In Japan, Nintendo has been experimenting with offering content other than just games for quite a while now. Japanese DS owners have been able to download anime movies and digital manga for over a year. And in May this year, Nintendo teamed up with the world’s biggest ad agency, Tokyo-based Dentsu, to introduce a video distribution service for the Wii. Needless to say, this service is Japan-only, too. But that will change soon.
According to a report in the Nikkei (basically Japan’s answer to the Wall Street Journal) today, Nintendo plans to launch the Wii video-on-demand service in markets outside Japan (North America and South Korea, for example) as early as next fiscal year. The company itself hasn’t confirmed the news yet, but the Nikkei is usually a highly reliable source.
Content-wise, Nintendo won’t change much, meaning Wii owners in those regions will get to see “kid-friendly” entertainment shows, cartoons, educational programs, infomercials and ads. Viewers can choose the programs from within a virtual living room (see the screenshot from the Japanese version above) and will also be able to rate the content.
Nintendo says so far a total of 800,000 households all over Japan use Wii No Ma (as the channel is called over here). It’s free, but Nintendo plans to offer paid content beginning this November.
Via Nikkei [registration required, paid subscription]