By Patrick Avenell

MELBOURNE: Nintendo have today begun broadcasting on their own television channel. Available free through a compatible internet connection and the Nintendo Wii console, the Nintendo Channel offers a range of added features to both the Wii and DS game consoles.

The advantages to the end user include access to videos showing advertisements, documentaries, trailers and clips from gameplay. Furthermore, the Nintendo Channel will provide information about the full range of Nintendo games, enabling players to find out more detailed and up-to-date information than that which is included in the sleeve. The third major feature of the service to the customer is the ability to download game demos from the site to the DS console in order to trial before you buy.

Asked whether this DS Demo feature will be expanded to include Wii games, Nintendo public relations coordinator Helen Murphy said, “There are no current plans, but anything is possible.”

The Nintendo Channel is intended to compliment already existing services such as WiiWare and the Virtual Console. The Virtual Console, according to Murphy, has been very successful, with the more sentimental Wii user being able to download for a fee classic Nintendo games, including the Mario Bros and Zelda series. WiiWare, which is a more recent addition, enables users to download and play minimalist Wii games that are new and less well-known.

Reciprocity, however, will be expected from the user, with Nintendo asking users to complete surveys and rate games, in addition to providing some general personal information, in order to create a database of users and their gaming preferences. This information can then be used for both direct and indirect marketing, in addition to improving future gameplay to suit consumer preferences.

This has benefits to both Nintendo and the player, as consumer feedback will influence the direction Nintendo takes with certain games. By responding positively to a WiiWare game, for example, Murphy says that more money will be invested in it and it can expanded to become a full title.

When asked to explain the major reasoning behind launching this service, Murphy said, “This is not a moneymaking venture, this is an information tool.”