Three things the Wii needs:
(1) An exclusive interactive puzzle game like Tetris or Bejeweled, that fully utilizes the control system, involves a single or multiple players, and has a strong Internet component (most likely regular content refresh and online multiplayer).
(2) Streaming content service (music, TV, movies). Most likely partners here would be Amazon Unbox or Google (would have said Apple, but the AppleTV sorta crushes that idea). Let's lump DVD playback into this as well.
(3) A true Indie Games download service (not Virtual Console). Some Nintendo quality control of course, but a wide variety of content for all ages - backed up by a quality development kit/guidelines and indie developer network.
Why do I say the Wii needs a puzzle game? Well, there is historical precedent that an exclusive, high quality puzzle game can help to drive a technologically constrained platform versus technologically superior competitors (gameboy+tetris...). In the case of the Wii, an addictive puzzle game that incorporates all of the Wii's controller features might prove the 'evergreen' title that maintains Wii usage. Specifically during periods when there is a drought of new games.
It is IMPORTANT that the Wii purchaser play the console several times a month to maintain critical mindshare. This reduces the odds (for the casual game player at least) that they will purchase another console which they perceive as an 'upgrade,' or move on to other pursuits with their entertainment dollars.
I do not take lightly the difficulty of coming up with a new and ORIGINAL puzzle game on the same level as Tetris or Bejeweled. But in addition to focusing on massive world games (Mario/Zelda/Metroid) and minigame collections (Mario Party), Nintendo should be seeking out or internally developing the Tetris for this generation.
It has been said many times that the Wii is NOT a media center. It's a game system. So why should the Wii have any nongame functionality? Well, because the Wii is not really a game machine. Its an entertainment platform. We advanced beyond simple game machines with the latest round of Internet-connected consoles and I doubt we'll ever go back to single function again.
Its in Nintendo's best interest to provide content that reinforces persistent Wii usage and reinforces brand loyalty. This has historically been games. But in the future this will most likely grow to include rich content, such as a streaming Pokemon channel for Pokemon game lovers. Or low-bandwidth cartoon content branded to other Nintendo franchises. The next obvious step would be to partner with a content provider that has access to mainstream movies, TV shows, radio broadcasts, and other mainstream content.
While the Opera Web browser does provide access to much of this content for experienced users, there is no assurance that this 'wild Web' of content will be compatible with the Wii. Thus Nintendo needs to take steps to package a non-game audiovisual experience for its less resourceful customers.
There is a big market for streaming Pokemon. There is a big market for streaming Anime. There is a big market for streaming movies/TV shows at SD resolution. And while much of this content can be captured via Youtube or bootleg download sites, casual users will embrace, and more importantly PAY FOR an easier and more direct solution.
Should Nintendo spend a ton of money in this area? For Pokemon, and other brand-building content, yes. For music/TV/movies, they should simply make partnerships with the Top 5 Web-based media stores to have them format areas specifically for Wii usage. Of course, major partners would get a dedicated Wii channel. ;-)
The casual games and indie games scene is for the most part, a Microsoft scene (or Adobe Flash scene). There are indie developers who branch into consoles, and who also produce for retro systems, mobile systems, exotic hardware, Linux and the Mac, but these are far less in number than those who make PC games. And we all know PC games mean Windows, which means Windows coding tools, which lately has begun to mean XNA and "headstart on coding for Xbox 360..."
If Nintendo is to capture any of the vitality and energy of the Indie game scene, they will need to put major effort into developing tools, education, communication, and distribution to support indie developers.
Nintendo has historically produced closed boxes, which doesn't necessarily enable 'outsiders.' And Indies are true outsiders. Perhaps a significantly different breed than developers who normally apply for Nintendo Platform Developer status (and the even smaller fraction who actually make it through and get support from Nintendo). So there seems to be no precedent for what to expect from Nintendo in this regard. However, Nintendo needs to make a sandbox that allows open development which fully supports the Wii controller. It is the ONLY way to take momentum away from Microsoft.
Right now, the only way for an uncertified developer to make games for the Wii is to use Flash. But in the long-term, the Flash game model just won't cut it (no support for advanced controller functionality other than point-and-click). This could be circumvented by an Opera browser hook and an extension to Flash which allows full access to the Wii controller. It also might mean a software sandbox similar to the Java model, which allows Indie games to crash without tanking the whole system. Well, the Wii is billed as a game console, so I guess rebooting isn't that bad...
The alternative would be to make an effort similar to the one Microsoft is making with its massive push with XNA. But frankly, Nintendo does not have the experience to even attempt this, and they shouldn't. Rolling out software and supporting large numbers of developers is a Microsoft strongpoint. Nintendo can save a tremendous amount of time and money by simply providing Adobe Flash with the ability to fully utilize the Wii controller and perhaps force the Opera browser into a fullscreen mode. The Indies will do the rest
While this effort would certainly cannibalize a noticeable percentage of 'minigame collection' and 'craptastic' game sales for the Wii platform, quality games would most likely be largely unaffected. Nintendo could turn the Wii controller system hooks into a revenue generator, either by making the extension package "for-sale" on the developer end. Or by making the consumer pay for a new channel which features an open assortment of rated Indie Flash games. These games would be different from regular Flash games in that they offered true support for the Wii controller, and perhaps a bit of Nintendo Q/A department polish. Monthly subscription or 'per game purchase' similar to the Virtual Console.
OK, time for comments. But keep it constructive and positive please. ;-)