Yes, you are reading the title right. Nintendo has confirmed that while in online races on Mario Kart Wii, you will be unable to talk to your friends and opponents via text or voice. This will surely come as a blow to Nintendo fans, who wanted to play with their friends online in what the Xbox 360 does automatically and PS3 doing now. Many have criticized Nintendo for their lack of online options to socialize among friends while online, and this surely isn’t going to help that image.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, as Nintendo Europe did have this to say: "You can create rooms for friends to join and even text chat while you’re waiting for other racers." You may be thinking “Well that’s not that bad,” but like with everything, there is a catch. According to a rep for Nintendo America, gamers will only be able to select from a pre-determined number of phrases. This is going to make it even harder to have a proper conversation with your friends.
Ok, we now know this information, but let’s flip the coin and ask “Do we need voice chat in racing?” Let’s look at such games as PGR 4 and Forza 2. In both games, you are able to speak in the lobby and chat while racing though; however, if you’re taking the game seriously, I suppose you might not want to lose concentration and start talking to people while you’re trying to race. Then you could get the odd online idiots that want to spoil it for everybody and use crude, racist words against people that spoil your online experience. With this being Mario Kart Wii, we can presume that there be young kids playing and for them to be hearing this language at their age would be wrong. You can say Nintendo is putting parents concerns at ease with this move. Unlike the Xbox 360 and PS3 at the moment, the Wii is generally aimed at younger people so online safety is a bigger issue.