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Wii to have instant messaging?

New patent suggests so.

Nintendo has filed a new patent which suggests that you'll be able to chat to other Wii owners via some an instant messaging program.

The patent is for a "Messaging service for videogame systems with buddy list that displays game being played.

"Each game system is configured to connect to the web server computer via the Internet and to communicate status data indicative of an activity engaged in by a user thereof. The web server computer generates a session file indicative of user status and the status of each of two or more persons on a buddy list of the user." In other words, you'd be able to see which of your friends are online, and what they're playing - just like with Xbox Live.

The patent also suggests you'll be able to build up a gamer profile, entering personal details as well as high scores and a list of your favourite games. Avatars will be constructed from various elements - so you can choose from a selection of eyes, ears, facial hair etc. Alternatively, you can upload a picture of yourself.

It seems you'll be able to chat using an on-screen keyboard or microphone, with all sorts of options to block people, change alerts and that sort of thing. The patent also hints that a portable console might make use of the technology - we're assuming that means the DS.

Since this is a patent, there's no guarantee that all of the features mentioned above will make it into the final product - but it's certainly an indication that Nintendo's thinking about them.