I'm concerned this recent threshold news is generating an artificially negative wave of press. The spirit of the threshold was never to screw the developer - it was, as far as I can tell, a quality control mechanism to prevent the service from getting overrun with a bunch of crappy games.
Once the threshold is crossed, the developer is retroactively paid for every single unit sold below the threshold. I know there has been confusion on that point in the past.
From the stats I've seen and heard developers report, the threshold is easily surpassed within the first day, or at least the first week, for many games.
I hear rumours within the dev community that Nintendo recognises a problem here, where occasionally an entirely legitimate game just doesn't make it, and is looking for a way to make exceptions, to ensure small devs are paid even if the threshold is not reached. Just rumours though, so who knows.
I just fear this is one of those things that sounds a lot more evil than it actually is.
If the intention really is to cut down on ‘crappy’ games then perhaps the bright sparks at Nintendo should judge a game by the Metacritic weighted average rather than place so much faith in the buying habits of WiiWare consumers? After all history has shown us time and time again that not all innovative, quality games manage to generate the sales expected – why should this be any different on WiiWare?
This is a flagrantly unfair policy that punishes earnest indie developers who have often made great personal sacrifices to release their wares on the WiiWare service. In most cases Nintendo are not helping to market the games and there is no way to demo WiiWare games before buying. Who could blame these developers who get stung by this for jumping ship and taking their talent to XBLA or PSN instead?