Gigaom.com: Last month I had the chance to chat with a top U.S. Nintendo exec and suggest how, with a few savvy improvements to the Wii system, the company could turn it into the living room Net appliance of choice. But despite the opportunity Nintendo has with the Wii, the company seems determined to let it remain a mere video game console.
Big-screen HDTVs have reached a price point of several hundred dollars. That means consumers are now bringing home television displays both large and crisp enough for browsing the Net from their couches. And all the latest video game consoles come with Net access. Yet the Xbox 360 and Sony PS3, despite attempts to broaden their user base and include new mainstream-friendly features, seem unable to expand beyond their niche audience of hardcore gamers. Meanwhile, the Wii's global install base is already double that of its competitors combined - and its growth shows no sign of slowing down. Indeed, Merrill Lynch expects the console, which has attracted buyers from both genders and across the demographic spectrum, to reside in one of three households by 2011.
Add to this the Wii's innovative Wiimote, which is essentially a 3D mouse, and thus ideally suited for the speedy, point/click/drag navigation that a true big-screen Internet experience requires.
With that in mind, I think Nintendo would only need to add three features in order to win it the world - or at least, the world's living rooms.