News Article

WiiWare - Brand new downloadable games for 2008

Posted by Damien McFerran

Not to be outdone by Microsoft's XBOX Live Arcade service our friends at Nintendo have announced they want a slice of the action in an announcement made this morning. The WiiWare game creation service looks like it will be a much less rigorous system than Microsoft's offering.

This looks to be fantastic news, but here at the VCA we can't help but feel that Nintendo are playing catch-up with MS. The Live Arcade service already offers what Nintendo is promising with the WiiWare concept. Time will tell if Nintendo can nuture even better experiences out of developers than MS have done thus far, but in the meantime it marks a pretty significant move in the life of the Virtual Console. How developers will deal with the tiny storage space of the Wii remains to be seen - perhaps the rumours of a Wii hard drive aren't so far-fetched after all?

Here's the press release, right from the horse's mouth, as it were:

NINTENDO'S WIIWARE PAVES THE WAY FOR FRESH GAMES, COOL CONSUMER EXPERIENCES

Nintendo Sets a New Paradigm: One Game Can Still Make a Difference

SANTA MONICA, Calif., June 27, 2007 - The search for the next ingeniously ground-breaking video game has begun. At a private developers conference this week, Nintendo announced the introduction of WiiWare, a game-creation service that will allow developers large and small to create new downloadable video game content for sale by Nintendo through the Wii Shop Channel of the hot Wii home video game system. WiiWare paves the way for smaller, more creative games to make their way to the public at lower prices, without any inventory risk to developers. The first WiiWare content will launch in early 2008.

"Independent developers armed with small budgets and big ideas will be able to get their original games into the marketplace to see if we can find the next smash hit," says Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. "WiiWare brings new levels of creativity and value to the ever-growing population of Wii owners."

The possibilities for WiiWare are limited only by the imaginations of developers. WiiWare provides game creators a simple method by which they can get their games to the public. This approach, combined with the remarkable motion controls of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, will give birth to fresh takes on established genres, as well as original ideas that currently exist only in developers' minds. The reduced barriers to development provide developers the freedom to create and an inexpensive, clearly defined path to reach consumers who will ultimately determine which game will become the Next Big Thing.

WiiWare will be posted on the Wii Shop Channel. As with current Wii Shop Channel offerings, users will redeem Wii Points to download content. It will support a variety of pricing options. Details about that and upcoming projects will be announced at a later date. For more information about Wii, visit Wii.com.

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User Comments (25)

#1

said:

Awsome News! :D (Hope this is the first post!)

Looking forward to create some games!

__Ultima

#3

Ultima said:

Can't wait for this. Seriously... I really hope they don't use some crappy language or "auto-creation" tool for it though. Sure, a scripting type thing could make it easier but allowing programmers to use something like C++ would be awesome.

__yeehaw

#4

yeehaw said:

WOW! Seriously, this is great news. I would absolutely love to play some original games for the Wii, that you can just download from the Wii Shop Channel (HOPING VERY HARD that Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD will be downloadable). I'm not so sure how they're going to handle the Wii's built-in memory problem (cause it's tiny and all), but they'll think of a solution.

And one last thingie.. welsh warrior is talking about creating your own games!? I thought it was just for downloading. I don't think Nintendo is going to let us gamers create games or something like that (even though that would kick butt xD).

BJ1

#6

BJ1 said:

Maybe we could get some downloadable content for our current and future Wii games, like Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Metroid Prime 3, Pokemon Battle Revolution, and Sonic and the Secret Rings. A hard mode would also be cool to download.

__Mark

#7

Mark said:

Reminds me of the RPG Maker series! I was so addicted to that! What kind of games would you guys make? :P

__Tennant

#9

Tennant said:

Sounds great. I can't wait to see what Indie devs can come up with the Wiimote.

Bass_X0

#10

Bass_X0 said:

i want these kind of games to be able to recieve more content even after the gamer has downloaded them. like we download the game then a few weeks later, more levels/characters/attacks/storyline is made available to download.

isn't something like that already possible on X-Box 360 or PS3? i don't know.

eltomo

#11

eltomo said:

Something else to look forward to on update day =)

Wish I was smart enough to make my own games =(

__grayOlorin

#12

grayOlorin said:

it is similar to what MS offers, but they lack the Wiimote ;) I think that makes it unique enough. Maybe we can get more minigames like Wiisports or Wiiplay but downloadable

Spore

#14

Spore said:

The only problem is, this service will pretty much be indefinitely inferior to Sony's and Microsoft's networks simply because developers are going to only have so much room to make a game. Downloading roms from the VC onto the Wii is one thing, but downloading a custom game with presumably modern graphics and play will be a very large chunk of memory (well, for a 512 megabyte hard drive). Until Nintendo "fixes" (yes I use the word fix here because to have so little memory these days in a console is crazy) the memory problem then this won't be able to compare with the competition. We will get more memory or teeny games. Should be nice to see what people can come up with though.

__PumpkinPieman

#15

PumpkinPieman said:

You guys are blowing this out of proportion, this isn't for the garage developer. This is for small development teams, even ones created by larger companies. The dev kits are already as low as they can be ($2000), but they don't offer them to everyone.

__beefy

#16

beefy said:

i agree with PumpkinPieman. i dont think nintendo is just going to let anyone make a game. and i like the rpg maker series too.

i8cookie

#17

i8cookie said:

they'll prob put size limit on games. i wouldnt be surprised if they make it possible to play games straight from SD or let you plug in an external HD, i think the external usb hard drive would be the best option. lots of people have them now.

Pj1

#18

Pj1 said:

It sounds good!!!!!! But I hope that they don't kill off the VC, the VC library of retro games is one of the reasons I bought a Wii. in fact i got 2!

Mega_X_Gundam

#19

Mega_X_Gundam said:

looks to be very cool. I know IGN.com was working on a game for this thing so that looks to be a sweet start for it. can't wait to see what come out on it.

__Steve

#20

Steve said:

@Paul: They'd be idiots to discontinue the VC. I'm sure they're raking in money hand over fist right now.

Just thing... NO development time NO manufacturing/publishing costs NO retail cut. They probably never thought they'd be making money on the sales of Super Mario Bros. over 20 years after its release!

Starwolf_UK

#21

Starwolf_UK said:

For anyone having hopes of games. Don't forget they need rating from local ratings baord.

So for America that means the ESRB. Euopre that means PEGI and Japan means CERO...from what I can tell none of these are free.

I geuss this could be a reason why we don't see so many 3rd party games on the VC...

Kelvin

#22

Kelvin said:

I'm really looking forward to this. Hopefully we'll see stuff like Alien Hominid and Sam and Max, and some of the board games that have appeared on XBL, or maybe we'll even see a version of Cave Story!

__PumpkinPieman

#23

PumpkinPieman said:

The xbox has the same issue in the respect to publishing. Sure, anyone can pick up the XNA framework and develop on both PC and the xbox. But your game would have to be something incredible in order to get any recognition. (ex geometry wars)

But lets hope that Nintendo will have the smarts to release an SDK and compiler so they can test their games on PC and compile them for the Wii. Even if the SDK only featured a library for N64. I would still use it in a heart beat.

__grayOlorin

#24

grayOlorin said:

kelvingreen - I heard they already ported the scumm engine to the Wii :) so you will probanly see a LOT more than sam and max (think dott!)

Ender

#25

Ender said:

This is great news for gamers all over the world. Nintendo has always been better at developing new ways of getting games out to the market and this will be no different. I have no doubt that WiiWare will be much better than Microsoft's Xbox Live's Arcade.

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