News Article

WiiWare Devs Call for More Advertising From Nintendo

Posted by James Newton

Service needs more promotion, awareness, money

Although Nintendo UK has just started on a high-profile advertising campaign to draw more awareness to the Wii's online features and WiiWare titles, for many developers it's something that should have happened years ago.

Until now, Nintendo's efforts to promote the Wii's online capabilities have been limited to references to online play in selected first-party titles, with little or no mention of the huge array of games available in the Shop Channel. The Wii itself comes with a pre-installed video to promote Internet access through Wii, but clearly it's had little impact, as some analysts put the take-up rate of the Wii's online services to be as low as 20 per cent.

The Nintendo Ambassador programme, launched last year, aimed to widen that base using connected folks to get their friends and family members online, but judging by the 20 per cent marker there must be plenty of Wii owners who don't know anyone able to get them online.

Speaking to, Nnooo's Nic Watt said:

Nintendo, in my opinion, could do more to keep the WiiWare and DSiWare stores in customer's minds. It is great that every new customer knows about and uses these services when they first connect their Wiis or DS. However, how many continue to frequent those stores? I think it is and should be Nintendo's responsibility to have a continued marketing presence to maintain people's awareness about the service.

It seems that Nintendo's after-care on WiiWare leaves a little to be desired, too. Jag Jaeger, VP of JV Games, had this to say:

Nintendo's stance to developers from the start has been: here's the service, follow our rules, you're on your own and we're not getting involved unless you create controversy. Nintendo could really help by throwing developers a bone. Help create a more even playing field by allowing developers to use Nintendo resources. Even a more fair use of the Nintendo Channel would help. Pokémon will be advertised for months while third party titles get a week usually.

Of course, having longer-term advertising on the Nintendo Channel would only be half the solution if the main problem is Wii owners not getting online in the first place. However, it's certainly interesting to hear that some judge Nintendo's assistance as a rather "fire and forget" policy, something no doubt made worse by the last minute announcement of release dates for download titles. Small studios have a difficult time marketing their titles anyway, which must be made harder when not even they know when their game is due for release.

Nic is happier with the service, citing the excellent download figures for myNotebook matched EA's high-profile download release of Burnout Paradise in its first month, as well as the fact Nnooo have broken even on every WiiWare title within just six weeks, indicative of both the lower cost of download development as well as the high uptake of Nnooo titles. Nic also sings the praises of the Nintendo community and its dedication to quality software:

If you are looking for advice on what WiiWare and DSiWare game to buy, you can find a site in seconds with a review of that game. Show me a website for XBLA or PSN which does the same. How many users of the iPhone actually care about or research the software they buy?

It's always interesting to hear about WiiWare developers' experience of the platform they create for, where the responsibility for marketing and promotion is clearly a thorny issue. With Nintendo now clearly promoting the system and its games - Bonsai Barber is getting a lot of TV advertising time at the moment! - more and more Wii owners will start switching onto WiiWare, something that must please every WiiWare developer out there.


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User Comments (43)



y2josh said:

This is coming from the company who made Pong Toss, Incoming! and Christmas Clix.



Sean_Aaron said:

I certainly think the majority of the marketing burden naturally falls on the developer/publisher and for developers doing it alone it's probably the first time many have had to deal with that responsibility.

It's a fair cop about the NIntendo Channel. Despite the makeover it's still grossly under-utilised. NoE still hasn't put back the "We are WiiWare" pieces that were there pre-update and to find reference to anything but 1st party titles you need to perform a search. Whilst I get marketing spam from Nintendo on a regular basis thanks to my Club Nintendo account, I still see almost no use made of the Nintendo Channel marketing opt-in. I should be getting the same messages on my Wii as come to my regular email.

The North American and Japanese Nintendo Channels seem to have weekly shows featuring new titles from all publishers, but NoE lags behind by having only a monthly feature covering new titles that is a few weeks late for the current month. I just don't understand it...



JimLad said:

They should raise awareness, but you have to keep in mind many people are only buying Wii for living room parties.
Those with the ability and desire to get Wii online will have already done so, and likely browsed the shop channel.
I'm not sure how many willing customers are actually in the dark.



TwilightV said:

Since WiiWare began, I can think of only two (maybe three) commercials for it (outside of Japan). The service could do with a bit more promoting...



odd69 said:

I knew about the service before i bought my wii and intended on using it. My Wii connect has been on since launch. I just don't understand how people are not aware.I guess not everyone actually knows (or cares) what they are buying and what it does. People who are not aware should be though because Wiiware and Virtual Console is amazing.



brooks83 said:

I think the Wiiware section of the Shop Channel needs a makeover. I think it could use an alphabetical listing of all the games, maybe with a screenshot of each game next to it. All you can do is search by publisher or genre. There are a ton of publishers out there for Wiiware and I lose track of what company made what title. Without this site and similar game sites I would be lost as to what is on the service. This is ok for the VC as I know what publishers made what games, but generally not with Wiiware.



Sean_Aaron said:

@JimLad: You may be correct, but it could be that all some people need to know is that Tetris is there to be had and they would take the plunge. We do get the odd mail at Nintendo Life asking "how can get I get WiiWare game X on my Wii?" so I think there's some gains to be had by doing more marketing.

TV ads are a good start, but they could do mall roadshows like they've done with Wii Fit and Wii Sports Resort to focus on WiiWare and DSiWare. Give folk a hands-on and show off a range of titles and demo the shops. I don't see how it can hurt!



grenworthshero said:

I think you people overestimate the average Wii owner. I did too, until I realized one of my friends and my sister in California didn't realize what WiiWare was, and I had to tell them both how to connect their Wii to the internet.



Kirk said:

A couple of suggestions:

VASTLY improve the Shop Channel design. Make it easier to use and navigate and add in the options to view a selection of decent full screen screen shots of each the games as well as a couple of nice gameplay movies. More demos of games would also be appreciated. If you want an example of a beautifully designed Wii Channel that is easy to navigate, very clean and clear in design, runs really smoothly, and is just really enjoyable to use overall, then look no further than the BBC iPlayer Channel for reference.

Advertise the Wii ability to go online and the Shop Channel, and WiiWare/VC/Channels etc even more.



Sean_Aaron said:

@Kirk: Agreed. A lot of screens and trailers are on the Nintendo Channel, but why aren't they attached to the actual game entries on the Shop? Why can't I view the ops manual for the game prior to buying it?



Guybrush_Threepwood said:

Hm I don't really care that much about WiiWare since I'm way more interested in Virtual Console games and I don't like how VC declined since WiiWare release. But I'm big fan of the XBLA service because of great remakes (Castlevania: SotN, Monkey Island, Banjo Kazooie/Tooie,...) and good new games (Braid, Splosion Man, The Maw, Peggle, Shadow Complex, Trials HD,...).



mrPlow said:

They really should improve the shop channel. I think it looks like a relic from the beginning of last decade :/.

Maybe if Nintendo would have integrated shop access somehow on the Mii channel. That's likely the first place to visit when the brand new Wii is turned on.
Ie. There could be a door to virtual shop where you would be able to browse and buy wiiware etc. Door would stay shut until Internet Connection is established, natural curiosity would then force people to see what's in there



Willy105 said:

I agree. Nintendo is practically doing nothing to let people know the Wii can go online. Most of my friends didn't know it could go online or that you could get anything from the online service.



blackknight77 said:

"Even a more fair use of the Nintendo Channel would help. Pokémon will be advertised for months while third party titles get a week usually."

I agree I have seen Super Mario 3 and World of Goo on the Wii shop channel intro for an eternity and new game by a 3rd party developer stays on the Nintendo channel for exactly 7 days. I think Nintendo needs to change that up a bit to help out developers. I have seen a lot of great suggestions on this site and I would suggest Nintendo look at them. The only way I got someone to log on to the Wii shop channel was after I gifted them a game forcing them to get their Wii online.



Alfred_ENG said:

Well done Nintendo UK, I saw the Wiiware TV ad last night on E4. It was really good. Keep putting more ads on TV for WW/VC. Great work. Nintendo must be reading Nintendolife.



Egg_miester said:

nintendo channel plays a lot of wiiware maybe they could do more but it seems like at least 25-40% of most wii owners i have seen post doesn't even check the nintendo channel its just as much the players fault as nintendo's



Ian_Daemon said:

"However, how many continue to frequent those stores?"

WE do actually. This is sorta "preaching to the choir", but honest in its intent..



Raylax said:

I'd love to see Nintendo open up the Wiiware service a bit more - for a service that promised to let smaller and indie developers get their stuff seen, the way in is really hard - you need to operate from a secure office before they'll even consider sending you a devkit, and even then it costs $2000 to obtain one. And from then on you're on you're own. Just have to keep sending stuff in have it sent back for fixing until Nintendo deems it suitable for the service, and after that point you have no control over it - Nintendo controls the pricing, when and how much it should be advertised, and can even pull it off the service at any point if they have reason to.
With XNA and PSN it's something of a second coming of the major indie scene, and Nintendo could seriously lose out if they don't radically rethink their current services.



jhuhn said:

Well with bittos+ coming to WiiWare soon (along with Windows PC), Nintendo & Unconditioinal Studios should fork out their wallet to spend millions of dollars to put the bittos commercials for the Super Bowl on February 7, 2010.



vherub said:

packing in 500 wiipoints with a new system would go a long way to get all wii owners at least aware of the service
also, putting more games on amazon would help exposure



Luigi-la-bouncy said:

The amount of criticism Nintendo gets for it's Wii shop I thought upon joining the Playstation Network that going to the store would be a dream. But let me tell you the that Wii shop is much more user-friendly than the Playststion Store, where they mix PS3 games, game add ons, psps games and little indie games into one huge mess, they don't even give you charts of best selling games. My point is that Nintendo games are so nice and easy for customers to download ( I think the popular games list helps a lot) yet all these devs blame nintendo when they're games don't sell. That's Rubbish!



Kevin said:

Forget promoting WiiWare. Promote the Virtual Console instead! Its got better games and very few games on the coming soon list for WiiWare catch my eye.



CorusFace said:

you actually can look at the operations manual of a game, prior to buying it, on the wii shop channel. i think it's available when you look at the details for the game.



LittleIrves said:

@mrPlow: That's bloody brilliant! And I'm not even from England!
Connecting the Shop Channel through the Mii Channel (where I KNOW most first-timers can't wait to get into) with this mysterious (or obviously labeled) door that's physically in the Mii Plaza would be excellent. As the Miis mill about, they might sniff around the door and look curiously at one another. Who wouldn't try to go through? Get Reggie on the phone.



motang said:

I see their point and Nintendo should really do something and help them out!



VegimightSamich said:

yeah this true, i dont know how many times ive had people over and see me playing a VC title and say "oh i didnt know the Wii could do that." its sad but thats what happens when your key consumer is familys.



Pegasus said:

Even if only 20% of the installed user base are connected that would still consist of a few million people. Unfortunately, the number of people who are interested in actually buying VC/WiiWare games is probably another fraction of that.

Anyway, I do agree though that Nintendo ought to put a bit more emphasis on its Wii's online shop just to make people aware it exists; I wonder though how people can gloss over its existence since it's a permanent fixture on everybody's Wii home menu.



Stevie said:

Nintendo need to play on the positives of Wiiware, starting with showing the versatility in the selection of different games that there are, there are games to suit all tastes. Also they need to demonstrate to people how easy and cheap it is to get these games. I believe there is a big market for cheap games like what Wiiware offers, Nintendo are just frustratingly slow and inept to take advantage in the way companys such as Apple, Steam and Microsoft have



Nnooo said:

Hey guys,

For the full interview I did with Kath Brice (instead of just the juicy bits) check out our news blog here (




JohnshiBRPG said:

When Nintendo First Launched Wii, it only features the console, motion controls details, and Wii Sports. The box itself never changed since the launch. However, this can be fixed by adding text to the front cover to tell the users what it can fully do.

*Motion-controls on Wii remote
*Supports SD cards up to 32 GB
*Built-in wireless internet receiver
*Customize Your Own Mii(TM)
*Browse through the Shop Channel to download games from Virtual Console and Wiiware
*Download Nintendo Channel to try out DS demos

That is what I want to see for future box covers.

I'll send that note to Nintendo.



killer6370 said:

Theres something nintendo could do for eg a video or Demo of all games there are so many games but no ones knows about(i am really glad i found this site so i can read reviews an see vids)



Stuffgamer1 said:

@mrPlow:: People's "natural curiosity?" If people are really so curious, why don't they just click on the "Shop Channel" button that's on their main menu?

@Luigi-La-Bouncy: When's the last time you used the PSN Store? It DOES have top seller lists, as well as ways to sort content by full game, DLC, trailers, etc. What you described hasn't been how it works in about two years. Unless SoE is doing something particularly retarded, but I find that unlikely.

So they're advertising Bonsai Barber now, are they? I guess that's SOMETHING. I think they need to make that intro video on new Wii's unskippable the first time you turn your Wii on. That might help. As it stands, I doubt most people even bother to watch it.



Ren said:

yeah, it really a sad state of affairs. Design should be better, all the suggestions here are great, (bigger screenshots, why not have those advert videos on the shop itself, etc.), plus advertising. Also each Wii should come with 500-600 points on it that you must go to the channel and use. Why is it so hard to do that since it would vastly improve exposure, with out really losing anyone money?
Above all, the will has to be there. Nintendo just isn't doing it, simple as it is. Why not? We're all stumped.



mrPlow said:

@stuffgamer1 "If people are really so curious, why don't they just click on the "Shop Channel" button that's on their main menu?"
Well I don't know but obviously most people are not compelled to see what's on the Shop Channel

Free Wii points would be a great way to promote the Shop Channel, as Ren and others pointed out, and N really should have done so from the beginning. Just like they finally did with the DSi..



Stuffgamer1 said:

Free points is indeed an excellent ploy. Personally, I think Nintendo should've continued that method with the DSi instead of cancelling the deal in October. On the other hand, customers at GameStop have a tendancy to ask what the difference between the DS Lite and DSi is, which gives employees in the know such as myself ample opportunity to make them aware of DSiWare. Not sure if that's enough to make up the difference in potential downloadable customers, though.

It's bad enough that I've had a number of customers over time come in looking for a game they heard about, not realizing it's a downloadable title. They tend to not understand when I try to explain it to them, either. Or worse, they don't even bother to buy a Nintendo Points card on the way out.



Notare said:

Sometimes I think N does NOT want people to buy WiiWare games. They could do much better at promoting and showing the great games out there.



Kristof said:

I think Nintendo just keeping WiiWare "under the arm" for the future... No need to promote it fully unless they'll be out of new features for the Wii. Kind of careful strategy.



Mange said:

Nic also sings the praises of the Nintendo community and its dedication to quality software...
True, I do. Too bad Nic doesn´t fix the major bug in his own Pop game. Until fix comes along I say Nnooo to his "quality" software. I did enjoy Pop when it was released. Last time I checked I was no:4 in the world charts.

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