Nintendo is to add a social chat function to its Wii games console that enables whole rooms of people to chat to other Nintendo Wii-owning friends. Nintendo Wii Speak launches in Europe on 5 December.
Nintendo says Wii Speak add-on will be available either as a standalone accessory for the Wii or as part of a bundle with the game Animal Crossing: Let's Go To The City. The Wii Speak Channel will launch on the same day.
Nintendo Wii Speak will make use of the free connectivity included on the Wii games console, connecting up to four Wii players' consoles at once. However, the Nintendo Wii has always been marketed as an inclusive, family oriented console and, as such, its Speak component will enable several people to take part in the conversation at once - they simply need to be in earshot and in range of Nintendo Wii Speak.
The Wii Speak allows this group of users - or an individual - to connect to and chat with up to four Wii consoles at once. As well as chatting, users will be able to share photos and exchange text messages.
Nor will Speak be restricted to chat. It will also become part of the gaming experience. For example, in Animal Crossing: Let's Go To The City, players will be able to share "personalised words".
Nintendo already encourages Wii users to create their own Mii avatar and this cartoon version of the user will now be given the power of apparent speech. When the Wii Speak modle is being used, users' Mii avatars will appear to speak the words the player does.