After looking so bare for months after launch, the Channels view on your Wii is probably starting to fill up nicely by now - and tomorrow brings the launch of another free channel that'll be well worth a download, the rather obviously titled Nintendo Channel.
The idea of the channel is to fulfil a function the Wii hasn't been terribly good at so far, namely keeping you up to date with what's new and what's coming out for the console. As such, it'll include a game guide full of information on Wii and DS games, and a library of trailers, gameplay videos and mini-documentaries on recently launched and upcoming games.
Useful as it may be, it's easy to dismiss that kind of stuff as essentially advertising - but the other features of the channel are what make this into a worthwhile download.
First up, there's the ability to download game demos for your Nintendo DS, which you can grab over DS Download Play and then continue to play until such time as the DS is turned off (which will, of course, wipe the demo from memory). DS demos have been available from Wi-Fi hotspots in Japan for ages, so having this system for them for Wii owners seems like a good idea to us.
Secondly, the channel will also incorporate the ability to recommend games you've played, and view other players' recommendations. Helpfully, the system keeps track of your gender and age, and whether you reckon the game is a solo or multiplayer experience, as well as your rating - so you'll be able to see at a glance what kind of gamers it appeals to, rather than just a simple star rating.
Our favourite part of the recommendation system, however, is that it ties in with the Wii's ability to track how long you've spent playing a game. Until you've clocked up an hour in the game, you won't be able to rate it - a brilliant idea which should hopefully prevent the usual suspects from giving five-star and one-star ratings to games that aren't even out yet. You know who you are.
To get hold of the Nintendo Channel, you'll need to download it for free from the Wii Shop Channel tomorrow. Or any day after tomorrow, of course.