netflix -- most view Nintendo as the overall last to this particular party.

It's always been rival platforms that focused their message on multimedia partnerships and the role holistic devices with a la carte networked services would play in the home. But now, Nintendo certainly looks like it's trying to head off a more immediate competitor, not play catch-up in the old console wars.

At its New York City Wii U event, Nintendo didn't talk about Microsoft and Sony. Nor did it talk about Apple or Google -- who both suddenly seem like the company's more immediate rivals. Apple has gotten millions of eyeballs acclimated to its phone and tablet-sized touch screens, and seems as though it's about to negotiate the chasm between these omnipresent "second screens" and the big television through Apple TV.

Though one can speculate it's Apple's work in that regard that helped lead to Nintendo developing Wii U, with its tablet-like input and companion device, the company clearly hopes to leverage the culture of second-screening to get a strong foothold on the living room through its recently-detailed TVii service.

And by offering media apps plus access to one's own regular TV and cable packages directly out of the box with no subscription fees for the service, Nintendo looks like it's aiming to remain competitive -- and to justify the deluxe Wii U's $300 basic pricing, steep compared to current-gen console prices and the $99 Apple TV.

The protestations and desire for exclusivity on the part of cable carriers have created significant challenges to Apple and Google's home entertainent ambitions, but Nintendo seems to have sidestepped this particular barrier by simply allowing its television functionality to interact fuss-free with existing set-top boxes. Fountain told attendees to Nintendo's event that users can access their overall programming guide interface by answering a couple questions about their carrier and package, and then the Wii U controller's remote control function interacts through infrared codes.

"Imagine, if you're a content creator, you want the greatest possible exposure and distribution," Fountain said at a breakout Q&A session. "Some platforms have walls built around them; what Nintendo TVii is doing is joining all of those together."

This was particularly important to Nintendo's strategy because the overwhelming majority of television viewers -- some 80 percent -- still primarily keep up with favorite shows through traditional TV channels, not online or app-based services. Wii U's second screen is a way to integrate that viewing functionality with the type of touch device Nintendo believes home users are already well accustomed to.

"I can't reinforce this point enough: The ways that everyone's watching, now, they're changing. There are more video services than ever, and more time-shifted viewing on DVR... but traditional TV still dominates 98 percent of video viewing," Foountain says. "By building an experience, a Nintendo TV that works with what you already have, we have already covered a huge occasion that is missing from other platforms."



It's made possible through a partnership with independent developer i.TV, a company with a history of creating integrated and branded experiences for second screens. The TVii service "has been built for the ground up for Nintendo," says Fountain. "Everything you see with the Nintendo TVii will be exclusive to the platform with the important exception: The social component around these live moments that are delivered."

Users will be able to see, share and comment on notable moments in their shared viewing, Fountain explains. That social component may become available to other partners outside Nintendo, but the rest of its approach is proprietary. Individual Wii U users each get their own viewer profiles, with recommendation engines tailored to their preferences and individual social media logins.

"I think immediately at launch we have some wonderful points of difference," says Fountain. "The second screen is so critical; it's integrated, you don't have to provide your own separate screen, download an app or sync your devices. It's built to work out of the box. There are a lot of interesting services out there, but you have to go buy harddware, or it's an incremental purchase, or you might have ongoing subscription fees."

"A lot of the ideas around interaction with live TV will debut when this service launches," he adds.


Related Jobs

Bigpoint
Bigpoint — Berlin, Germany
[08.01.14]

Associate / Senior UI Game Developer Scaleform (m/f)
Bigpoint GmbH
Bigpoint GmbH — Berlin, Germany
[08.01.14]

Lead Game Designer
Bigpoint GmbH
Bigpoint GmbH — Hamburg, Germany
[08.01.14]

Game Developer Mobile
Bigpoint
Bigpoint — Hamburg, Germany
[08.01.14]

Game Designer - Strategy MMO (m/f)










Comments


Matt Robb
profile image
"the Wii U controller's remote control function interacts through infrared codes"

Genius in its obvious simplicity.

Cordero W
profile image
I can see Sony and Microsoft going: "WTF?! We totally forgot about the TV!"

wes bogdan
profile image
Still no acomplishments i wonder if achievement /trophy hunters will feel burned on wii u.

Patrick Davis
profile image
Considering many achievements and trophys are handed out for accomplishing next to nothing these days, I can't say this is much of a loss. Do I really need an achievement for putting the disk in the system and pressing start, beginning the first stage, or dying the first time? Many games seem to believe so.

Chuck Bartholomew
profile image
With the social networking hooks built-in, it would not be difficult to roll out an achievements engine at a later date.

Rey Samonte
profile image
I can see Sony implementing something similar with PS3/4 and the Vita through remote play? It has the capability to connect via Wifi.

Bob Johnson
profile image
So the Wii U is going to switch tv inputs via IR or ..?

I read Nintendo didn't want anyone to photograph the back of their Wii U console (source: Engadget) so perhaps it will accept video in from set top boxes and Nintendo didn't want this out in the wild yet.

Chuck Bartholomew
profile image
This seems very likely to me. How else can you get what's on your TV onto the Wii U unless it intercepts the video feed the TV receives?

Nooh Ha
profile image
"Although the Wii handily won the install base race"

Is the race over? Am sure Sony would argue it is only half way through the PS3 lifespan. I also reckon 360 will be supported long after 720's launch.

Jamie Mann
profile image
@Anthony: that was at least partly due to the fact that Microsoft had a spat with Nvidia over the cost of the GPU... and Nvidia won. So the original Xbox would have been expensive to keep producing.

(it's also perhaps part of the reason why the Xbox 360 ended up with an Ati/AMD GPU...)

Also, the original Xbox arguably didn't have enough of a userbase to justify keeping it in support. Conversely, the Xbox 360 has a far larger userbase and is still more than powerful enough for the various non-gaming activities (e.g. HD video streaming) that Microsoft is taking an active interest in these days...

Nooh Ha
profile image
@Anthony: MS actually stopped manufacturing the Xbox not long after 360 came out and stopped its software support as the hardware was still loss leading (unlike the PS2 at the same stage) and it wanted to bet the farm on establishing a strong 360 lead before PS3 came out. Microsoft has learnt from its original Xbox design mistakes and is already starting to emulate Sony with constant cost improvements and an increased focus on the sort of territories and demographics that has allowed Sony to boast 10 year+ lifespans. Sony has to date sold over 50m PS2s since the launch of PS3, all of them ripe for upgrades over the next decade to PS3 and then PS4. Why wouldn't Microsoft want to do the same?

A W
profile image
Hope to see this in action. If I can get HBO Go on it I'll be good.

Bruno Xavier
profile image
I'm tired of little "i"s everywhere.

Robert Swift
profile image
The controller looks cheap, imho.

kevin williams
profile image
You launch after Apple; then you don't allow photos of the product, and have to keep claiming the games are VERY early versions (for a system to be deployed in November), and then you actively ignore questions about the second Gamepad, or buying the Gamepad as a standalone unit! And then the icing on the cake, you reveal that the top-spec system has to be constantly connected and have a monthly subscription price (a price constantly being changed after each briefing).

I am not sure this launch will go down as one of Nintendo's best, and the seeming rushed nature of the machines presentation is a little telling. The Japanese financial media's coverage of the investor / board arguments at Nintendo over their avoidance to support online / DLC and stick with retail may explain some of what we are seeing!

I would like to gauge the actual spend on online (avatar, subscription, games etc.,) console support for the average player before I start drinking the Nintendo PR coolade and claiming the machine is good value?

Joe McGinn
profile image
Yet more confusion as Nintendo tries to define what is the Wii U exactly. I've come to believe that they honestly don't know themselves.


none
 
Comment: