President of Nintendo Satoru Iwata has been running the highly informative and occasionally hilarious (laughs) Iwata Asks interview series for a while now, and so far he's been the only one conducting the interviews. That all changed today as President of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aime was given the reigns, as he explored the upcoming TVii feature with its key developers.
During the 'Reggie Asks' interview he explored the various features of the new application, including how the GamePad integrates with your TV viewing and how you may interact with people who are thousands of miles away.
Zach Fountain, Director of Network Business at Nintendo of America, explained how people are consuming more video content than ever before with cable and satellite TV subscriptions, as well as streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
The process of finding and controlling a program has become too complicated. Then, once you are watching, most viewers are now using a second screen to augment the experience, both socially and in the search of information. Nintendo TVii addresses this changing landscape by bringing together everything you need – a personalized guide, a super remote, and a social TV experience – into one seamless application on the GamePad. This makes watching TV easier and fun.
A key area that Wii U has addressed quite a lot is the social aspect surrounding gaming, with many players using the Miiverse to share their experiences with other people on the fly. This can also be done with TVii as the service has its own Miiverse community that will also appear in the WaraWara plaza. This will generate even more buzz when you turn on your Wii U as you'll see what people are watching and what they're saying about it - and we're sure we'll see plenty more fantastic pieces of artwork too!
In the same way that Nintendo Land uses tags for each of its mini games, so too will TVii, singling out programmes or even specific things about them for tagging treatment. Masaki Okahata, Project Manager at Network Business, delved into the TV Tags saying they will allow people to see context when they see a comment from another user. For example if somebody randomly blurts out "great catch!" you don't really have any clue as to what they're referring to - they could be talking about their pet dog catching a Frisbee for all you know. A simple TV Tag could have it filed under "Jets vs Seahawks", allowing you to see that someone in that NFL game's made a great catch.
Another interesting aspect of TVii is the user profiles, which attach themselves to your Miis. They can naturally be given parental controls allowing parents to control what content their children are watching. Each Mii can create their own profile which can be personalised to suit them. This allows users to tell the application what their favourite shows are, their favourite movies, sports teams and which social networks they use, making it a whole lot easier to see what's on right now and which of their favourite programmes are available to watch.
Zach Fountain describes the GamePad as a "super remote control that spans your cable or satellite box, your DVR, and Wii U applications."
The TVii service has rolled out across Canada and the United States today, 20th December, and will be coming to selected regions in Europe at some point in 2013.
What are your thoughts on the TVii application, North America? Let us know how you're finding it in the comments section below.