Nintendo has launched its Wii Speak peripheral for its home console today, along with the 'Marmite' game that is Animal Crossing: Let's Go to the City.
Nintendo is pitching Wii Speak and its associated Wii Speak Channel as "an exciting new communications tool" creating "new social gaming experiences for all".
Wii gamers can now connect to each other to talk through their Wii console, which – should it take off amongst the currently small but rapidly growing online community of Wii gamers – is pretty cool, whether or not you love or loathe Animal Crossing.
From Nintendo's press release: "Wii Speak is placed on or in front of the TV in the centre of your living room, which means conversations can be picked up from an entire room of people. This ensures that your friends and family can converse in comfort with you - whether they are just up the road or half way across the world, enabling true global communication on your Wii."
Connect, chat, share pics
The Wii Speak Channel acts as a portal to allow up to four different locations to connect, chat and share images and texts anywhere in the world, for free.
When you buy the Wii Speak mic, you will get a Wii Download Ticket with a unique number, redeemable via the Wii Shop Channel so you can download the Wii Speak Channel free of charge to a single Wii console.
So now you can happily chat away with your mates in Animal Crossing: Let's Go to the City about what flowers you are growing and other such nonsense. Or you can just shoot the breeze and swap your latest holiday snapshots over the Wii Speak Channel.