It was inevitable, and quick. The Wii, with its combination of popularity, high profile, and beta (we stress, beta) internet channel has been too much of a lure for the seedy side of the internet to avoid.
Late last year Ars Technica ran a story about an user experience with the Opera powered beta internet channel. His explorations of all aspects of the web via Wii-mote control are interesting.
“So shortly after getting the trial version of opera on the Wii I went to a free adult site https://www.tiava.com to look at some photos. Yesterday I went back and... well apparently either the site maintainers are Wii enthusiasts or I'm not the only one. The site has added a "Wii friendly" interface for browsing their content. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised the adult industry seems to always know where technology is going, but I'm surprised to see it so quick. The browser hasn't been available but for a week now. “
Now in the New Year, some parent groups are kicking up a fuss about the non-cyber nanny aspect of the browser channel. Because the net access sits on a non-configurable device, as such cannot have parental controls integrated at this point in time, many are pointing their Wii-motes back at Nintendo, with blame in their eyes.
Really this is a ridiculous notion on a number of levels. To begin with, the age old argument that parents are unable to manage their kids on line experience, therefore the tech companies or Government need to, doesn’t stand up.
Parental controls on the latest consoles are a great step forward, and generally – given constraints and mistakes by censorship boards – work well in restricting game content to the kiddies. Direct net censorship via in built browsers, be it gaming consoles like the Wii or mobile devices like the upcoming iPhone, at this point in time, is unrealistic.
There would be two methods conceivably, to achieve this. One would be the abhorrent and unachievable method of Government intervention. A mandate from above that would dictate to both ISP’s and tech manufactures to detect and block access to undesirable (as decided by the powers at be) web content from devices conceivable wielded by underage persons.
Secondly, the approach of configurable devices to add web filtering software, as well as conceivably extending the role of Parental control software to a web filtering solution. But we all know these filtering methods to begin with are not 100% assured. Cyber nasties will always find a way to cloak their content, not too mention the constant problem faced by Censorship boards today, of trying to provide a generic moral compass for the public as a whole, when the reality is that one persons offensive content is not another’s.
So once again, it comes down to parental guidance and awareness of their dependents access to offensive material. Nintendo can not be held responsible, simply by providing a wonderful, albeit beta, facility on their latest tech gadget. With recent news such as Nintendo increasing their profit forecast by 20%, along with stellar sales figures for the Wii in Japan and other places, if this controversy, along with a couple of snapping Wii-mote cables are the biggest worries for the gaming giant, then the future is looking rosy indeed.
Now, thank goodness, for those mature people (at least by gauge of age) the Wii-mote is held in one hand whilst we surf the web on our HD TV. ;-)