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Friday, September 01, 2006

Does WiFi bring online gaming to the masses?

When I was in college, a fraternity brother of mine liberated some random network equipment, drilled a few holes in various walls and floors and we had the absolute greatest way to play Doom ... against each other. It was brilliant. People would lock themselves into the house for days. Some grew psychologically averse to sunlight. A couple of us even dived into mapediting (fairly daunting for the Doom engine) and that just fed the beast all that much more.

By the time Quake III rolled around, the Internet had extended it's pipes and tubes to many more houses and serious fragging could be thrown down. Course, along came broadband and suddenly playing Counter-Strike was more like LPW v HPB warfare.

Now we've got WiFi and the BBC says it could be responsible for a whole new generation of online gamers. With public WiFi networks starting to go live, it's becoming a literal walk in the park to get networked with other gamers. I've said it before, but this is what the N-Gage tried to zero in on ... but Nintendo did it so much better. While Xbox Live is a revamp of existing services - portable networked gaming is really a brand new bag.

I'm hoping that with the Wii Nintendo doesn't lose it's focus on the DS. Course, since it sounds like Nintendo won't even be rolling out their Wii network for third parties until sometime 2007 - I guess I won't have to worry too much.

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Greg Tannahill said...

Of course, at last count, there were, what, five games that actually use the WiFi? And I'm including some that haven't been released in Australia yet? Nintendo have a fantastic infrastructure, but they could do a fair sight better at the software side of things. There's only so much Mario Kart I can play.

Josh said...

Completely agreed. I thought Metroid Hunters was brilliant - but with little staying power. Animal Crossing's Wifi felt like a not so fancy chat client.

NIntendo's go the right foot jammed into the right door, now they just need to push it farther open. Give us an RPG with real depth. Give us ...

No wait ... let's just start there :)