How Wii can be "hardcore"

Tuesday 3 April 2007
Wii has clearly been a massive success, especially with non-gamers, and the launch last Christmas was peppered with stories of whole families enjoying sessions of Wii Sports. Yet, aside from Zelda, it does seem to lack the 'hardcore' appeal that consoles have traditionally thrived on.

Fortunately, Shigeru Miyamoto, director of Nintendo, has promised that "enhancements" are on the way for the Wii's interface that will make "games for hardcore players more fun and interesting", during a recent interview with US site GamePro.

Miyamoto also hints that Wii's online gaming - a clear pull for gamers - won't work "in a way that we have seen online up until now".

So what is Nintendo planning? We can't know for sure, but below we've pulled togethera few ideas for enhancements that could give more 'real', dedicated gamers something to shout about.

Above: Virtual Console has arguably been the biggest pull for hardcore gamers

Online gaming
Obvious, but important. Although Miyamoto says Nintendo is more interested in the idea of gamers being constantly connected, and in the possibilities for new types of entertainment, than your average online approach.

So what about a Wii equivalent to DS game-sharing, letting you play online with friends who don't own the full game? Whatever Ninty's ideas are for innovation, though, a good old dose of regular versus or co-op online play is fairly essential for Wii's gamer-appeal.

Mii chatrooms
PS3 has Home, so why can't Wii's Miis have somewhere to hang out? The interest shown in Sony's new virtual space proves that gamers are interested in meeting up online, and being able to form communities and groups is important too.

A Habbo Hotel -esque location, where you can wander around as your Mii and interact with others, would bring a deeper level of gamer interaction to the pretty shallow set-up Wii has at the moment. Merely letting us vote on each other's avatars isn't going to cut it, Nintendo.

Gamer-focused Wii channels
Miyamoto reckons Wii's online plans will see more social-based stuff on the console, so what about a YouTube-style upload channel for user created in-game movies? Or a Spectator channel, which would cover official or sponsor-created tournaments and provide virtual coverage on them?

By appealing to every gamer's lust for bragging rights, Nintendo would help form a community based on the sort of one-upmanship caused by Xbox 360's Achievements system, only more visual and immediate.

Hardcore-friendly motion controls
Rather wave your arms around constantly during every battle in Wii's Zelda, or grab a copy on 'Cube and play with a more traditional style? We know which we prefer. We love Wii's controls, but it's all about the way they are used and presented. Fishing in Zelda on Wii, for instance, is brilliant.

If there were more games that used motion control beneath the surface - for lesser-used abilities or mini-games say - or in a more acceptable, convincing manner, we're sure the more serious gamer would find Wii a more comfortable home over long play sessions.