Wii Channels and niches

Everyone talks about the potential of Wii Channels — what could come to be, what’s already here; how wild ideas will probably never see the light of day but sound really, really cool (Wii Cricket Channel, anyone?).

The reason I ramble today is that IGN Wii has some slick mock-ups on their site today of pipe dream future Wii channels. Examples include the Wii Stock Channel, Sports Channel and a Movie Times Channel, to name a few.

To some, these may sound like great ideas. To others, they may sound useless. But for you peeps dismissing the niche channels, hold the phone and [generic gaming-related cliche here]. As it will be the case with independent developer games on the inevitable Wii Games Channel, it will cost next to nothing for Nintendo to push niche Channels to users’ consoles. Today, you’re seeing the “hits” — those channels that a majority of people will love. Tomorrow, you will start to see the channels that theoretically only a handful of people will actually download. Because it’s all digital, there’s no harm, no foul in that at all. A channel that gets only a few downloads is no longer a “failure” as we understand that word today.

At present, everyone has access to the same Channels. It’s all very fun at first, but really it’s all very vanilla as well. News, weather, Internet. That’s so 1990’s, right? In the future, I can imagine one Wii owner having a Wii TV (going with the channel theme here…) full of Anime graphic novel channels and stock quotes, while another has chosen to stick with news and real time stock prices. The granular set up of the Wii Channel interface begs for customization — it’s just going to take some time for Nintendo and third parties to fill it up. The pics over a IGN Wii today are only a small taste of what’s to come.