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Nintendo Restricts Wii Wi-Fi For A Reason

Nintendo logoThere's a lot of bile churning among the gaming community today over a single statement buried at the bottom of IGN's latest preview for a Nintendo Wii launch title, Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam.  While touching on the fact that the game would not include online multiplayer, the preview adds:

IGN has separately learned from multiple development sources that Nintendo will not release Wii Wi-Fi Connection libraries to third parties until early 2007, which means that no third party launch title will have an online mode.

The outcry over this is that Nintendo is "breaking" a bunch of third-party Wii titles by restricting online capabilities.  Maybe so, but Nintendo isn't being completely unreasonable here.  After all, the company probably wants outside developers to focus on the new controller first and foremost for launch titles and could be concerned that the distraction of adding online content might weaken third-party Wii titles.  Or perhaps Nintendo wants to put its best foot forward and kick off the online Wii content by itself without outside competition (both stellar and sub-par).  No matter what Nintendo's reasoning, it shouldn't come as a surprise.  Nintendo has always been a very restrictive company with which to work in that if you're going to play with their toys in their yard, you're going to play how they say and when they say.