Nintendo Sings Browser Duet With Opera

Opera Software on Wednesday announced plans to bring a Web revolution to the living room. The Norway-based browser developer intends to do this through a partnership with Nintendo.

Specifically, Opera is putting its browser on Nintendo’s much-anticipated new generation Wii console. Wii users can browse the Internet between gaming sessions using what analysts call one of the most innovative browsers on the market.

“Nintendo is clearly visionary in leading the gaming industry into the new era in gaming, and a wonderful partner for Opera,” says Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software. “We are thrilled to expand our partnership with Nintendo, and work with them to deliver the best gaming experience on the Wii console and the Nintendo DS.”

Gamer Visibility

As von Tetzchner mentioned, this is not the first time the two companies have worked together. Opera and Nintendo announced their partnership to deliver the full Opera browser for the Nintendo DS in February. Working its way into Wii is a natural step.

“This is certainly a great medium for Opera to get some gamer visibility,” Current Analysis Senior Analyst Brad Akyuz told TechNewsWorld. Akyuz noted that Opera is already big in the mobile space, but one of its biggest limitations is its lack of exposure in the mass consumer market.

“As a consumer if you want to get the Opera browser on your phone you would have to download it manually rather than a manufacturer licensing it and pre-loading it onto a device,” Akyuz said. “Nintendo users will get it on their devices pre-loaded.”

Microsoft’s World

Should Microsoft be worried? Yes and no. Its IE is still the market dominant browser. With Internet Explorer 7 coming out complete with a cadre of user benefits, Microsoft is ramping up to grab market share back from competing browsers.

However, Microsoft does not have the same market dominance beyond the desktop. That means the more places Opera can put its browser outside the realm of the PC, the better off it is, according to JupiterResearch analyst Joe Wilcox said.

“Microsoft may own the desktop, but it doesn’t own everything else and it’s the everything else that’s the future,” Wilcox told TechNewsWorld. “The desktop is going to remain important, but other classes of devices will become important as well. Opera getting in there on cell phones, Wii and other devices is a good move.”

Praise for Opera

Opera has long been praised for its ability to innovate. Indeed, browser innovation in recent years can often be traced back to Opera’s research and development lab. Nintendo isn’t taking much risk by incorporating the software into its upcoming console, analysts said.

“For our Wii console launch in 2006, we required a browser that was fast and secure with support for the latest standards including AJAX. Opera proved perfect for our purposes and is an exceptional addition to both the Nintendo DS and the Wii console,” said Genyo Takeda, senior managing director and general manager, Integrated Research & Development Division at Nintendo.

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