Wii U’s TVii First Impressions

Dec 21, 2012 by


The Nintendo Wii U, for me personally, is thus far a very worthwhile purchase. It has a lot of potential and does a lot of things right, such as merging hardcore gaming with social media, offering an engaging experience and satisfying my carnal gaming urges while providing cool bonuses (remote play specifically).

Another such bonus is Nintendo TVii, the Wii U’s purported “killer app”. Originally supposed to come out at launch, TVii ended up being pushed back a month to work out kinks in the system. There was even an icon already preinstalled on the Gamepad’s screen. Opening it though brought up a message calling you a chump and telling you to reopen TVii in December.

So, TVii was finally launched in North America on December 20th, and pushing the preinstalled TVii button no longer brought up a chump message. After spending an evening with the Wii U’s “killer app”, I must say that I am definitely impressed. The potential of the concept does indeed seem like something that people would buy the system for in the future. Unfortunately, as with any new technology release, there are some drawbacks.

When you first load up TVii (you don’t need to update your system or download it from the eShop) you are asked to type in your zip code and then the system gives you a list of television providers in your area.

After picking your television provider and TV package, TVii then asks you to select some of your favorite TV shows so that future recommendations actually are relevant to your taste in TV. So, if you’re anything like me, you selected The Walking Dead, Monday Night Raw and Futurama and moved onto the next step.

You’re then asked to select your favorite movies, which I assume is for recommendation purposes again. Then, you’re asked to select your favorite NFL, NCAA football, NBA and NCAA basketball teams. The way TVii handled this was actually a bit cool. Instead of just having a huge list that you have to scroll through to get to your favorite team, they separate it by divisions and conferences. This makes narrowing down your team a lot easier.

Finally, you’re asked to link your TVii profile to social media for the purpose of connecting with people while your use the service. Miiverse is automatically selected, and you’re also given the option to link Facebook and Twitter profiles.

Easy enough, right? Now you can tweet while watching TV. Except, and this is one of those drawbacks I mentioned earlier, for some reason social media isn’t supported for all shows and all times. For me personally, tweeting wasn’t an option for any of the shows I watched. Maybe it’s just the part of the country I live in though, as I read several other accounts online of people who it worked for, so who knows.

Hopefully something like that gets ironed out in the long run though, as it would be really cool to be able to integrate social media seamlessly with what I watch. I’m sure the world is quivering in anticipation of my opinion on how Andrea needs to stop getting it on with The Governor.

Watching sports via TVii was way sick as well, and it blows me away to think about how awesome it will be to watch the Superbowl or BCS with TVii. So, to put it short, the game is played on your TV screen, and your gamepad displays a constantly changing diagram that includes up to the minute stats. There is also a mini field (if you’re watching football, I assume there’s a court if you’re watching basketball) and it displays play info and yardage in real time, allowing you to track where exactly a drive is happening.

No exaggeration, I don’t think I have ever had more fun watching a football game. Any sports fan (especially football) will fall in love with TVii. Looking back, I feel like a caveman for watching football without it for so many years.

The strangest part of all about TVii though, was the lack of DVR, Netflix and Hulu support. I mean those are clearly the three biggest selling points of the service and the main factor that Nintendo seemed to hit on when they announced TVii.

We all know support for those things is coming; it just seems strange that they would release the service and not have those things available. I mean they already pushed it back. I’m sure Wii U owners everywhere would have understood a few more weeks of delay if it meant an awesome and completely finished TVii product.

As it stands right now, TVii doesn’t quite feel whole. Sure, watching sports on the service is awesome. Yet, without DVR, Hulu and Netflix support, it just feels like a test or something, like Nintendo is trying to gauge the public’s opinion of the service.

Whenever Nintendo does roll out TVii support for DVR, Hulu and Netflix though, there is no doubt in my mind that the Wii U will become something that every gamer should have in their home. It’s just a matter of time.

About Christian Miller

Christian is a lover of the three R's: reading, writing, and RPG's. He lives in a historic town in northern Utah where he loves playing video games and trying humorously to become an author. When he isn't spending time with his family or writing, you can probably find him battling Darkspawn, trying to catch em all, or attempting to get a headshot on a Chimera.

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