Wii goes Online? Hmmm…

What happens when you stack Wii online against another popular online gaming service like Xbox Live? Despite recent technical problems with Xbox Live – it remains a premium service. Is Wii ready to jump into premium online gaming?

At the Games Developers Conference Nintendo said it was! The company has announced the Pay & Play system that’ll charge to play Wii online. It’s going to be aimed specifically at certain online multiplayer games and will launch in conjunction with sure upcoming hits like Mario Kart Wii.

Nintendo Network administrations group confirmed a system will be employed that collects fees for some services. As disappointing as it is that Wii online won’t be completely free, the implied message is that there will be some free content.

Wii Online presents Pay & Play | Gizmo Republic

Two things about this: 

  1. Mario Kart world-wide?  WOOT.  I’ll rock you all.  (After all, I WAS Princess Peach for Halloween, complete with steering wheel)
  2. Considering the Wii has proven to be MUCH more family oriented than other game consoles, I’m very curious as how they’re going to approach safety & privacy.  The whole game rating system is nice, sure– but if parents are having trouble understanding privacy & information safety for their kids on the computer– with all our worries and frazzled rants– then are they even going to blink at such a concept on a kids’ console? 

    At least the collection & fees part might make a parent say “What? I just bought you this game, why do I have to pay more for it?” and then perhaps the conversation will start about it being online… I just would like to see a family-friendly console make a HUGE effort to inform their family-friendly audience about the huge possibilities of having young members of a family connect to the world– beyond the computer/internet scenarios. 

    Like: “Hey, Ma & Pa, did you know that the Wii now allows your family to play with millions of people around the world LIVE?  Yep.  And you know what else that means?  Besides having a grand time in Mario Kart with Grandma in Florida, your kids will be able to meet & greet all sorts of new Wii-friends.  We just want to make sure that you talk with your family about the safety of such a world-wide connection.  We promise to do our part in helping the world wide gaming experience stay safe as long as you promise to help share the knowledge of proper/safe web conduct with your kids.  The Wii wants to make the best gaming experience for everyone– including youth.  If we work together, we can do that!”

Perhaps that’s asking too much of a foreign company who just wants to make money.  Anyone have better suggestions on how console companies might safeguard their consumers– or prepare them for a full, stress-free experience?

Or am I asking for too much?

All I know is– the kids on Halo scare the living crap out of me.  The amount of information shared, and the behavior exhibited is atrocious at best some times.  And — forgive me if you disagree — but I don’t think a kid dropping the f-bomb (or anyone for that matter) is something to write off as a “kid being a kid”.  I just don’t.  Which brings me back to scowling at Youtube’s existence for encouraging a kid like THIS to publicly embarrass himself (though he doesn’t seem to think so)– where are his parents?!

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  1. February 28, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Ditto the Halo comment, and add the ‘what were they thinking’ post re: the church types who are using it as a ‘draw’ to demo good vs. evil or recruit or whatevah, as we talked about when this NYT article ran. (or at least I think it was you?) http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/07/us/07halo.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin

    Re: Wii/worldwide:

    I’d like to see incorporation of media literacy into the game prior to ramp up; i.e. ‘making it to the next level’ as that’s how we run things here at Shaping Youth, whether it’s internet, cellphones (often one and the same) or social networking use. In other words, just like marketers ‘integrate ads’ into games, why can’t we ’embed media literacy learning/safety cues into the game format and still have it be fun?

    Kids AND adults would have to pass through the info barrier to ENSURE they know it’s a ‘GLOBAL Wii wand’ which can no doubt be innocuous fun if handled correctly. Why not integrate the ‘you’re playing live’ knowledge into the demo/trailer/game right up front before it even unlocks the game?

    Every time there’s a new player added or new entry onto the system, the hoops to jump through would change to preclude ‘cheating the system’…

    Wouldn’t be hard, given the sophistication of gaming developers, right? Just a thought, after all, privacy, protection and safety are powerful ‘levels’ to achieve, and we ALL need them to be digitally savvy.

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