The idea of having an app store isn’t exactly new anymore. Both iOS and Android have robust app stores. Home consoles have digital downloads too, via the Virtual Console, Xbox Live Arcade, and PlayStation Network. What’s interesting is that the upcoming Nintendo Wii U could have an even bigger app store, including not only games for the console, but also apps for the tablet-like controller alone.
Think about the ramifications. We’re already used to playing retro hits (via the Virtual Console) and smaller games (as WiiWare), but the “full blown app store” for the Wii U may have a separate section with apps for the controller. This means you can carry that controller around the house and use it like how you would an iPad, Galaxy Tab, or Kindle Fire. It could have email, web browsing, Twitter, and basic media enjoyment. These apps are meant to go beyond “just” video games, though when you’re ready to game, it can do that too, of course.
Games on tablets and smartphones are biting into Nintendo’s profits, so why not bite back by offering smartphone and tablet-like apps right back to its marquee home gaming console? The Wii U is expected to launch later this year.