Nintendo is looking to revamp their Wii gaming system in hopes of competing with Microsoft’s XBox and Sony’s Playstation 3. The main complaints about the Wii are that it lacks the sophisticated HD graphics that appeal to hardcore gamers, and that the controller is awkward. The Wii also has no third-party game support from major publishers. These are things Nintendo wants to rectify when the new Wii U is released. The new Wii U design will feature a sleeker looking console with rounded edges, but the main design change is to the controller, which will use the newest touch screen technology.
Nintendo app store
Digital Trends, reporting from the Consumer Electronics Show 2012 in Las Vegas, wrote that Nintendo is planning a competitive app store and hoping it will turn the console into much more than a gaming device. The new app store will be a total marketplace for the new Wii U system and will offer much more than anything they offer for DS products or the existing Wii shop.
Rumors of downloadable e-book service
Rumors about a possible e-book service surfaced after Nintendo’s announcement about their planned app store. Users would be able to download books, magazines, newspapers or comic books to the console and read them on the controller or a Nintendo DS system. Forgetthebox.net quoted an unnamed software developer working closely with Nintendo, who claims knowledge of the complete downloadable e-book service that would have these items as part of their service.
It’s also possible that this service could dig into Nintendo’s archives to offer downloadable strategy guides for all of its games. Another advantage is that the out-of-print guides for NES, Gameboy, and other older systems would be available for free from the e-book store. It is also possible that past issues of Nintendo Power Magazine would be available in e-book form.
A new e-book market?
With a new controller and app store, Nintendo appears to be trying to create a place for themselves at the intersection of e-readers and video game consoles. With millions of consumers already enjoying tablets like the Amazon Kindle Fire and Apple’s iPad, selling consumers on an e-book format that isn’t inherently portable might be a stretch.
But for college students, the connection might be a solid solution to combining home entertainment and education. The market for electronic textbooks is still in its infancy—and while more traditional e-books are being used at major colleges and universities, there’s still room for a new kind of e-book.
According to The New York Times, textbook publishers are beginning to take advantage of the popularity of tablet computers by expanding their catalogs and product offerings to include rentals of digital textbooks that expire at the end of one or two semesters. By giving students a way to interact with their learning materials on a video game console—perhaps even gamifying educational content—it’s possible that video games could become a supplemental system to portable tablets, leaving older technology like laptops behind.
Simba Information, a research company specializing in publishing, has even more impressive projections; they estimate that digital textbooks will generate $267.3 million in the US alone for the 2011-2012 academic year. An increase of roughly 44.3 percent over last year certainly points to a trend towards greater use of digital textbooks.
For e-publishers, those numbers are encouraging; and the addition of a new platform by which to deliver their content could mean an even bigger boost for e-books.
Online or distance education
It isn’t surprising that given the increasing popularity of tablet computers, eReaders and downloadable e-books, and the use of digital textbooks, that a logical progression would be to online education. Academic institutions offer prospective students the opportunity to get a degree from a fully accredited academic institution, while taking all of their classes online. More and more universities are deciding to offer at least some of their classes online.
About Author: Lindsey is a writer living in Indianapolis. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and cooking. Lindsey is writing on behalf of Colorado Technical University.
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