Wii Speak was largely designed for one game, and wasn't particularly effective on a large scale, which is probably why Nintendo is now tightening the peripheral's noose. Gee, we've never seen anything like that from Nintendo before.
Wii Speak was to be Nintendo's version of the standard online chat headsets widely used on the PS3 and Xbox 360. Nintendo argued that online play should be an entire living room experience, so Wii Speak was designed to sit on top of the TV and capture sound from the entire room. It came bundled with Animal Crossing: City Folk.
Of course, it quickly became obvious that such a set-up was only conducive to, well, Animal Crossing: City Folk. Pretty much no other games got extra value from it. Nintendo even began encouraging developers of more typical online games to use a third-party headset instead of Wii Speak.
Now, the company will reportedly widely scale back on shipments of the device, making it available to "limited retail locations" only, and will add new stock "if consumer demand increases" but not under any other circumstance. So it's not totally dead yet, but if we were to attach a Wii Vitality Sensor to it, we probably wouldn't get much of a pulse. Oh wait...
Nov 2, 2010