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Nintendo preps Wii for online shopping in Japan

01 November 2010 - 19:02 by Paul Tissington

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The wildly popular Nintendo Wii home console is set to become a portal for safe shopping online, although for the time being, it looks like this service will be limited to Japanese consumers.

The Wii is considered to be one of the biggest mainstream breakthroughs in the console market thanks to its motion controls and its family-friendly image which has been perpetuated with widespread celebrity endorsement in the UK and around the world.

At the moment it is possible to buy and download games from the Wii Shop channel, but in Japan a special channel which currently provides videos to users will be updated, to become a fully-fledged platform for e-commerce.

The overhaul is occurring from the beginning of this month and Nintendo is set to sell a wide variety of goods from well known high street retailers, eventually allowing the channel to act like a virtual department store.

Nintendo's Satoru Iwata announced this further augmentation of the Wii's functionality to shareholders last week, saying at a meeting that the service will launch with over 10,000 products on offer, among which groceries, clothes and even pieces of furniture will make an appearance.

Mr Iwata said that the thing that makes the Wii perfect for safe shopping online is its broad, trans-generational appeal. He also emphasised the fact that it could be used as a device for socialising as much as gaming and now shopping, which he hopes will enhance and unify its community of users.

Bringing e-commerce to the Wii in Japan is part of Nintendo's plans to make sure that people who buy the console do not leave it to gather dust beneath their televisions, but continue to get involved and enjoy its features on a regular basis.

Sadly the Wii shopping experience does not look like it will reach an international audience in the near future, although success in Japan could convince Nintendo to bring it to the UK.