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Jan262007

Nintendo’s Wii to provide AP news, photos on free channel for video gamers

SEATTLE – Rabid video gamers could get some help keeping in touch with the outside world this weekend as Nintendo Co. launches an online news service through its popular Wii console.

The Wii News Channel, scheduled to debut Saturday, will primarily feature top news stories and photographs from The Associated Press.

Consoles with a broadband Internet connection and the Opera Web browser will be able to access the free news channel, which will offer AP news in multiple languages. Japanese-language news will come from a separate agency.

There were no immediate plans to sell advertising space, said Perrin Kaplan, vice president for marketing at Nintendo’s U.S. headquarters in Redmond.

News will be displayed through an interactive map, which users can navigate with the Wii’s wireless controller, Kaplan said.

“The beauty of it is it zooms in and out of areas of the world,” she said. “So if you really want to focus on regional news or national news versus international, you just blow up the map of the U.S.”

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Nintendo, Wii, News Channel, AP News, Video+Gamers

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