I’ve been creating a few demos of Flash games designed for the Nintendo Wii Opera browser, and writing a few blog entries about the process for the past few months. I even convinced the people at my Day Job to create a section highlighting all the games we currently offer that can be played reasonably well with a Wii-mote. I jumped on the Wii Opera Browser very early. The day it was released to beta on Dec. 24th I pushed this demo live for my first test with my Wii. Most of developer friends, the ones lucky enough to own a Wii, have all connected to the internet through WiiConnect24, shared Miis, used Opera, etc.
However, a thought struck me today that I cannot shake. It was spawned over the weekend when I talked to my brother-in-law, another happy Wii owner. My brother-in-law is a construction contractor. He spends his days building actual houses for people, and is as far from spending his days with his ass planted in chair looking at computer screen as I am close to it. He bought the Wii to play Wii Sports with his wife and kids. That’s it. They have not bought any more Wii games (I have eight), nor Virtual Console games (I have five), they have not bought any GameCube games (I have six), they have not connected to WiiConnect24 (I have Wireless G with WPA encryption enabled), and they have certainly not downloaded Opera, or used the Wii Browser (my favorites list scrolls through 2 pages). It suddenly occurred to me today that, while I am plugged into every nuance of Wii news and Wii releases, my brother-in-law and his family could not care less. They are not connected to the internet through their Wii, they don’t know they can connect, and will probably never try to connect to the internet. If they typify the casual, game players that are flocking to the Wii, then is it really a waste of time (at this instant) to try to create Flash-based games that appeal to Wii users and utilize the Wii-mote? Is it worth spending the time to dumbed-down Flash 7 games when hardly anyone will ever see them? I simply don’t know the answer.
However, maybe you can help. If you own a Wii, or know anyone who does own one, have you/they connected it to the internet? Have they downloaded the browser? Have they played any games on the internet through the Wii Opera Browser with a Wii-mote?
Email any information you have us. We’ll compile it and reveal the results next week.
We here at 8bitrocket.com love the Wii. We think the the Wii Browser with a Wii-mote is the best internet experience that any game console has been able to create to date. However, what we don’t know is if the Wii Opera Browser is just a “storm in a tea cup” that few people will ever experience, or if it will really amount to something worth talking about.