By Agence France-Presse TOKYO--Nintendo Co. said Thursday it will start offering videos through its blockbuster Wii game console, the latest new feature for the Japanese entertainment giant. Nintendo said it would develop original programming which Wii users could access via the Internet and watch on their television. It is considering videos for both free and fees. The game giant teamed up with Japan's leading advertising firm Dentsu Inc. to develop the service, which will begin in Japan next year, with an eye on future expansion into foreign markets. Japanese rival Sony Corp. has already started using its popular PlayStation series for online movie sales and advertising by placing corporate messages inside games, which often have highly niche audiences. One prominent advertiser was US president-elect Barack Obama, who placed campaign commercials inside a video game produced by Electronic Arts for Microsoft's XBox 360 console. Nintendo and Dentsu said they were soliciting businesses to take part in the project to develop original Wii videos. "Nintendo and Dentsu shall use the environment surrounding the Wii so that living rooms with Wii-ready TVs would become more of a fun area for communication among families and friends," the firms said in a joint statement. Nintendo has shipped 34.55 million Wii consoles around the world, 80 percent of which are sitting near televisions in living rooms, the company said, adding that 40 percent of Wii consoles are linked to the Internet. The Wii, launched ahead of the holiday season in 2006, is known for its innovative motion-sensitive controller which has appealed to people buying a video-game machine for the first time. Nintendo already enables Wii players to use the game consoles to surf the Internet, shop online, organize digital photos and to communicate with Wii-using friends. Nintendo in November launched in Japan the DSi, which comes with a built-in camera that lets allows the user to alter people's facial expressions.
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MANDALUYONG CITY -- Game development firm Kuju Manila has launched the first Filipino-made Nintendo Wii game called Circus Games. Circus Game was launched in the US this October and is targeted at younger players, groups and families. The game can be played by up to two players and has about 20 different circus themed mini-games. These require the use of the NintendoWiimote and the nunchuk attachment. Some of the mini-games require players to shoot or throw objects while others allow for catching items. The game is published by French company Ubisoft, which distributes popular titles such as Rainbow Six and Splinter Cell series. The game is also sold locally at Datablitz for about P2,000. Kuju Manila is formerly Matahari Studios which created games for the arcade shop Timezone. Matahari was then acquired last October to become a subsidiary studio by Kuju Entertainment based in the UK. Kuju Manila becomes the seventh development studio for Kuju Entertainment, which is credited for their work in such games as the EyeToy: Play 2 and EyeToy: Play 3 for the PlayStation 2, Call of Duty: Finest Hour, Geometry Wars, among others. It currently has 27 employees all of whom are Filipinos. The company aims to grow their employment roster to 50 or 60 by 2009 in anticipation for new projects after the acquisition. Kuju Manila General Manager Eric Marlow said the company's acquisition will widen their scope towards console and handheld games. However, they will still focus on casual, family-oriented games for the arcade and consoles. Marlow also said they are now working on two new titles, one of which he said is based on a popular title. Marlow is also a member of the Game Development Association of the Philippines, which is promoting the country as a hub for outsourced and original game development.