Nintendo Co said Thursday it will start offering videos through its blockbuster Wii game console, the latest new feature for the Japanese entertainment giant.
Nintendo said it would develop original programming which Wii users could access via the Internet and watch on their television. It is considering videos for both free and fees.
The game giant teamed up with Japan’s leading advertising firm Dentsu Inc to develop the service, which will begin in Japan next year, with an eye on future expansion into foreign markets.
Nintendo rival Sony Corp has already started using its popular PlayStation series for online movie sales and advertising by placing corporate messages inside games, which often have highly niche audiences.
One prominent advertiser was U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, who placed campaign commercials inside a video game produced by Electronic Arts for Microsoft’s XBox 360 console.
Nintendo and Dentsu said they were soliciting businesses to take part in the project to develop original Wii videos.
“Nintendo and Dentsu shall use the environment surrounding the Wii so that living rooms with Wii-ready TVs would become more of a fun area for communication among families and friends,” the firms said in a joint statement.
Nintendo has shipped 34.55 million Wii consoles around the world, 80% of which are sitting near televisions in living rooms, the company said, adding that 40% of Wii consoles are linked to the Internet.
The Wii, launched ahead of the holiday season in 2006, is known for its innovative motion-sensitive controller which has appealed to people buying a video-game machine for the first time.
Nintendo already enables Wii players to use the game consoles to surf the Internet, shop online, organize digital photos and to communicate with Wii-using friends.
Nintendo in November launched in Japan the DSi, which comes with a built-in camera that lets allows the user to alter people’s facial expressions.