Nintendo has officially announced the new Wii Speak accessory and Wii Speak Channel to launch for Wii across Europe on 5 December 2008.

Wii Speak enables people to connect to and communicate with friends using the free-to-use Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection in a way that is described as "very socially inclusive".

Wii Speak can be connected directly to the console and pick up the conversations from a room of people, meaning friends and families can all get involved in conversations, sharing gaming and social experiences together.

The new Wii Speak Channel, accessed from the Wii's main menu, allows up to four console users - who can be anywhere in the world - to connect together to chat, or to share pictures and text messages at no extra cost.

Once connected, the Wii Speak Channel displays users’ Miis to represent them on-screen during their conversations. When players are talking to each other, their Miis also "talk" to match the sound that is being picked up by the Wii Speak accessory.

Also due to compatible with games, at the moment it's just "Animal Crossing: Let's Go to the City", which will be offered bundled with the microphone, but more are promised.