In a new interview
with major North American newspaper USA Today, Nintendo of America's recently promoted president and chief operating officer Reggie Fils-Aime has commented on a number of features of the Wii's imminent launch, including confirmation of free online play.
When asked about the pricing model for online use of the Wii, Fils-Aime commented that: "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."
Although there was still no official comment on release date or price, when asked whether Nintendo endorsed the idea of buying a Xbox 360 and Wii for the same price as a PlayStation 3 - a concept popularly referred to as "Wii60" on the Internet and at least tacitly endorsed by Microsoft executive Peter Moore - Fils-Aime was less enthusiastic. "I'd much rather have the consumer buy a Wii, some accessories and a ton of games versus buying any of my competitor's products," he said.
In responding to questions about the marketing of the console, often seen as a weak area for Nintendo, Fils-Aime was typically bullish, commenting that: "We're going to make it so that everyone who tries the Wii experience talks to their friends and neighbors. It's going to be a really provocative sight to be seeing teens and 20-year-olds and 40-year-olds and 50-year-olds talking about how different this experience is."
Speaking further about Nintendo's prospects for regaining its previous dominance of the games industry, Fils-Aime added, "Our goal is to have as many teens and young adults as we have 40-plus-year-olds excited about the platform. We're trying to expand this business here in the U.S in a way that it really hasn't been expanded ... for the health of this industry."
Interested parties can read the full USA Today interview
for further responses from Fils-Aime on Nintendo's longer-term plans.