They spoke about the wii channels and they had some interesting facts. They have downloaded all VC games and they said they ran out of room and the system runs much slower. They also mentionted other interesting and good ideas. Like use the calender on the wii that has dates, like they said it can say for ( random date) March 6th- View new SSBB trailer. etc.. http://wii.ign.com/articles/770/770884p1.html , 2007 - Welcome to IGN Wii's Tuesday Topic. Each week Wii editor-in-chief Matt Casamassina and associate editor Mark Bozon will go head-to-head on a specific Wii topic of their - or your - choice in an attempt to hash out the intricacies of Nintendo's new system, make the Big N's fanbase heard on a specific topic, or just shoot the breeze on all things Wii. Each Tuesday Topic will be featured in the classic IGN roundtable format with no pre-determined sides taken. Should they agree on a topic, so be it. If they don't, you'll have a front-row ticket to the action. Each week a new topic will be introduced, as well as the top reader response to the previous week's topic, so be sure to read up, take notes, and let your voice be heard. This week's topic: The state of the Wii interface. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Matt: Nintendo's Wii Channel interface has served as the backbone for the new console. It's the first thing you see when you boot up and it's also the gateway to games, to the Internet, to online shopping, and to daily-updated weather and news services, to name a few. But is the interface as good as it could be? I personally don't think so. With more than three months with Wii, it's much easier to spot the shortcomings of the interface -- at least, as I see them. Bozon might feel differently, but here are a few of my gripes as I kick-start this week's Tuesday Topic, which is centered directly on any and all issues we have with Nintendo's still-innovative Wii Channels. This first gripe is a particularly big one for me, but I'll be willing to bet that some, if not most gamers out there haven't encountered the issue yet. The thing is, sooner or later everybody will have to deal with it -- that is, unless Nintendo fundamentally alters the functionality of the Channels interface. I'm referring to running out of room. Yes, I'm in a unique position because I run IGN's Wii site and am therefore required to download all of the Virtual Console games that become available every week. That said, more than 1.5 million people had purchased a VC game through January so clearly I'm not the only one gobbling these classics up. I can tell you, I'm all out of space. Every slot on every page of my Wii Channels interface is filled. And so I'm really left with only two options: start copying Channels to an SD Card or delete them altogether. Neither is ideal. The copy process takes longer than it should and, since you can't run games from an SD Card, you'll have to move them back to Wii's internal 512MBs of memory in order to activate them again. Tedious is the word that comes to mind. Bozie, I think you're just about out of room, too. So let me ask you this. Why hasn't Nintendo released a firmware update that enables Channel customization? Why can't we sort these things and, better yet, create sub-Channels? I wouldn't be out of room if I could put all of my Mario games into a Mario Channel. Or, if that's too specific, I'd be happy to settle for a NES Channel. Simply click on these icons and they open up a sub-Channel that displays all of your related games. I don't understand why this hasn't happened already. I also don't understand why the Forecast Channel doesn't display the local weather in its icon window. Why do I have to click on the Channel and boot it up in order to retrieve that information? Is WiiConnect24 taking a little nap? What happened to the always-on-and-never-sleeps design of the network that Nintendo has boasted about? I mean, Nintendo has already proven that it's possible. The Vote Channel pulls data and displays it in its icon window. However, I care much less about live, streaming voting questions and much more about live, streaming weather. And news headlines. And Wii Shopping Channel updates, for that matter. There's just too much loading all around and while it's not a deal-breaker by any means, it does interrupt the flow of navigating the Channels. You shouldn't have to wait six seconds for the main interface to reload after you've logged off the Wii Shopping Channel. You shouldn't have to connect to the Forecast, News or Shopping Channels at all, in fact. All of this data should be streamed via WiiConnect24 and cached on an hourly (or, at the very least, daily) basis to Wii's internal memory. Accessing the Forecast Channel should be seamless to the end user. Is that really too much to ask? I don't think so. Maybe some Wii developers can chime in on this one with a clarification, but it seems to me that because nothing is ever cached, the main interface effectively reboots every time you exit a Channel. It's for exactly this reason that when you logoff the Shopping Channel, for example, it takes forever and you can actually hear Wii re-reading the disc in its drive. Were this information cached and set only to read discs and reacquire Channel information after the initial boot-up sequence, I'd be willing to bet the interface would be much speedier. Think about it. Every time you exit a Channel, your system is basically rebooting. It's reacquiring all of that info again. And by the way, the more Channels you've got, the longer it takes - I've noticed the load times have increased as my interface has filled up. Bozie, I'm sure you've got some thoughts of your own so I'll save some more of my gripes for my next reply, but I did want to close by saying that the Weather News service, which powers the Forecast Channel, pretty much sucks. Its "current weather" updates are usually five or more hours old. How is it that I can hit F10 on my PowerBook and it loads a widget with up-to-the-minute weather info, but the same data cannot be retrieved over Wii's network? I think it's time for Nintendo to align itself with a new provider. Bozon: I think Peer is right dude. You hired your clone. I agree with every gripe you bring up, actually, although I do want to affirm a few things so that readers out there get what's happening. Since we download every game that comes down the pipe, our system is filling up quicker than the average user. Still, I can honestly say that aside from maybe two or three games on my system the VC titles I currently have are all games I'd consider buying if I didn't work with IGN. I'm a retro nut, and I've said time and time again that Wii is already worth the cash simply as a retro system, let alone adding games like SSX Blur which rock total socks. As you fill up your console, the thing slows way, way down, and that's something that we may be ahead of the curve on for VC purchases. Still… if Wii keeps bringing out content like Castlevania IV, Contra III, Gunstar, and Ocarina of Time most gamers will be experiencing this issue pretty soon anyways. I think that may have been something Nintendo wasn't expecting either. VC sales have done amazingly well, so when Iwata and Miyamoto had their Sunday brunch together with a little notepad titled "Wii Interface" I'm sure they thought they were doing gamers a favor with just under 50 or so channel slots. Wii has taken off though, and it's time for a file system. I personally can't stand the way games fade from title to system on the channel icon (I'd rather just see the game… I know what system it's on), and I'm definitely ready for a "Virtual Console" channel that has sub-folders of my currently-downloaded games. We could talk all day on this one though, which is what it looks like we'll be doing. Along the same lines as our online discussion a few Tuesdays ago, why don't I really feel connected through the interface? If my friends are online, I should be able to see them. If Wii is truly connected to the net in an amazing way like Nintendo boasts, why can't I get a streaming news/forecast bar like a tiny version of the ESPN ticker when I'm on the Wii interface or playing Twilight Princess. Sure these are pipe dreams - and they aren't really necessary - but if Wii is supposed to feel truly connected, why not put that power into the hands of users. I guess when it all comes down to it that's my biggest gripe with the Wii interface. I just don't feel connected. When I go on Xbox Live, I feel like I'm stepping into a gamers' world. When I turn on Wii, it feels like booting up a DS or GameCube. I might as well just have an AOL IM login that I use when playing Wii/DS, since Wii's interface doesn't really leave me with a truly connected feel. Wii has one of the coolest interface designs out there, as it's so simple and easy to use. Still, things like VC folders, more gaming-intensive channels, true user connectivity, and more overall customization (why can't I add my own background wallpaper or even pick a colored theme for Wii?) is something that I could definitely go for, and will hopefully be part of a future firmware update. Speaking of which, do you think we'll see any of those from Nintendo, or is it a "what you see is what you get" situation this generation? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Matt :Nah. I'm pretty confident that Nintendo has only just begun. We've received a handful of new Channels since the system launched and Nintendo hasn't even really kicked off an avenue for original Wii downloads. The Wii Ware sub-category could be the place, but it's only got two downloadables, one of which, the Opera browser, isn't even finalized. There's definitely more to come -- both more Channels and more improvements. WiiConnect24 and the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection afford the Big N the ability to go beyond mere Channel updates -- it can add entirely new features and options, if it so desires, which rocks. I hope, by the way, that it puts a little more effort into the Wii Shopping Channel, too. I love the fact that there are already so many great classics available. However, if you're a newcomer to these games, the brief descriptions and tiny screenshots offered as previews hardly do the titles justice. It seems to me that the Wii Shopping Channel functions within a trimmed down version of the Opera browser, which has the ability to play Flash movies, as its compatibility with YouTube proves. Why then are there no video previews of games? When you click on Super Ghouls 'N Ghosts, a Flash-based movie should play, offering a real glimpse of what you're downloading. Considering that I can put together these movies on my laptop in a matter of minutes, I think Nintendo can handle it, too. Also, I think most would agree that Wii's address book (which is more or less hidden within the interface) and calendar system are grossly underused. I've harped on this issue many times in the past, but it shouldn't take hours for your newly added friends to become active on your console. And why aren't Nintendo and third parties using the calendar system to display relevant Wii game events and information? I don't know about you, but if the calendar accurately showed game release dates, I would check it out at least once a week. Ubisoft could add a calendar entry that read: "March 23: See the first gameplay footage of Blazing Angels Wii on www.ubisoft.com. Watch it on your Wii Opera browser!" Nintendo could use the calendar as a coming soon for Virtual Console releases and game downloads. Imagine, "November 20: Purchase Viewtiful Joe for Super Smash Bros. Brawl -- $1.99." I don't realistically see that last example happening because the Big N seems to value the element of surprise (plus, it might be more sound from a business perspective to keep users in the dark so that they don't just wait out the bigger downloads and skip the smaller ones.) But, you know, there's definitely a lot more that could be done there. Bozon: I totally agree. The Wii channel system could end up being Nintendo's greatest asset, as long as it doesn't turn into the next E-reader, GBA link cable, or N64 expansion pack and disappear after a few short stints. Wii channels should be used both inside and out of general gaming, and while we're starting to see this happen, it isn't as in depth as it could be. Where's the option to check out the Wii THQ Channel for streaming news from THQ? Where's the ability to go onto specific game channels so I can see the top user-created levels for Elebits on the actual Elebits Channel? If Wii is all about "you and me" like Nintendo said, we need to see a progression of total connectivity. Connect to your console in a new way, connect to your friends in a new way, connect to the community in a new way, and connect with the industry in a new way. The calendar idea is great, as I'd love to actually feel like the Wii industry is living on my console itself. I just hope we see it taken one step further. Nintendo had a great system setup on its Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection site during the launch of the DS online, as players could check out an individual mini-site dedicated to each game they own, complete with stat tracking, leaderboards, and a ton of user-created content. If the Wii channels want to truly become a revolutionary interface, Nintendo will find a way to bring that feeling to the actual system itself. Sure you can check all these sites on the Opera browser, but if I had the chance to check out online stats for SSX Blur, and watch people's saved videos (like Tony Hawk on DS), I'd feel far more involved with the Wii community. Nintendo has an amazing idea with the Wii channels, and I'm really hoping the company makes the most of it. We can go on and on about cool ideas we'd like to see on Wii, but the channels system is something Nintendo seems to embrace, so if we see any true changes to the interface or actual user interaction, it's going to come from that system. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Matt: Yeah, for sure. On the same note, it'd be nice to offer an IGN.com Channel -- an RSS-style news feed, at the very least, but somehow I doubt Nintendo would ever enable such an option. I think instead it will try to protect potential users from any outside sources save for AP -- and honestly, I was surprised that deal ever closed. I mean, all this friends codes business is designed to keep the online experience safe, and yet at the same time Wii is equipped with a News Channel that fills users in on some truly disturbing stories and an Internet browser that is a gateway to porn, if you so desire. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but there you have it. At any rate, I think we've touched upon quite a few areas that could still use some improvement and I'm not suggesting that the overall experience is poor -- it's not. Occasionally, I'm frustrated with the load times and annoyed that I'm out of room, but the browsing experience is still second to none and all of the extra Channels really help distinguish Wii from any competitor. It's going to be interesting to see what happens at GDC in the next couple days. I'm pulling for original Wii downloadables. And with that, I'm bringing this week's topic to a close. That's all for this week's Tuesday Topic. Be sure to catch us again next week, as we'll be hitting on another aspect of Nintendo's new-generation console. Got a beef with what we said? Have another topic you'd like us to hit on? Make yourself heard by sending an email directly by clicking right here. And don't forget: The best Tuesday Topic response will be posted at the tail end of next week's edition.