Nintendo appears to be phasing out its Wii Speak peripheral. The hardware, designed to be used for voice chat on the console, will now be available only at "limited retail locations," with further shipments made only "if consumer demand increases."
The company hasn't specified what, if any, impact the apparent discontinuance of the Wii Speak microphone will have on the designated Wii Speak channel for which it's designed. Unlike standard online in-game chat, Wii Speak lets users correspond inside a designated chat room using their Mii avatars.
"We have nothing to announce regarding the future of this channel, and it currently is being enjoyed by many gamers," a spokesperson told consumer site GameSpot
Wii Speak and its associated hardware originally became available at the end of 2008, marketed and launched alongside Animal Crossing: City Folk
. Wii Speak addressed what many believed to be a gap in Nintendo's online strategy, as the other two consoles on the market developed increasingly robust multiplayer and social features.
The passage of just two years' time later demonstrated that the Wii may address a segment of the video gaming audience entirely its own, sharing some overlap with the audience for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 but having somewhat distinct habits especially as regards their online consumption, tendency to download content, use Netflix or play multiplayer matches.
The Wii also requires alphanumeric "friend codes" be entered in order for users to be able to connect or speak to one another online, versus the much more open ID-based system implemented by the other consoles.
According to the report, Nintendo points out that Performance Designed Products still manufactures its Headbanger Headset, which can be used for voice chat in Wii games like Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops
and Sega's Conduit 2