Listen, I'm fine with people using their consoles like computers. After all, we keep them stocked with apps and utilities just like any of our other computing devices. But I'm not exactly sure why Nintendo and Google have teamed up to bring Google Maps to the Wii U.
Think about it. The Wii U doesn't support a printer, and the console itself doesn't contain a GPS, so a mapping application seems a little ridiculous. What are we supposed to do once we've found our desired location? Memorize the route? I was done memorizing things after I graduated from college.
I suppose I could call my wife on the phone to have her look up directions and then systematically read them off while I'm driving. That sounds super efficient and fun.
Obviously the Wii U doesn't need a Google maps app, so the real question is why did Google make it?
Google loves to broaden its reach and the fact that they understand the Wii U environment enough to roll out a mapping application means that they're taking it seriously. They also have their hands in several parallel markets, including their digital distribution service Google Play. So, some kind of crossover application could be on the horizon.
However, there's probably very little chance that Google is planning to port Play over to the Wii U, considering that it's intended for Android users. But Nintendo's latest console does offer some interesting opportunities for clever developers. And Google has always had an overabundance of cleverness.
On the other hand, Google Maps could just be a one-off app that Google was messing around with. But if that's the case, I take back my cleverness compliment.
Do you think Google has something else up its sleeve?
Date: December 5, 2012