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Nintendo WiiU to get App Store (Reading App?)

There’s a couple interesting stories going around today about Nintendo’s next game console. According to The Daily, Nintendo is planning to launch a full bore app store for the WiiU.

Their sources are reporting that Nintendo plans to sell apps for both the entire gaming platform as well as apps that can be played on the controller itself. There aren’t any specifics yet on what apps will be available, but the controller has a 6″ touchscreen as well as a bunch of buttons.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it got a web browser, email app, and other basic tablet features.

Of course, that’s not the really interesting rumor. Forget The Box is reporting that Nintendo is also planning to launch an ebook service for the WiiU. According to their unnamed sources, you’re going to be able to download ebooks, magazines, newspapers, and digital comics and read them on the WiiU controller. The new service would also be available on the Nintendo 3DS, and you’ll be able to share an account across both devices.

There’s also talk that Nintendo’s back list of player’s guides might be published digitally. Most of the guides are out of print (and a lot of the games are from deceased consoles), so there’s a chance that they’d be available for free. But the same can’t be said for the new release Prima guides, which are also rumored to be coming to the WiiU. And Nintendo is also said to be in discussions with magazine publishers to bring a wide variety of titles to the WiiU (sports, politics, technology, entertainment, celebrities, music, cooking, and fashion).

While I could easily see the player’s guides in digital form, I’m not so sure that Nintendo will launch their own reading service.  It feels much more likely that Nintendo will court B&N, Amazon, and Kobo. If one of those apps were released for the WiiU, it would fill all of Nintendo’s needs and cost the gaming company very little. It would also generate almost no income for Nintendo, but then again the reading service wouldn’t necessarily earn much anyway.

In any case, the WiiIU won’t come out for at least another 6 months, so who knows what will happen in that time.

On a related note, the WiiU is supposed to be demoed at CES 2012. But I don’t see Nintendo listed as an exhibitor, so I’m not sure that they’ll actually be there. I suspect that they might be at one of the outside events. I’ll keep an eye out for them.

via Forget The Box

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fjtorres January 3, 2012 um 7:18 am

Don’t underestimate Nintendo’s need to maximize their take from their devices. They’re already selling the 3DS at a much lower price than they intended because of smartphone competition so it is only natural they seek to move into non-gaming content to prop up their value proposition.
Now, for music and video, partnering is likely the only way *they* can offer content; they don’t have the connections quickly to secure all the individual deals needed to build up a competitive catalog.
eBooks are different; with ebooks they can simply sign a deal with the likes of Bluefire or Google and get a generic Nintendo ebookstore up and running in a few months. And given the limited usability and high cost of their touchscreen controller, putting a browser and an ebook reader on the controller makes some sense.
As for allowing established ebookstores onto their hardware I doubt it. Their need is to maximize content revenue per device, not maximize hardware units sales per-se. Especially the 3DS. So allowing apps that divert customer revenue to non-Nintendo sources runs counter to their needs. More than Apple, they need a high vigorish on any non-Nintendo sales on their devices so I doubt they can come to terms with anybody other than Google.
Also, from their point of view, Amazon, Kobo, and Nook are already competitors. Nintendo has never been good at coop-petition. (Witness the GoldenEye mess with Rare.)

john January 4, 2012 um 3:01 am

and so what gaming systems are holed up in the Hoffelder residence, given the recent addition of the Palm Foleo? do tell!

Nate Hoffelder January 4, 2012 um 7:26 am

Other than the various tablets and the laptop, none.

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