No Fees for Online Wii Gameplay

In an interview with nationally-distributed newspaper USA Today, Nintendo’s new COO Reginal Fils-Aime revealed that Nintendo does not plan to charge for online game play from the company’s forthcoming Wii gaming console, or the the console’s Wii Connect24 Internet-based service.

The approach will be a marked contrast to Microsoft’s up-and-runnng Xbox Live service, which charges for selected downloads and aspects of some online play. Fils-Aime says Nintendo sees “online gaming as essentially an enhanced way to enjoy the gaming experience and drive more sales of hardware and software.” Nintendo plans to offer online-capable games, and consumers will not have to pay a fee to enjoy online features: they’ll work “right out of the box.”

The Nintendo Wii console will offer 802.11b/g Wi-Fi capability, enabling the console to seamlessly connect to the Internet via a user’s in-home wireless network, as well as Nintendo DS handheld gaming units. If Wi-Fi isn’t available, the Wii cam be put online with a USB 2.0 LAN adapter.