Wii Video Service Channel Launches May 1

The latest Wii Channel "Wii no Ma" is scheduled to go live in Japan on May 1. It brings video service to the Nintendo Wii — and what appears to be market research on users.

As detailed last December, "Wii no Ma" (Wii Room) is a video service for your Nintendo Wii. Instead of offering existing movies and television programming, as seen in Sony's video on demand service and Microsoft's Xbox Live Video Marketplace, Nintendo plans to offer cartoons and "mainly family-oriented programming" options created especially for the Wii video service.

Nintendo is partnering with Japanese ad agency Dentsu for the endeavor, offering some videos for a fee, others supported by advertising.

Wii no Ma lets users enter up to 8 Miis and asks them to enter their year of birth as well as their blood type. Everything is centered around a living room, which the Miis occupy in real time. There's a calendar which provides pictures to look at as well as seasonal info.

There's a message board that can be used to contact a celebrity "concierge". For example, in the Wii no Ma promotional video, Albert Einstein makes an appearance, recommending TV shows — you know, as Einstein would.

And that brings us to the video element. After watching the program, you and your Mii family can rate whether you enjoyed the program on a "Yes", "So-So" and "No" type scale. It's also possible to let your friends know what you're watching via messages and download shows to your DSi.

In Wii no Ma, the living room's plant doubles as information about the partner companies advertising in Wii no Ma. It's possible to find out about their products and even order real samples to be delivered to your house. There are coupons than can be downloaded to your DSi as well.

To recap: Wii no Ma asks for you birth year, blood type, gauges what you watch, what you think about what you watch and what products you are interested in. Hello corporate market research! No wonder Nintendo is collaborating with an ad agency for the Wii no Ma Channel. Sure, all companies do market research on their users — here's what appears to be another example of it.

We've contacted Nintendo about this Wii Channel to clarify whether or not the data that is collected will be used as market research by Nintendo, Dentsu or the Wii no Ma partner companies.

Wii no Ma [Wii.com]