With the Wii U now making its appearance in stores just in time for holiday shopping, more details are beginning to come to light to make this one an even more unusual and interesting concept than it was when it was introduced at E3. Specifically, Vidyo (News - Alert) revealed earlier today that their software platform would be powering the Wii U Chat system included with every console.
Wii U Chat is a platform by which game developers can include video chat systems in games directly, which allows for entertaining moments similar to those popularized in the Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 commercial dubbed "Surprise,” in which users rapidly gain the edge over their competitors via sneak attacks, only to have it wrestled away from them due to a a sneak attack in which they are the target. Now, users will actually be able to issue their "surprise" taunts face to face...to face or more.
But besides making plenty of "surprise" moments, there's a much larger underlying trend at work here. Not only is the concept of video chatting now sufficiently ubiquitous that it can be worked reasonably into video games, but Vidyo is also making itself known as a major player in terms of video communications circles. Adding a name like Nintendo is no mean feat, but considering that Vidyo already counted Philips (News - Alert), Ricoh and even Google in their roster, it's one more big deal amongst a surprisingly large number of same already in play.
While Vidyo isn't the first firm to attempt living room-grade video communications, they are among the first to actually bring it out in a fashion that works for all users, regardless of their level of technical skill or the size of their wallet. In fact, Vidyo is said to be opening up several new markets previously thought unfeasible to operate in thanks to their efficient and comparatively low-cost systems for video chat provision.
Considering Nintendo's emphasis on party games and games played with the family, there's plenty of value in bringing a video chat system into Wii U games, as these will likely be the best type of games to play remotely with friends. Nintendo can then take advantage of the trait to engage in a little distinction marketing, calling their system the best system to play with friends, no matter where those friends happen to be.
In an overall environment in which people's friends may be scattered all over thanks to work concerns or the like, having a way to get everyone easily together for a game will likely be valued among those who wish they could spend more time together, yet are unable to due to various circumstances.
This is going to be a very difficult front for Microsoft (News - Alert) and Sony to compete with when they finally launch their own next-gen systems, but it will be one on which they must compete all the same. Either they need to show conclusively that there's not that much value in video chatting – a tall order by any measure – or they need to show how they can do it better.
That may well mean more business for Vidyo in the near future – or at least an unexpected bonus for another competing firm.
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo