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Everyone's Wii Theater date and pricing set

Fuji Soft to offer over 150 franchises for rental on the Wii.


Fuji Soft shared today final details on its Everyone's Theater Wii (Minna no Theater Wii) movie download service, including a start date and pricing.

The service, which was first announced in June, will kick off on January 27. On that day, Wii owners will be able to purchase the Everyone's Theater Wii program from the Wii Shopping Channel. This 500 Wii Point program gives users access to video content on a rental basis.

The downloaded video makes use of an in-house technoology called ULEXIT to deliver what Fujisoft claims is video quality close to DVD level. Users make use of the Wiimote to control playback through an on-screen control panel that pops up on top of the video.

Pricing for rentals varies. Those who opt for the "Chotto Mi Course" ("A Little Viewing Crouse"), can view a title for two days at a cost of 300 Wii Points. The "Basic Course" offers two titles for three days at a total of 600 Wii Points. The "Jikkuri Course" ("Relaxed Course") includes three titles for five days at a total of 800 Wii Points.

Anime titles count three episodes as one title, meaning under the cheapest course, users can get three episodes of a show for two days at a total of 300 yen.

For content, Fuji Soft has currently attracted 12 companies, including Tezuka Productions and Toei. At the outset, the service will offer 150 franchises, including such classics as Tetsuwan Atom and Hajime no Ippo, totaling 3,000 total episodes.

A full list of initial content is available at the Wii Theater website. This page is divided into anime, movie, drama, variety, education, music, and free sections. Currently, the anime section has the most content, while the other sections either have just a handful of episodes or are blank. The free section includes one episode of three popular animes.

Fuji Soft plans on adding 50 titles every month following the start of service. The plans include international movies.

For the future, the company is looking into bringing a similar service to other platforms, including cell phones, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo today, Fuji Soft president Haruhisa Shiraishi explained the background behind the service and how it ended up on Wii. The Wii has crossed the 7.6 million mark in domestic sales, he said, with internet connectivity amongst users having crossed the 52.5% mark. Fuji Soft approached Nintendo with the idea a little over a year ago, and while there were some hurdles owing to this being the first time a third party had approached Nintendo with non gaming content, he believes his company has achieved a "world's first" video-on-demand service for the Wii.

For those who have been keeping up with Fuji Soft's media plans on the Wii, there appear to be a few changes to the Everyone's Wii Theater service from what was announced back in September. Originally, Fuji Soft announced a December launch date for the service and said that content would be purchased rather than rented.

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