Nintendo just released a channel on their Wii platform called “Everybody Votes.” For those that aren’t current Wii users, the content that the device can display is grouped into units called Channels. These display in the dashboard of the device and up to now have been focused on mostly one-way communications like news updates or weather forecasts. This is different – and has just turned on a two-way hotline into opinions of all of their users.
Why would anyone want to interact with this content?
1. The channel is attractive. The interface is very friendly to all age groups and you vote by literally lifting your “mii” (an avatar you create) and dropping it on the appropriate vote area. It looks very cool.
2. This is fun. The questions so far have been basic ("Red or blue?") and rather interesting ("If your date is 10 minutes late, are you angry or indifferent?"). The questions change daily and the results show up after a few days are allowed for other voting. And it is really easy to do.
3. The results are interesting. Or at least can be. The registration process to vote requires you enter a region. This means we’ll be able to see how Texans vs. New Yorkers reply to questions. Also you get to predict replies, so you can ‘win’ by being right in what the popular answers are. Now you can find out just how different you really are.
What could Nintendo do with this?
1. Improve the user experience. The Wii is already getting rave reviews from nearly every user but this new data will allow Nintendo to design new channels, new games, and new uses for the system. I’m expecting the training wheel questions to give way to really interesting and game-based questions soon.
2. Foster greater community. The Wii has the “mii” channel where your avatar can, on its own, meet up with others and exchange greetings. The online community success of Xbox Live has shown that users WANT to interact online via their gaming. The Wii is the first console to focus on the local community by simply bringing players of all ages together in one room, so this will start to foster the wider-area community as well.
3. Tailor Marketing and Messaging. Now that you’re entering all kinds of interesting stats like whether your late date annoys you or not, messages can be tailored to your affinities. Given the broad scope of what they can ask this has a lot of potential.
Of course the last part to this is how new questions get asked – and because Nintendo lets you send them your own questions for review, we’re bound to see some very interesting questions and results soon. They have enhanced an already positive experience by listening to the voice of their customers – something that will drive even more positive word-of-mouth for Nintendo.