Nintendo offers me a free game, and I complain about it

March 25, 2010

I received an interesting e-mail from Nintendo this week. In this email, which I’ve inserted below, Nintendo asks me if I have used my Wii to access the Wii Shop Channel and offers me a free game to download from the Virtual Console. What a silly question, Nintendo! Of course, I have been to the Wii Shop Channel.

For an explanation of what the Virtual Console is, see my previous blog posting.

The fact that Nintendo needs to implement an e-mail promotion like this indicates two things. First, it demonstrates that blogs like the Wii Blog For You are necessary. If four and a half years after its release, Nintendo still needs to promote basic online features, consumers clearly are not aware the Wii is capable of doing more than just playing disc-based games. Does Apple need to send out e-mails to people that purchased the iPhone to let them know that it does more than make telephone calls? No.

Second, the email I received demonstrates Nintendo needs to make some changes in how they use social media and how they promote the Wii’s lesser known features. Therefore, this week’s blog will recommend three things Nintendo can do that will more effectively make consumers aware of what their Wii can do.

1. Provide more support for the online community

Nintendo has a rabid, loyal fan base, but they rarely embrace these people in any meaningful way. To receive the above email from Nintendo, I had to take the time to sign up to be on their mailing list. So, that e-mail campaign, more or less, does little more than preach to the choir. The Wii Blog For You is just one of hundreds of blogs about the Wii and videogames. These bloggers are clearly more than willing to spread the word about the Wii. To reach more casual Wii fans who may not be as knowledgeable, Nintendo needs to embrace this online community by integrating it with their own website and using it as a promotional tool.

2. Update the Wii interface to encourage more online interaction

When you turn on the Nintendo Wii, it is a fairly tame experience. For comparison, when you turn on the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360, you can quickly see which of your friends are online and what they are playing. These other consoles are also much more flashy in how they promote their online content. The Wii interface, on the other hand, is bland, and there is no way to easily connect with other Wii players. As the screen shot below shows, the Wii dashboard is rather sterile.

Both the PlayStation and the Xbox have had the social elements of their online interfaces improved through free firmware system updates. It is time for Nintendo to follow suit and make similar changes.

3. Take better advantage of social networking

The PlayStation 3 has interconnectivity with facebook while the Xbox 360 interconnects with both Twitter and facebook. As of yet, the Wii has no such feature. Nintendo could very easily pique consumers’ curiosity about the Wii’s online features by integrating social networking into their marketing strategy. For example, when a person connects their XBox account with their facebook account, that person’s facebook status updates then include activities a person does while playing their Xbox, such as playing a specific game. Every time an XBox user does this, it is free advertising that reaches all the people that read that person’s status update. If Nintendo were to do something similar, it would literally make hundreds of thousands of more people aware of the Wii’s online features.

This week’s blog isn’t meant to sound whiny or overly negative toward Nintendo or the Wii. However, there are clearly things that Nintendo could do better to promote the lesser known features of the Wii.

Until that happens, there is a Wii Blog For You!*

*Sorry, I know that was lame, but I could not resist!


Making Sure Your Wii is Up To Date

February 12, 2010

Welcome back to another edition of Wii Blog For You. In previous entries, this blog showed you how to get your Wii up and running online with either a wired or wireless connection. Now it’s time to take advantage of the online functionality by making sure your Wii has all of the most recent features. We will do this through what is called a “Wii System Update.” Without getting too technical, what this will do is download some data directly from Nintendo, which will improve the Wii’s functionality and add whatever new features may be available. For example, depending on when you purchased your Wii, if you have never performed a system update, you are missing out on the ability to purchase and download WiiWare games. These are inexpensive games, which are not available in stores and can only be downloaded from the Wii Shop Channel.

Luckily, performing a Wii System Update is a relatively straightforward procedure. Here is what you need to do:

1. Once you have turned your Wii on, click on the Wii Options button in the bottom left corner of the screen.

2. You will then be presented with a Data Management Button and a Wii Settings Button. Click the Wii Settings Button, which looks like this:

3. The next screen you will see will look like this:

In the upper right corner of the screen, you will see which version of the System Update your Wii currently has. For example, in the screen shot above, the Wii has Version 2.0U. As of February 12, 2010, the most recent version is 4.2U. So, if your Wii is showing 4.2U, you do not need to perform a system update at this time! If your Wii is showing anything less than that, however, proceed on to the steps below.

The screen we are currently looking at is the first “page” of Wii System Settings. There are three pages of system settings, and the button we need to perform the Wii System Update is on the third page. Therefore, to get to the third page, click the arrow that is on the right side of the screen two times. The arrow you need to click is circled in red in the screenshot above.

4. Your screen should now look like this:

Click the button that says Wii System Update.

5. The Wii will then ask you, “Connect to the Internet and perform a Wii system update?” Click the “Yes” button.

6. The Wii will then notify you that if your Wii has any unauthorized modifications, the system update will remove them and potentially render your console inoperable. The reason for this is that there is a small community of tech-savvy Wii users who “hack” into their system for various reasons, which are often illegal. Unless you are part of that community, you have nothing worry about! Therefore, click “I Accept” to begin the Wii System Update.

From there, the Wii takes care of itself. Depending on the size of the update available, it may take several minutes to complete.

And that’s all there is to it. You can now be assured your Wii is on the cutting edge of what it has to offer!