Forecast Channel

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The Forecast Channel was a channel built in with the Wii console that lets you view the weather in cities around the world. You are not only be able to view the weather for the current day, but for the next 7 days as well. Once you press the Forecast Channel icon, you will be brought to a view of a virtual earth (provided by NASA [1]) where you will be able to rotate and move to let you choose which region you want to view.


The Forecast Channel makes use of WiiConnect24 to constantly receive weather updates from around the world to your Wii console. Weather for virtually every major city in the world can be viewed from the Forecast Channel. Information that the user can view includes the temperature for the day, the weather condition, an ultraviolet index, and a five day forecast. The Japanese version exclusively has a laundry index, which doesn't exist outside of that country.

There are several select games that make use of the Forecast Channel to alter in-game conditions. For example, if in the player's city it is raining, it'll be raining in the game. Games that make use of this feature include NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams and Madden NFL 07.

FC sun world
FC sun Japan
Means that the day will be sunny. In Japan the emblem looks like a red sun with yellow spikes while in the rest of the world it looks more photorealistic.
FC cloud world
FC cloud Japan
Today will be cloudy with no rain. The Japanese version looks more like a cartoon as opposed to the photorealistic version of the overseas version.
FC rain world
FC rain Japan
Today will be raining. The Japanese version is an umbrella while the overseas version is a dark cloud with rain falling down.


Most of the team from the News Channel reunited to create the Forecast Channel. Since the current weather is easily accessible on various outlets such as online, on the television and in newspapers, the team had to create an interface completely unique to the Wii, which resulted in the creation of the globe. At first the globe they created simply looked like one that a user could find on the internet, so after a revision it became more similar to what one would find on TV. Unlike the News Channel, with which its content is provided by many outlets, the Forecast Channel was easier to develop due to only have one source of information.

FC globe

The globe. Visible are parts of Africa, Europe and Asia.

The developers felt that, since the condition of weather isn't something to joke around with, they wouldn't insert too many silly elements, but did add a few such as the ability to spin the globe by holding on to it and flicking the Wii Remote. When it came to placing names on the globe, they generally looked at regular globes and put all the names that were on them on their own Earth. Various countries around the world then requested that their country also be placed on it. The amount of city names you see on a globe generally depend on where you're from. For example, if you live in North America, you'll be able to see many more cities in countries such as the United States and Canada than people in the United Kingdom and Japan would be able to see. Interestingly, the details of the Earth on the surface were provided by NASA.

When developing the Forecast Channel, the team involved were surprised to see the cultural differences when it came to weather information, and thus they had to appropriately alter the channel to accommodate those living in different countries. One of the major ones was requested by Nintendo of America, who stated that the current weather condition should be displayed on the start up window when the player presses the channel. The Japanese developers weren't exactly sure why this was a necessity since it would be just as easy to look outside, but NoA insisted and thus this feature is included in the American and European edition of the channel.

Another problem they encountered was creating icons that represented the various weather conditions. In Japan there are a set of icons that are universally understood in that country, though they wouldn't be as easily recognized overseas. In Japan, a sunny day is symbolized by a red sun with yellow spikes, a cloudy day is represented by a cartoon-looking cloud, and rain is represented by an umbrella. They reportedly were surprised when they received documents from America and Europe stating that these are not as easily understood, and requested that they change them for the overseas version. For the overseas version, the weather icons are photorealistic. It was also requested overseas that they created icons representing a combination of the various different weather conditions, which is not available in Japan. Nintendo of Europe also required that they create various different icons for hail, sleet, and graupel (soft hail).


The Japanese version of the channel.

Something interesting occurred during development of the channel when Nintendo of America contacted NCL requested they also insert an icon for a thunderstorm. In Japan, this isn't something that occurs often. Says one of the developers:

"What was memorable was the thunderstorm icon requested by NOA (Nintendo of America). It's a storm that's accompanied with thunder, which was a little hard for us to understand because here in Japan, we don't see the weather where it's only thunder. Thunders are usually mentioned in addition to when it rains, as if it's going to rain with occasional thunders. So I didn't think a weather icon just for thunder was necessary, but it seemed like a thunderstorm was different from a regular thunder, and as I was wondering what the difference was, they kept insisting that it was very important for this to go in."

When they were in contact with Nintendo of America about the situation, a large storm actually hit Seattle (where NoA is located) and took out all of the power in the region. In Japan they were confused as to why they weren't receiving replies to their messages, but someone sent them an e-mail, explaining the situation and that once their battery runs out they wouldn't be able to send any more mail. The development team didn't understand why it was that much of a big deal, but later found out how big of a deal it was via the News Channel which they had developed. A similar storm occurred in Germany, which resulted in the lost of contact with Nintendo of Europe.

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