News Article

WiiWare Needs More Exposure, Says Former XBLA Manager

Posted by Damien McFerran

Also states that Nintendo's service needs demos and user ratings

Speaking at the Digital Distribution Summit in Melbourne, Australia, Fuzbi's David Edery has touched upon the problems facing Nintendo's WiiWare service, as well as discussing the issues that affect all three of the major digital download services - Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and WiiWare.

Edery - who used to be XBLA Portfolio Manager at Microsoft before setting off on his own to run consultancy Fuzbi - has attacked Nintendo's service for being "buried in the Wii dashboard" and failing to offer demo versions of games or user rating systems.

However, he did mention that of all the services, WiiWare seems to be the easiest for developers to get approval on, stating that Sony and Microsoft's portals make it harder for small companies to get their games out there.

You can check out the full post over at Gamasutra.


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User Comments (60)



Digiki said:

This is Nintendo. Why should we use methods that make people happy and make us money, when we can do it without making gamers happy?



Philip_J_Reed said:

I agree with him, without question. I don't personally download demos, but I respect that they're very useful. And the user-ratings feature REALLY needs implementation.



SanderEvers said:

They (Nintendo) should contact Team Twiizer to make the Homebrew channel an official channel instead of removing it.



blackknight77 said:

Demos are a tricky thing. Many companies would lose potential downloads after people try them, others will find a new audience. One feature I would like to see implemented is allowing friends and other to view each others collection and favorites via the Nintendo channel. This idea was proposed on the IGN podcast, if you have friends who have their Wii online you can view thier personal favorite games or how much time they have spent playing them. It may encourage other to play what their friends have.



Kirk said:

I totally agree that it needs demos, user ratings, and more exposure. It also needs to have better images and videos of the games on the buy/info pages too.

The service has so much potential but right now it is actually pretty crap.



skywake said:

Isn't a user rating system already implemented via the Nintendo Channel? I agree that its way too hidden (just like WiiWare itself) but it does exist. If they implemented it into the Wii Shop itself and pushed "popular" titles to the Wii Menu it would pretty much null these complaints.

oh, and I don't think demos are absolutely necessary. User ratings and a gameplay video (oh, hi Nintendo Channel) would be more than enough if they were more visible and more games had them.



Devil_Hunter_Dante said:

Maybe because I do not own a 360 or PS3 I miss out on a lot of online features. But, I am pretty happy overall with the current way things are. I do wished we could get another channel thats worth something to use. On the same hand maybe if they redid these services I would know what I have been missing



Dazza said:

Just look at the iTunes app store for how digital distribution should be done. User ratings, price drops and genius recommendations wouldbe great on Wii Shop.

I agree that the channel is buried too, on 360 dashboard setup you can't miss the new XBLA releases even if you wanted to



bro2dragons said:

isn't this exactly what we've all been saying on the forums for quite some time? that really should be in the next system update.



Sean_Aaron said:

Short of a total front-end redesign I don't see how Nintendo could easily put WiiWare in users faces. I mean it's in the Shop Channel; if you don't launch the shop channel there's not much that can be done is there? I suppose instead of a generic Shop Channel they could have a separate Virtual Console Channel and WiiWare Channel (Nintendo could just rebrand Internet Channel et al as WiiWare and stick it under this category) -- actually that's not a bad idea!



Djungelurban said:

Yes, yes and yes! Smart guy that one!

Don't see how demos making some developers lose sales would be a bad thing. That obviously just means that the game wasn't very good and we don't want bad games to do well anyway. And also, like you said, others would most likely get more sales, the good ones, which is a good thing. All in all, demos are a win-win situation for everyone. Well, except for Nintendo's bandwidth costs.



Machu said:

Don't know what the fuss is about, I've never had any trouble finding stuff if I want it. Saying that, I am surprised Nintendo don't shove it in the casual's faces a bit more. Why not just release a wii-message from Nintendo detailing each weeks new releases with a link to the shop, the blue light should be enough to get their attention, in theory.

As for demo's I'm not convinced, they take time and money, and may not represent the final product. I see there will be no demo for CoD:MW2, the developer's themselves saying they'd rather concentrate on finishing the game.

A star-rating (outside the Nintendo Channel) is a must though, so those people who don't read reviews can avoid the dross.



guttertalk said:

@buried WiiWare: I like that the Wii menu is a far easier UI to navigate than the 360, but Nintendo should do a couple things:
1.) Create a channel that highlights features, such as Wiiware and online gaming. MS has the Xbox 101 channels, which I think the Wii could use. It's for highlighting and demoing features, not particular games.
2) Allow users to create channels with more granularity, for example, a channel that lists Wiiware or VC games. Nintendo doesn't force the granularity or clutter on gamers, but they can chose it.
3) Create a game highlight channel. I know there's the Nintendo Channel with the videos, but if some feel that is truly too buried, then create a channel that highlights the Wiiware for that week.

Frankly, I don't think Wiiware is that buried: You click on the Nintendo Channel or the Shop Channel, and within a couple of clicks, you're purchasing a game. NXE is in your face with the games, which I find extremely annoying and cluttered. The Wii is more of a pull (more customer friendly) while the 360 is more of a push (more dev friendly).

@demos: About a year and a half ago, there was research that showed that gamers were less likely to buy a game based on a demo than a video. You as a gamer might like demos, but from a business perspective, they're not that great a return.



blackknight77 said:

I think the Wii Shop Channel should have a direct link to Nintendo Life for reviews

I mean this is were I learn about all of the download news. Another suggestion I have is removing World of Goo and Super Mario 3 off the main page and highlighting some other games. I mean there are 4 spots and only two new games get highlighted. That should change by now



calculon said:

Let me know about demos and ratings when there's more than six games worth putting ratings in for okay?



guttertalk said:

@manchu: I like the Wii message idea, especially with the blue light. It'd be great if the mail provided links directly to the game in the Wii shop, but as someone said above, a lot of our suggestions would require a real rework of the Wii Shop channel.

If they want to be more in your face, they could have a splash screen at startup that highlights new games. Annoying but hardly uncommon to online users.
I like the Wii Menu, but I do wish we could customize it more--make the icons smaller, change the colors or wallpaper, add sounds/music.



Hardy83 said:

This guy is right because everyone has been saying this for years now. 3 years to be exact.



The_Fox said:

There is no excuse for Nintendo not to offer demos of Wiiware titles (i'd like to see demos of VC titles as well, but that might be trickier). Just one of those reasons as to why Nintendo has the worst online setup of all of the consoles.



Ryuuga said:

@19: maybe not that tricky to offer VC demos, since they did that in Smash Bros Brawl. And I agree with you, there's no excuse for Nintendo, they should offer demos of WiiShop products. It would be really helpful and would avoid a lot of frustration, since anyone could check the product before spending points on it.



Knux said:

Yes I agree, we certainly need demos. It can be done, but Nintendo is too lazy and does not care.



Omega said:

I like the Wii system how it is now. Nothing is thrown in your face. Everything that is annoying because it has to do with advertising is contained in the Nintendo Channel and Shopping Channel. I think it's just right the way it is. Simple to use and the advertising is not too obtrusive.

Maybe it would be nice if they add demos. But this is of course a lot of work and costs money. I can live without demos because I always get an idea of what the games are by reading various reviews. Sometimes I even go to NintendoLife.



Hardy83 said:

I wouldn't be in your face is when you're browsing WiiWare games you have the option to "Download, Gift, Demo"



odd69 said:

If Nintendo gave us demo's i assure you, people would buy more retail games. Sony even gives us demo's for Downloadable titles. I find this most helpful and why i love the PSN and continue to support it a tad bit more.But i can see how it isn't good because some games just suck and a demo sometimes just doesn't do the game justice, which of course mean a no sale. At the same time, demos have made me buy a product. Nintendo should release periodical demos so we can all try games for a limited time atleast.



Omega said:

@Hardy83 (23): Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. If they add the demos to the existing Shopping channel with only one additional button it wouldn't be too confusing.



wichdog said:

I agree that wiiware needs more exposure but things are not all bad. I personally like the way the shop channel is set up. a rating system (in the shop channel) would be cool though. Also videos (again, in shop channel). As far as demos go, before I got my 360 I thought they would be cool but I personally don't like them. The shop channel needs changes for sure, but I don't think it needs a massive overhaul. Maybe if they integrated the shop channel with the nintendo channel, you could watch your vids and buy you games all in one place. the rating system is already in place. makes sense to me.



JimLad said:

They know people will run out of memory and complain.
Not the ones who have already complained mind, the surge of new customers it will bring will start asking the same questions we've been asking for years now.



Ren said:

doesn't need demos. Demos would actually kill a lot of sales since even some good games can't be captured right in a quick minute. The games are already cheap buys (retail game demos I could understand but not WW or VC) Maybe better pics or short videos on the info screen itself (not only in the nintendo channel). The message idea is all it needs, otherwise once you know it's there it's not hard to find.
Overall it's a nice design, can't really get anymore visible as Sean said.
Nintendo just needs to be better with real world advertising for it and incentives. Give away 600 points at the hollidays to get new users on and hooked, pack 800 with the system when you get it and splash it all over the packaging as FREE!, even release a few handy free "apps" as WiiWare games to get people in there then they'll never leave.
They just don't seem to see the potential of the casuals as download consumers; they'll buy anything thats looks like white plastic, or says "green" on it once you get them in the door. I don't get why they think they need to only release big things like WiiFit to hold their interest.



blank_user_1 said:

More than demos, I think, do we need user ratings. The Wii Shop Channel is crippled without some way to distinguish the best games. I perused the catalog for Wiiware yesterday, which I did while checking reviews on Nintendolife, but what about the Virtual Console? It's flooded with games; it really has too many to simply navigate through by looking at screenshots.



primeris said:

The shop channel is just about broken. I download WiiWare and Virtual Console stuff all the time, and it's a nightmare. The little loading circle just bugs me. I have to see that thing for at least 10 seconds every time I click on anything. I mean, my connection occasionally sucks, BUT the Internet channel works smoothly. REMODEL YOUR STORE, NINTENDO!



mjc0961 said:

He's half right. They need demos. A rating system is useless though so why bother. Oooh, this game is 4 stars? What does that even mean? I'll tell you: nothing. You want to know if you'll like a game, you need a review that talks about the game. Not some stupid thing that goes "lol 4/5 lol" at you.



Dawnclaude said:

the shop need bigger screenshots. All games look like pong on those 16x16 pixel pictures.



anthonyb said:

I completely agree with Dazza above. And personally I've been sold on many games by playing the demo. Wii needs a more intimate system, right now everything's clunky, impersonal, and a pain to navigate.



Stuffgamer1 said:

That idea about messages actually exists already...but it too is well hidden. You have to opt in for promotional messages on the Nintendo Channel. If you even HAVE the Nintendo Channel, you really don't need to be made aware of the Wii Shop Channel.

The real problem here isn't the layout of the Shop Channel, but simply the fact that people don't know it's there! They don't click around the menus because they don't see the point in browsing when they only want the thing for one purpose: Playing retail games. Sad, but true.

I hear new Wii's come pre-loaded with a special intro video that includes Shop Channel talk. But does it make you watch it when you first turn it on? If not, a lot of people probably don't even realize it's there for the same reasons mentioned above.



nf_2 said:

He is right. Not sure if demos are actually possible, but user ratings would be nice (only if people who have downloaded the game can review though).



Philip_J_Reed said:

"A rating system is useless though so why bother. Oooh, this game is 4 stars? What does that even mean? I'll tell you: nothing. You want to know if you'll like a game, you need a review that talks about the game. Not some stupid thing that goes "lol 4/5 lol" at you."

Player reviews would be nice, but people are a lot less likely to punch a well-thought-out review into their Wii (especially via the dreadful onscreen keyboard) then they are to click a star rating.

I agree that a single rating of 4/5 tells you nothing, but don't you think that if you saw a game had an average rating of 1/5 or 2/5 you'd do your homework before you wasted your points on it? I know I sure would.



V8_Ninja said:

Demo's would be cool, and they seem possible, since a Wii channel takes up an INSANELY small amount of memory. But it's not gonna happen...(sigh)...



BulbasaurusRex said:

I'd really like to see WiiWare demos.

The best way to get more exposure for WiiWare games is with TV commercials. I understand that most WiiWare developers don't have the money for it, but some might be able to do low-budget ones, and Nintendo could easily do it for their first party WiiWare games. If nothing else, Nintendo needs to make TV commericials for the Virtual Console and WiiWare in general. There's lots of TV commericials for video games, some of them for lousy ones, but Nintendo has dropped the ball by refusing to advertise one of the Wii's best features on the most widely seen form of advertisement.



IAmNotWill said:

I agree. I could have alot more games in my collection if demo's were in the picture (retail, wiiware, and vc.) Sure, it could mean less sales, but only to the really crappy games. And vice wersa with the good ones. They also need to make larger screenshots (more than 2 shots would be nice) with a couple of videos to watch. (trailer, how to play, etc.). And newest games on the front page (world of goo has been on there for ages) with price cuts, sales, deals and whatnot. And when searching for games they could atleast put "highest rated games" as a search option. Wiiware and VC doesn't suck, its the actual service.



SKTTR said:

I don't need demos and the rating system is there already...

But more screenshots (and in higher resolution) or a video in the Wii Shop Channel is enough to know if I like a game or not.



Ren said:

yup, it's really just real world advertising for the service itself that lacks the most. Demos are a pipe dream and way overkill for stuff thats already usually 10 bucks and under. A single TV commercial that says "hundreds of original games that you can download onto your Wii for as low as 5 bucks only through the Wii shop channel! If you've already got a Wii, head to the Wii shop for the best deals on new original games without even leaving your house!" it's cheesy, but come on it's a no-brainer. One TV ad like that would about double their sales in a couple months with all the parents, cheapskates and casuals that would flock there.



There's already an user-rating method.
and demos are overrated.
wiiware needs better games. and keep blaming nintendo because companies are spoiled babies that don't want to use their brain is getting old.



HOT-ROD said:

What needs to be done is incorporate the shop channel with the dashboard. It would be nice to see what updates are available from the get-go. I love getting on my 360 to see a whole bunch of games advertised. I think Live is amazing for getting games out there. After week 1 on wiiware, those games get buried with every other wiiware game. It's a huge downer.
It makes no difference to me, honestly. I use this site to look up my games, but to the average wii user, it would be nice to see what is new right when the system is turned on.



Curt said:

The XBLA titles and PSN titles are shown to you on the dashboard, so why not the WiiWare titles?



Gamer1030 said:

He is absolutely right about this. I always turn down games I may potentially like because I haven't tried them.



LztheQuack said:

I don't see the problem. If you want to see the Wiiware games, then go to the shop channel. They show the newest games on the main page.



theberrage said:

Nintendo, dont listen to this shmuck.

Here is what WiiWare needs: GAMES THAT DONT SUCK. DUH!



Bass_X0 said:

Don't understand why people don't like demos. Very rarely on XBox 360 Arcade do I buy games without playing a demo first. There have been some games I thought I may have liked until I played the demo where I found the gameplay too awkward for me.



The_Fox said:

@post 46 Ren:
How are demos for Wiiware titles overkill? That makes no sense. There have been plenty of Wiiware and VC titles I've passed on because I couldn't try them first.



Astro218 said:

"doesn't need demos. Demos would actually kill a lot of sales since even some good games can't be captured right in a quick minute."

He's right. We need more exposure of WiiWare reviews right now, more than anything.

There's two key problems with demos:

1. Like Ren said, you really can't gauge how well a game will play in most demos.

2. When a gamer is previewing a demo, they go into "connoisseur" mode and look down their nose at every little fault a game has. When they've BOUGHT the game, they've made a purchasing decision, which means they'll give the game far more of a fair shake because no one wants to admit they've been duped into buying crap.

And while #2 is happening, people tend to find that, hey, if you give a game a chance, it winds up really growing on you. I hated SSB the first time I saw it but I later went on to love it.

A lot of WiiWare games are too weird. People would preview a demo, not understand how the game really works and decide they hate it. Let the reviewers doing the screening for us.



mastersworddude said:

The reason its not selling well is that Nintendo does not advertise it at all, or the VC, most casuals don't know that there is a VC.

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