Nintendo and Gamespy

Well, those waiting for Wii to have some online-multiplayer capability can start rejoicing. Kind of.

GameSpy, the company who brought you the Nintendo DS online-multiplayer connection, announced today that it would be providing the multiplayer middleware technology for the Nintendo Wii. As long suspected, multiplayer for the Wii is not to begin until June 2007. The first game available with this new technology is the long clamored for, Pokémon Battle Revolution.

In addition to the DS online-multiplayer system, the Wii system will offer “friend rosters, advanced matchmaking capabilities and comprehensive rankings data.” Now some people have leapt to the conclusion that this will eliminate the Friend Codes that no one can remember and the creation of a central online hub. However, the release doesn’t quite say that and there have been no further details, as of yet, of how exactly this is going to work.

Maybe the system will allow a player to enter a friend code and the “friend list” remembers it permanently. Maybe its only game-by-game. Maybe it’s a system like the Xbox Live Gamertags. Maybe its something completely new. Who knows?

While the only announced title is Pokémon Battle Revolution, it is clear that more titles will be announced sooner than later (Super Smash Bros. Brawl, please). As for previously released titles, I spoke with the author of the press release and asked whether GameSpy had planned to make previously released Wii games compatible with this new technology. Her response was that while it is possible for GameSpy to make previously released titles multiplayer compatible, GameSpy has no plans to do so at the current time. So no Madden ’07 or Tiger ’07 or Ultimate Alliance online.

Hopefully, this next step in Nintendo’s online evolution is a step in the right direction. While I’m hoping for an easy to navigate system, what I really want is to see some online-multiplayer games to come out sooner than later.