The long awaited news channel for the Wii has been launched today, with a download now available for the console worldwide which provides it with automatically updated news from the Associated Press.
The News channel is the third of the three major online channels, following the Forecast channel (using data from Weathernews.com) and the Opera-based Internet channel. None of the three channels were available at launch, with placeholder screens displayed until the software became available online.
All three channels are currently free, but the Internet channel is only freely available until June of this year - after which it will cost 500 Wii points ($5). Like the Forecast channel, the News channel uses a rotating map of the world, from which stories can be picked.
A slideshow of current top stories can also be run, also using the spinning world globe for reference. Alternatively, stories can be picked from a list of categories including national, international and entertainment news.
According to one of the AP's own reports
, a deal has been signed with the news agency for two years, with hopes to provide multimedia content in the future. However, the report quotes Nintendo of America's Perrin Kaplan as saying that there are no current plans to include advertising in the service. The AP will supply news for the service in English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German and Swiss-German, with Japanese news company Goo supplying Japanese language content.
"It's a very innovative new application of what we're doing generally, which is to try to get our content to new audiences on new platforms," said Jane Seagrave, vice president of new media markets at AP.