back to article Nintendo to introduce online play charges

Nintendo has announced plans to rake in even more cash out of the Wii. It will begin charging gamers to play some video games online over the console's Wi-Fi link. Dubbed Wi-Fi Connection Pay and Play, the service will see virtual red stickers added to certain titles to highlight to users that they must pay to play them online …


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  1. dervheid


    My Wii was flashing it's blue message indicator this morning. Didn't have time to check it out before I left for work though. I wonder...

    Nah, surely not?

  2. Matt Underwood

    Wii update

    It was a quick update - didn't seem to contain much at all. In the blurb it just says that if updates are available on a Wii game disk, the disk channel icon will indicate an update is available. Similarly if an update is available for another channel (like it was for the Every Body Votes channel a while back), then that channel's icon will also indicate an update.

    Now where's my PS3 update with Home in it?

  3. Richy Freeway


    You Wii is flashing to let you know about the 3.2e update. The only extra functionality noted is a warning in the game channel icon when the disc inserted has an update on it.

  4. Monkey


    I know people are going to scream and shout and have tantrums over this, but it's hardly unexpected. If you've owned the console from the start you'll be used to paying for stuff. Why should we expect to get endless amounts of stuff free? MS said "we'll charge you for this and this" right from the start so avoided any flak.

    Now if the quality goes once we start paying for thing, then that is another matter all together.

  5. Keith T
    IT Angle


    or 'me too'.

    Must go and check.

    Dunno, unspecified update.

    Doesn't say what it was an update for.

    Am I to expect one every Tuesday now that M$'s updates have lost their regular slot?

  6. paul

    end is near

    I hardly play my wii since I got a ps3 (and new 1080p telly). Mario galaxy wasn't really for me. However the guitar hero is still played regularlly Online play is free at the moment for that. I will be really p*ssed if that changes as I am only just getting to the standard to play it over the net.

    I was really looking forwards to mario kart wii and smash bros for online play. If I have to pay for either of them online, then bye bye Wii.

    The PS3 has free online play and COD4 is good. If that changes I will by a new PC - quake wars linux is an expensive plan B.

  7. Eponymous Cowherd

    It depends.........

    There is a world of difference between paying the operator of a game server to access *their own* service and being charged to merely connect out from your own console.

    First OK, second definitely *not* OK.

    Or, to put it another way, if some altruistic person creates their own server for a particular game and allows free access then there is no way Nintendo (or anyone else) should be allowed to charge for access. This would be like, for example, Sky charging pay-per-view to access free-to-air programmes from a Sky supplied set top box.

  8. Michael Compton

    RE: So?

    As a longtime PC gamer I'm used to having the ability to play the online portion of the game for free, except of course on MMO and i think it should be the de facto norm. If they say its because of server cost then they should release the server application and allow third parties to offer the service possibly funded by advertising and such.

    After buying a game that has as one of its USP some online play I would be rather miffed to be told I have to pay again for said USP.

    I really can't understand how people can just sit back and let large corprat enitities take them for a ride like so many seem willing to. Have we really just became a bunch of apathetic automatons going about our 9-5's so we can feed these behemoths.

    For the record i have a Wii and quite enjoy it but i will not be paying for some mediocre online play on a game I have already paid for.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Hey ho

    I finally got around to hacking the classic XBox last night - a big improvement it is too (if you've not done it yet, you're missing out). In Nintendo try to screw me over Wii connectivity, I'll just hack the Wii too and do as I see fit. I'm not big on on-line gaming anyway, my connection (supposedly 8mb) is just far too slow and I spend enough time mucking about with the PC at al anyway!

  10. Darren B

    @Eponymous Cowherd

    "This would be like, for example, Sky charging pay-per-view to access free-to-air programmes from a Sky supplied set top box.


    Lets see as a start - E4, More4, Virgin1, Dave - all on Freeview but not on FreeSatFromSky?

  11. yet another Matt


    I was wondering who was going to blink first. It seemed inevitable to me that either Microsoft was going to have to stop charging for Live to compete with Nintendo and Sony. Or Nintendo and Sony started charging for their services so they wern't losing out on that extra bit of cash.

    But with the online gaming being currently small time on the Wii and PS3, and money being a big factor, Microsoft's approach clearly has a bigger pull.

    Seems to me, as a consumer, that services like Steam or SecondLife are the way to go. But with popular subscription titles like WoW around, I think we will all end up poorer if we want to play online.

  12. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Down

    @ Pedantic Darren B

    OK, if you want to be anal about it, Its like Sky charging people to watch a channel that is broadcast on a satellite completely outside of Sky's control (e.g. Hotbird) just because they are using a Sky supplied receiver.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    so to recap

    Xbox, pay some money per month to play on a pants joy pad on games that aren't very good. A few exceptions, but for the most it seems to be driving games. Silver membership as well doesn't record acheivements and you can't play online or save progress or something benaal which means things like Halo2 never run in vista (Vista or the connection fails and saving is lost. And my GOW doesn't save because it is a silver account.)

    Sony cost the earth but you can now get keyboard and mouse to play on games that seem to be updated versions of the same old games on the PS2 but playing is free???. And it's Sony which means it is probably DRM'd and telling the world your surfing habits. A decent monitor is better than HD as it is.

    Nintendo release slightly sub standard games (graphics wise) designed for communities to play and share then start asking people to pay, given it can't yet run dvd and is lagging to the others and the games are seriously old rehash's (mario, donkey kong) I can only think of kids asking parents to pay so they can play that kids game against friends. 1 year to capture the audience and then bleed them dry.

    Or you play on a pc, which probably needs to be upgraded every few years, all xbox games come out soon anyway because of the problems trying to get Vista to sell and for the most part is free to play online in faster, better and swisher graphics than the competition, and games are cheaper. (which helps) Steam, EA downloader, Xfire and similar programs work well as a replacement to Xbox live.

    I was thinking of buying a wii but the shortage, the lack of a dvd (which means I could replace one thing under the tv) and lots of people saying the games are not the kind to make you come back again and again. (The lightsaber covers the control IR as well... that alone should have someone sacked for muppetry) That and it isn't M$ related.

    It's a shame to read this article.

  14. N1AK

    @yet another Matt

    Considering the success Xbox Live has been I certainly don't expect MS to change it to a free service. People are evidently willing to pay for online if the service justifies it.

    Yes I have a nagging feeling in the back of my head that I'm basically handing MS pure profit each month (as games are user hosted) but the service is smooth and the ranking system works well.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Xbox Silver not relevant

    The Xbox silver account doesn't allow you to play online games, or at least I didn't think it did. I'm sure someone will be along to correct me if I am wrong....

  16. Monkey

    Re: So, Re: So

    My point was more that we can't always expect stuff free just for the sake of it. Like expansion packs, full downloadable games. Extras for the sake of it so to speak.

    I certainly didn't mean buying a game, only to have to pay again to play online for example. That is completely wrong and out of order when the box states multiplayer for example. I agree with you completely and find it appalling when game companies try to charge you additional fees for access to the network.

    If Nintendo suddenly want to charge me for access to the portal through the Wii, they can shove it. As can Sony if that were to happen. You either launch a free network and keep it free charging for the additional content. Or you charge for the access and offer incentives as MS did.

    The key thing is... which is it Nintendo are going to do?

  17. Joe K

    "The net is full of pedo's, save the children!"

    Sheesh, with "Friendcodes" and now this crap, Nintendo REALLY don't want people playing with each other over the big bad internet do they.

    I'll stick to the free PSN network if you don't mind. Come on Home!

  18. David Austin


    As long as Euros don't get charged for Smash Brothers, unlike their American and Japanese counterparts....

    It's a bit of a shame, as "Free online gaming" was one of the unique selling points of WiFi Connect.

  19. dervheid

    @Matt & Richy

    Cheers for the info guys.

    Just a coincidence after all then!

    N.O.I. Richy, but your (full) moniker is a bit ironic considering the subject matter.

    Given Nintendo's current leanings towards the 'casual gamer' (like myself these days), I can't see a large proportion of said demographic shelling out on subscription services for occasional online play. As for the "Virtual Red Stickers", will these translate to "Real Red Stickers" on packaging so you know where you stand BEFORE YOU BUY THE GAME! More to the point, are Nintendo intending to start charging for online play on EXISTING (both Wii &DS) games?

    The words "foot," "in," "themselves," "shooting," & "the" spring to mind.

  20. Monkey


    I only half read that article. Stuff my original post entitled 'So?'!

  21. matthew bennion
    Thumb Down

    Oh dear....

    I've never agreed with paying for online use of a game...If a game is 39.99 you shouldn't need to shell out another tenner a month to play it.

    This doesn't apply to existing games :) only the new ones with red stickers (every game with internet play thats awaiting release from now on I bet).

    Smash bro's and mario kart will no doubt have it...mmm bad move nintendo very bad move.....sounds like Nini are getting a little bit greedy.

  22. Highlander

    @AC with a poor recapping habit

    Your recap was merely a restating of your somewhat slanted opinions.

    Let's recap first with regard to the story;

    Nintendo is going to start charing for online gaming with games people already bought!? Bad move. As someone else pointed out, if you buy a game and it has an online component you don't expect to pay again for the same game. With MMORPGs you pay very little for the game (if anything) because the subscription fee is the point of the game. Bad move by Nintendo. Microsoft has a reputation for the whole nickel and dime thing. Now it looks like Nintendo wants to take the crown for it.

    Now your recap....

    Xbox - $50 a year for online gaming and downloads. Network purchasable games are extra. Silver doesn't get you much more than updates and promos. Many games are simply the Xbox360 update on earlier games, some new ones such as Gears or Bioshock.

    PS3 - Free to play, no subscription charge to play or download. Network purchasable games are extra. Many games are updates on earlier generations games, such as GT5, FFXII, COD4. Some new games such as Resistance, MotorStorm or Uncharted. New to console franchise such as UTIII using keyboard and mouse a la PC gaming.

    Wii - Some free to play, some not. Many old franchises in their umpteenth iteration. New games mainly group/activity based and not online.

    PC gaming - rampant piracy making it hard for game publishers to justify PC releases. PC cost to run 'current' games is high thanks to GPU requirements. Microsoft charges $200 admission to Windows, though many games feature free online play. MMORPG games are big on PC, but cost $$ in subs.

    Relative cost of each platform. Xbox360 and PS3 a wash, with Xbox 360 working out slightly more expensive in typical use configurations. Wii clearly the cheaper option. PCs with an upgrade at least every two year to remain current with PC gaming - expensive. Not forgetting the Windows tax, and should MS go the way it is moving, Windows Live (like XBL, but for PCs) will be a 'huge success'....

    Relative evilness of each provider. Microsoft - Evil to the core, knows it does wrong and congratulates itself when it does it, knowingly supplied poorly tested products to consumers (Vista, Xbox 360, Windows ME, various versions of Office, Zune, IE, etc...). Sony - Evil division BMG limited to music (BMG is the provider of rootkits and DRM to the world...), remainder of organization has chaotic tendencies, painfully aware of wrong doings thanks to media/fanboy campaign. Nintendo - arrogant and vision oriented but not evil, immaturely thinks it can do no wrong.

  23. John King

    The WoW effect!

    Surely Nintendo are just allowing the established MMORPG finance model used by World Of Warcraft to work on their machine. This news just opens the door for Blizzard and Co to start developing games on a platform they couldn't consider before.

    I'm sure Mummy has a tissue to hand for all those who are having a little cry right now, bless.

  24. Sam

    Nintendo = Paypal of sorts?

    Maybe they're just creating a means for everyone to purchase 'gaming points' (or watever they eventually call em) for access to subscription based games such as MMO's and the like.

    People are more likely the trust the big N with thier CC details on the nice friendly wii screen than screen in the game that pops up and asks for yer info.

    It doesn't have to be all 'oh noes i can't play teh mario kartzoooooorsss'

    Big effin deal.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "OK, if you want to be anal about it, Its like Sky charging people to watch a channel that is broadcast on a satellite completely outside of Sky's control (e.g. Hotbird) just because they are using a Sky supplied receiver."

    Which of course they don't do. Instead, they charge broadcasters to allow people to watch channels broadcast on a satellite outside of Sky's control using a Sky supplied receiver.

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