News Article

Talking Point: Lessons to be Learned from WiiWare and Beamdog

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Cool heads should prevail

One news story has been dominant on Nintendo Life since it was posted, attracting a significant number of comments from the community. The news that MDK2 developers Beamdog will never develop for Nintendo again seemed to strike nerves, as strongly worded statements generally do. Writing on Twitter, studio president Trent Oster left no doubt about his company’s future prospects with Nintendo.

We don't do Nintendo development. Our previous experience with Nintendo was enough to ensure there will not be another.

The debate that followed has had arguments that support both Beamdog and Nintendo’s WiiWare policies, so we thought we’d take a look at both sides and, hopefully, find the middle ground.

Complaints shouldn’t be dismissed

We would suggest that Beamdog’s decision and word choice to declare an abandonment of Nintendo platforms was perhaps rash, especially in light of the fact that Wii U’s online platform may resolve the issues raised. If we push that aside, however, the revelations around this issue do highlight factual problems with WiiWare that are tough to ignore. Acknowledging these issues is not, as some may choose to believe, a rejection or betrayal of Nintendo, but rather an important part of recognising weaknesses in the Big N’s digital strategy on Wii.

Expanding on his initial comments in an interview with Gamasutra, Oster described three main issues with publishing on WiiWare: payment policy, file size limitations and game certification. To begin with payment policy, it should be recognised that publishers are typically restricted by an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) with Nintendo — an issue that was raised when Icon Games claimed "Nintendo's policies put jobs at risk", citing the fact that it wasn’t allowed to publish sales figures for its own games. The existence of a minimum sales requirement before payment, meanwhile, is reasonably well known, with Gamasutra reportedly speaking to a number of small developers who back that claim. Oster has stated that the required sales before royalties arrive is 6000 units, leading to a lack of any payment for MDK2 since release.

We'd love to see some money back on the title, as it is the best version of MDK2 on any console, but we've yet to see anything.

At $10.00 (plus local sales tax) for 1000 Nintendo Points direct from the Wii Shop in the U.S. – also the cost of MDK2 — that could mean sales of almost $60,000 dollars, roughly, before any payments to the publisher. That of course assumes that Oster’s figure of 6000 units is correct, but if true it potentially represents a lot of money unclaimed if the sales target isn't reached. Although Nintendo naturally incurs costs for maintaining and hosting the Wii Shop platform, it’s clear that this represents a significant financial risk for developers that are, in some cases, small organisations with limited means.

The issue of a 40MB file size limit, meanwhile, has been problematic for other developers, notably Team Meat being unable to compress Super Meat Boy without compromising the content beyond acceptable means. Perhaps a legacy of the Wii’s humble technical capabilities, including its minimal system memory, it’s a policy that hasn’t stopped some fantastic titles arriving on the service, but is a restriction nevertheless.

The final issue, that of the certification process, is perhaps the greyest of the areas mentioned. In some senses stringent tests and standards are necessary to avoid broken games being sold on the platform, while Oster admitted that part of the lengthy process was down to Beamdog keeping QA in-house.

Our time in cert was two-fold, a lack of proper QA on our part and slow report turn around from Nintendo. We'd get a bug, fix it, wait two weeks while Nintendo tested it, get a new bug, fix it, wait two weeks. After nine months from our first submission, we passed certification.

We could have spent more money on our side and hired a certification testing team, but we ran our own small QA effort and ran through the certification requirements on our own. The end product is a better game for the extra testing Nintendo pushed on us, but we likely could have had the same results in a much shorter timeline.

Whether two weeks turnaround from Nintendo on bug fixes is too slow is open to opinion, though a nine month process is understandably frustrating. No matter how loyal you may be towards Nintendo, these are problematic quirks of the WiiWare publishing system that seem to be very real, and are less than ideal for small developers in particular. Other issues such as the Wii Shop layout, limited promotional activity and strict pricing set by Nintendo have perhaps contributed to the dramatic decline in quality software to hit the service in recent months.

Nintendo is learning from its mistakes

The Wii Shop, and WiiWare in particular, has represented the best and worst of Nintendo. On the one hand it was a first tentative step into download-exclusive content, and there have been some high quality titles to grace the platform. The negative side is that developers such as Beamdog have raised major issues, some prohibited by the strict NDA, and the platform has struggled to maintain momentum and a quality library. The light at the end of the tunnel has, arguably, been the 3DS eShop, which has improved the consumer payment system and boasts a more appealing front end that promotes a variety of titles on a weekly basis, amongst other things. The file size limit is also much larger than those seen on the Wii or DSi Shops, with Mighty Switch Force being particularly hefty. It has improvements to make, but the eShop is a step up over its Wii equivalent.

When it comes to digital strategy, Nintendo has been behind the curve in a number of respects, but improvements on 3DS bode well for the upcoming Wii U. It seems highly unlikely that Nintendo’s next home console digital store will make the same mistakes that have been outlined above, or at least not to the same degree as on the Wii Shop. There are arguments to be made for the importance of file size limits, solid quality checks and a sensible payment policy, and hopefully the balance will be adjusted and improved on Wii U, alongside a more dynamic, attractive store front.

With the success of Wii, DS and, gradually, 3DS, Nintendo has a large demographic of gamers to attract with Wii U. Should it succeed and make its next console a sales hit, both Nintendo and smaller developers with a focus on digital titles will hopefully dust down, reach a middle ground, and try again.

What do you think? Are there lessons to be learned from developer complaints about WiiWare? Has the 3DS eShop shown improvements in Nintendo’s policy, and do you think Wii U will get it right? Let us know in the comments below.

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User Comments (82)

DarkEdi

#1

DarkEdi said:

Why Nintendo doesn´t do a update 5.0? Ah, yes, it is the last year of the Wii. There isn´t a update since 2 years before.

Another passed new: Nintendo week enden 2 weeks ago. It´s another sight about Wii decadence.

Portista

#2

Portista said:

Well, it sounds like Nintendo has pretty harsh policies. It might be good in some cases, but for small developer's it might be hard. :|

Hyawatta

#3

Hyawatta said:

Development Policy Improvements from WiiWare through eShop to Wii U

I read about how upset Beamdog’s Trent Oster was with his experience on WiiWare, but I have also heard good things, from Renegade Kid’s Jools Watsham, about Nintendo’s eShop service in regards to how good the experience is for developers. It seems to me that Nintendo has changed their online service policies enough so that whatever faults Beamdog had with WiiWare will no longer apply to the 3DS and Wii U’s online services. However, Beamdog’s unwillingness to work with Nintendo anymore makes it seem as if nothing has changed.

Do you know if the sales performance thresholds before payments of royalties policy has been changed? If so, what is the new policy? Does Nintendo allow developers to set their own prices? What is Nintendo’s policy for promoting online titles? Has Nintendo’s certification process improved? If so, then what are the improvements? Can you describe Nintendo’s online development process in terms of how developers earn money? I have seen write ups of the WiiWare process, but I have not seen much about the eShop process, especially concerning payments and royalties. Basically, I’m trying to figure out if Beamdog is being stupid by neglecting to work with Nintendo in the future based on what happened in the past or if their concerns are still legitimate. If we know what all of the policies are, then we can decide for ourselves if they are reassuring, reasonable, or restrictive. Thank you.

ThomasBW84Admin

#4

ThomasBW84 said:

@Hyawatta We can only comment on the eShop improvements that we can see, such as a more dynamic shop-front and a higher file-size limit. I strongly suspect that non-disclosure is in place for this platform too, and the only way WiiWare policies have come to light in recent months is from developers breaking cover. I'd rather not speculate too much on areas that are still unknown.

You make a good point though, there have been some positive noises so far from developers who have been using eShop, so hopefully that is a sign of things to come.

RaylaxStaff

#5

Raylax said:

I get the distinct impression that Nintendo's quality control only aims to ensure peace of mind for themselves, not consumers or developers. Which makes business sense, but doesn't make for terribly good relations.

Geonjaha

#6

Geonjaha said:

I still think attention should be payed when any developer makes such claims, regardless of if you know them or play their games. If some developers find problems then more will realise them in the future, and if they're not fixed, it means less games for the platform, less support for the platform, and ultimately our loss as owners of the console in question.

Rapadash6

#7

Rapadash6 said:

Theres no question, in my mind, that Nintendo is the best developer in the world hands down. That being said, as far as the company as a publisher, well, there's a lot of room for improvement. Everything from their localization policies to the half baked Virtual Console support has shown that clearly they don't have other developers OR fans at the forefront of their decision making. We are still waiting for La Maluna, for example, and this is a game that's been finished for half a year. The frustration Beamdog and others are feeling towards Nintendo seems justified, based solely on how I see them treat the fans. Nintendo needs to wake up and start doing things differently.

SKTTR

#9

SKTTR said:

9 months of quality assurance, yeah sure! Beamdog, why don't you play through your own glitchy game first, before sending it in to Nintendo and waste their time again and again?! I think, after 9 months Nintendo just gave up arguing with Beamdog and released the freezing version of MDK2.

However, I'd still buy this game because I can live with the occasional crashing and I loved MDK1 on the PS1 but I don't believe it will ever come to Europe.

kkslider5552000

#10

kkslider5552000 said:

It isn't that Beamdog is in the wrong. It's that being whiny is the quickest way to make sure I don't care about your opinion anymore. "Mommy, I'm never going over to Nintendo's house again!" You're an adult. Grow up.

Joshers744

#11

Joshers744 said:

One thing I never liked about the Wii shop was that I had to spend at least 20 bucks to download an old NES game. Sure I could use the rest of the points later, but I didn't want to spit out 20 bucks at one time when I didn't have to. They have at least improved this on the eShop for the 3DS. They really need to release more VC games on the 3DS though. Really disappointed in the lack of wanting to release hardly any Gameboy games, especially here in the US.

Burning_Spear

#12

Burning_Spear said:

One thing that sticks out in Beamdog's situation is that it took nine months to work out all the bugs. How is that Nintendo's fault? I have no idea if a two-week turnaround is industry standard for bug-checking, but the fact that the process lasted nine months means bugs kept popping up. I can't see how Nintendo can be faulted for that, and, to its credit, I think the company should be commended for exercising in-house quality-control on third-party download titles. As much as people complain about the Wii being a shovelware console, imagine how much worse it would be if Nintendo weren't checking things in this manner.

On the other two issues, I'm not an industry insider, so I don't know if 6,000 units is a reasonable sale minimum. But there definitely needs to be a minimum: It's Nintendo's way of saying, "Don't even think about trying to market bad or broken games to make a quick buck. Don't bother us unless you're serious." Of course, like everyone else, I'd like to see a bigger file-size limit, so I can't argue with that one.

ThumperUK

#13

ThumperUK said:

Who at Beamdog was held in a room by Nintendo with a gun to their head forcing their NDA and payment policies on them?? Answer: No-one. Yes, the Wii Shop aint great and the 40Mb limit is pretty pathetic, but 6000 sales globally is not exactly a difficult sales figure to achieve!! I bet Beamdog did NO marketing of the game themselves, just saw it on the Shop Channel and thought 'Well done.now we'll just sit back and expect to see thousands of sales'. A two week turnaround on testing by Nintendo doesn't sound horrendous to me - what it does do is highlight how many times Nintendo rejected the game due to bugs and bad programming if it took 9 months!! No doubt the Nintendo testers weren't too unhappy when they saw the Twitter rant as I bet it was a nightmare for them to have to play for nine months.

videojill

#14

videojill said:

Wii Shop is light years BEHIND the PSN Store and the Xbox Live Marketplace.

I hate having to wait weeks to find the next update just be a single demo of a game, and that's it. No weekly new games (plural) and no weekly sales outside from Club Nintendo (and that takes 1 whole month for updates).

Nintendo failed on Wii Shop.

Ryno

#15

Ryno said:

6,000 copies must be sold before you see a dime? That is ridiculous. Does PSN and XBL have a minimum?

Oh well, Beamdog's own fault for putting it on WiiWare in the first place. It's not like they didn't know about the policy.

The_Fox

#16

The_Fox said:

To those saying requiring 6,000 sales before seeing any return isn't much of an issue: Keep in mind that numerous developers have stated that they're lucky to break 20,000 units sold on Wiiware. That makes it a pretty damn big issue.

Rawk_Hawk

#17

Rawk_Hawk said:

I tend to agree with post #14 the Wii Ware is way behind the PSN. Although there are some exclusive Wii Ware games that I like, but they are few and far between now. The lack (or small amount) of demos is also very dissappointing compared to other services. I've purchased many games that I would have never considered on PSN thanks to demos being availible. The biggest plus about the Wii Shop is the Virtual Console and it feels like the most neglected over the past year and a half.

Mk_II

#19

Mk_II said:

So basically they kept submitting buggy builds for nine months before Nintendo was satisfied. No good Quality Asurance on their part and they blame Nintendo? Wow, just wow.

OldBoy

#20

OldBoy said:

TBH the QA testing is not Nintendo's fault. Bug finding/fixing isn't a quick thing.Its not like Nintendo can throw a lot of resource on QA testing a small indie game and Beamdog themselves should have been perfectly capable of producing a less buggy game before submitting it, surely.
The 6000 copies issue is terrible though. Why would small companies want to take a risk like that if they can go on ios/android/XBLA/PSN without that stipulation. Madness by Nintendo.Surely a 500-1000 is more than enough for Nintendo to host the thing on the shop. The size limit is also ridiculous, but I suppose that is because the Wii lacks a Hard Drive.
I think Nintendo are slowly improving this aspect though and hopefully WiiU will be the next big step forward. As ever though Nintendo will always do it their way and won't imitate other companies (for good or ill!).

shingi_70

#21

shingi_70 said:

@bezerker99

Smh really.

Why will people defends nintendo even when they are clearly in the wrong.

And to all the people scresminf quality control wiiware has the most shovelware of the 3 major download services.

ecco6t9

#22

ecco6t9 said:

Nothing wrong with a 40MB limit, it forces developers to be creative with space.

Myx

#23

Myx said:

i have got no hopes at all that stiff nintendo will come at least one little bit out of their static state of dictatorship. this business model is so antique. it will sooner or later break their necks. it is not because i want them to fail but it's the rule of the market that will put them out of the spotlight.

CorbsAdmin

#24

Corbs said:

There's a reason Xbox Live Arcade is the "go to" place for most developers looking to release downloadable titles on game consoles. Hopefully Nintendo will make it more attractive for these smaller developers on the Wii U. :D

theblackdragonAdmin

#25

theblackdragon said:

@shingi: the 'quality control' people are talking about here isn't the quality of the games in terms of content, fun factor, or shovelware status, it's the quality of the code behind the games. That's all the 'Seal of Quality' has ever been, a guarantee that a given game will work as promised on their systems. Nintendo puts these games to the test in order to wring as many bugs as they possibly can out of 'em. Obviously they aren't perfect, but they've got their internal standards that must be met across the board, no questions asked, which levels the playing field. If it took them 9 months to get their game past Nintendo's testers, perhaps Beamdog needs to rethink what they deem as something worthy to be sent off for lotcheck.

shingi_70

#26

shingi_70 said:

@ecco6t9

That makes no sense at all.

Fez is a creative game and that's about 200mb. Skullgirls is really. Creative and is about 1GB.

THE limit is bull.

ejamer

#28

ejamer said:

Wait... so a two week turn around for bug fixes and it took 9 months to clear certification? Surely these are just estimates, but that means the game failed certification roughly 18 times, and the delay is blamed on Nintendo?

Hmm...

I'm betting that Nintendo never runs a full QA cycle during certification, but stops when they hit the first failure point and returns the code. This still seems like a large number of failures though.

hydeks

#29

hydeks said:

for beamdog to say "where not working with Nintendo anymore over one thing" is very childish and obviously a sign of them just prefering PC over Nintendo system.

I can say that the WiiWare wasn't the greatest, but hey, gotta start somewhere, don'tcha?

Flowerlark

#30

Flowerlark said:

I agree that Wiiware has some ridiculous policies, especially the payment policy, however, I feel that Beamdog's complaints, while valid, were unprofessionally worded.

madgear

#31

madgear said:

I'm not going to bother expressing my view on this again as it's already been said, but I am still curious about the Super Meat Boy file size. I wonder how much over the 40MB limit that game was - it'd be interesting to find out because if it was a few MB and Nintendo didn't make an exception then that's certainly a problem.

Super Meat Boy is a fantastic game and Nintendo really should have worked with Team Meat to get it on the system and found a way around it. It's like turning down the chance to premier a classic movie because it runs a little long.

scrubbyscum999

#32

scrubbyscum999 said:

Just one of the three big things Nintendo needs to work on for the Wii U, Lots of power for the system, third party support, and Online in general. Like may things with online with Nintendo, needs major work. It doesn't bother me personally that much, but I too want a change. At the same time, Beamdog's comments really were overly harsh, and pretty unprofessional. If the Wii U becomes a big success with a great online system that fixes all the problems, they are going to look pretty foolish. In the end though, Nintendo has a lot to improve with the Wii U coming, but if they succeed in solving these problems they just might be rewarded.

Linkstrikesback

#34

Linkstrikesback said:

@ThumperUK
For a start, it's not 6000 worldwide. From what we've been leaked it's 6000 for North America alone. There is a seperate count for Europe (Another 3000, counted completely seperate from the NA count) and another for Japan, and probably more for other regions.

The developer not being able to choose the game price is disgusting on Nintendos part. That, combined with the fact that the Nintendo NEVER has sales is pretty much a death sentence for any game that gets released on Wiiware now.
http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2009/04/wiiware_sales_targets_more_details_emerge

DraculaX

#36

DraculaX said:

@Linkstrikesback Yeah, not doing sales is one reason why I have not purchased anything from the eShop (sorry, but that coin system just doesn't cut it). It would be really cool if Nintendo could do a weekly sale thing like PSN does, then maybe even some of that shovelware could get purchased.

Chris720

#37

Chris720 said:

@Sony_70

I really don't see how this is entirely Nintendo's fault. Let me run it through for you...

The Wii was never designed for WiiWare. Simple... it was a feature that was put into a system that doesn't have the memory nor a good shop. WiiWare failed because of the Wii's powerlessness. But you have to start somewhere, right?

Everything else is entirely Beamdog's fault, if your going to send a faulty game for testing that has more bugs than I've had hot dinners then ofcourse it'll take 9 months.

The 6,000 limit... that honestly can't be that hard! Surely Beamdog could've got the word out a bit more.

The 40mb limit, I'd say Ninty was testing the download waters. Everything else is Beamdogs fault and they have to stop acting like children. It's YOUR game, YOU make it work and sell, not Nintendo!

Torchwood

#39

Torchwood said:

Why exactly does Mighty Switch Force take up so much space? It isn't exactly jampacked with content or anything, and the graphics aren't amazing or anything.(I'm aware that this is a platformer. The graphics are good, just not anything that would take up 1/5 of a gigabyte)

Odnetnin

#40

Odnetnin said:

Despite the freezing issues I had with it, MDK2 on WiiWare was a superb game. There's no way that the developer didn't deserve to get paid anything for their work. Regarding Trent Oster's statements, however, I would never rule out working with a company EVER again because of one bad experience.

Monkeh

#42

Monkeh said:

"Acknowledging these issues is not, as some may choose to believe, a rejection or betrayal of Nintendo"

Well duh, but saying you won't work with Nintendo any more is!

shingi_70

#44

shingi_70 said:

@Demonic

This is the tech industry starting out isn't a good excuse when your competition is at another level. Window's phone was considered an elegant os at the the time and lauded by the media. While I personally love the metro design language the hardware and other os features weren't up to snuff so I decided to go with android.

Ren

#45

Ren said:

I don't understand why people think it's so "childish" or "mean" that they don't want to do games with Nintendo anymore. So what? they didn't say "they're big liars and we hate them forever" they just stated that they won't do it again because it was difficult and understandably annoying. Why is that so bad and mean?

They don't feel like dealing with Nintendo's sometimes lame system, so they prefer to stick with the many other platforms that are easier to work with. would anyone here do differently when this is your lifes work and one of your sales outlets is just more trouble than it's worth? Cut your losses and go with a better operation that's readily available. I see no issue here. If Nintendo does things differently later, maybe they'll reconsider, but they don't owe us or anyone else any special promises, and they surely could have been a lot less mature about it.

Aviator

#46

Aviator said:

@ThumperUK So you could easily make a game without getting paid by the company you're making for and sell 6,000 copies. I'd like to see that.

@madgear The PC version of Super Meat Boy was at launch (from memory) about 350mbs.

How is what Beamdog said childish? Most of its employee's probably have family, bills to pay, mouths to feed. Nintendo's policy of no pay till 6000 is absolutely ridiculous. Yes, Beamdog are some-what responsible for the 9-month certification, but you have to think. Do they really want to spend a whole amount of time on a game that may actually make zero profit?

I'm not sure if someone said it here or on the other news post, but do we know how much of the 1000 points I payed for the game go to the developers and Nintendo?

ThomasBW84Admin

#47

ThomasBW84 said:

@Monkeh That line was included (not that you quoted the whole line) because some, probably a minority, do appear to have an attitude of defending Nintendo and WiiWare at all costs. That's their prerogative, but to those who do reject criticisms of WiiWare, I was making the point that supporting a company such as Nintendo doesn't have to mean shooting down any dissenters.

I'm passionate about Nintendo and, on a personal level, hope for its continued success, but that doesn't mean I won't consider the negatives and mistakes that the company makes.

rayword45

#48

rayword45 said:

I've owned pretty much only Ninty consoles after the PS2. And I CANNOT fathom how anybody can defend Nintendo here.

6000 units until pay is the worst. That's a complete joke. If I spend time developing a game, and get NOTHING in return (the platform (WiiWare) isn't the most advertised) I'd be pissed. I hope that number is completely different for DSiWare since there are some pretty good obscure games on an already obscure platform there. I'm pretty sure selling retail is a safer bet.

Secondly, defending the 40MB limit is also nonsense. I can't get a good quality album download in that limit. Creativity and quality should not be limited by this (This was pretty obviously fixed on 3DS, however, so props to Nintendo).

I cannot comment on the certification system due to lack of knowledge. However, it's confusing how some pretty good games (La-Mulana) get rejected while stuff like Play With Birds and Fireplacing make it through. I also can't say much about the sales info policies.

Slapshot

#49

Slapshot said:

For those who've stated that the 6k limit is nothing, it's been highly publicized that the majority of Wii owners' have never even connected their system to the internet. On PSN/XBLA, this limit is a walk in the park to achieve, but on WiiWare, there's not enough systems connected, and there's little to no coverage of the games releases outside of Nintendo oriented websites. This creates a huge risk to the developer and I'm surprised that anyone has worked on games for the system. Developing games cost real money to the developer and having to potential to sell thousands of copies of your game and not receive a dime for it is poor business standards, there's just no way around it.

Both Microsoft and Sony have programs in place that will fund these small developers projects and publish their games for them, or allow for self publishing. I know that Sony's PubFund program will even pay the developer, regardless if their game sales or not, which is hardly ever on either of the systems, because of the amount of daily users.

3DS is a small step forward to achieving where Nintendo needs to be in the digital market. If they really want to stand even with their competition in this realm and keep the third party developers around, they've got a lot of work to do. Otherwise, things will stay just as they are now — which isn't bad, as they're doing great — but they're a long way from getting core gamers solely on their console(s).

BattleBorn

#50

BattleBorn said:

I appreciate Nintendo Life's stance on this matter, but it's not gonna do anything to change minds.

It doesn't matter that MDK2 is regarded as a funny and excellent action/adventure game by anyone who's actually played it... it's shovelware simply because it "didn't sell" and the WiiWare publisher (who only ported what was Bioware's game — yes, BIOWARE) had the gall to criticize Nintendo. Funny that these exact same people cry and scream that "PEOPLE ARE SHEEPLE" whenever anyone brings up the 20M+ Call of Duty yearly sales or the 500M+ Angry Birds downloads.

You could argue Beamdog is being unfair for dismissing all future Nintendo development because of a (soon-to-be) previous ecosystem. At the same time, it's Nintendo's responsibility to aggressively reach out to all potential developers and prove that they've improved their digital strategy and policies. The fact that this event happened indicates that Nintendo hasn't — and that's very bad news.

NeoShinobi

#51

NeoShinobi said:

I really can't blame them for these complaints, but I find it kinda hard to be sympathetic towards them when they choose to release a game for WiiWare, which is a complete dead-end service. I find it hard to believe that they were unaware of that.

Betagam7

#52

Betagam7 said:

Now we see why Nintendo's e-shops have prices permanently frozen in carbonyte.
We used to think it was ignorance of business practices and marketing that prevented Nintendo offering sales or adjusting prices for its older games.
Now we see the true reason: By keeping prices static Nintendo reduces the liklihood of units being sold, thus reducing the liklihood of hitting the magical 6000 figure, thus reducing the liklihood of having to pay developers a penny for titles that have raked in thousands of sales for Nintendo.
The problem with a corrupt, cynical business practice like this is that small devs are only going to fall for it once. The larger problem is that it will reduce those putting their games on the system to big names and shovelware trash.
Does the VC have a similar policy? Why did C64 support dry up?
Yes, it's all making sense now.

Slapshot

#53

Slapshot said:

@Betagam7 I don't think, or better yet, I truly hope that isn't the reason there aren't sales on Nintendo's digital storefronts, but that does raise a very interesting question too: Wouldn't weekly price drops increase sales and help the developers to make some money on their games? This is an angle that I hadn't thought about, and honestly, it's one that doesn't help the situation one bit. :(

@NeoShinobi Actually, if they had gotten their game approved earlier, which they clearly understand isn't all Nintendo's fault, they would have landed in a string of decent WiiWare titles that have sold pretty well. I'm sure it would have likely helped them to gain a few more sales.

MDK and MDKII are both great titles that are truly worth playing through!

gyyrro

#54

gyyrro said:

Beamdog cutting all relations with a major gaming company just as they are about to release a new console with far more capabilities after one bad incedent which was partly their fault..
I'm sure that counts as "smart" somewere...

md1500

#55

md1500 said:

Thing is, I felt sorry for him at first - then he started all that nonsense about "Wii owners only buy Wii Sports", "the Wii is a toy, not a gaming console"....

Burning_Spear

#56

Burning_Spear said:

The Wii is a toy. So are the PS3 and the XBox. But he's wrong about Wii Sports. It was packaged with the console, so most of us didn't have to buy it.

mamp

#57

mamp said:

I can understand why Beamdog is upset, the 6000 sales number is ridiculous at least for Wiiware. The Wiishop is horrible there is no game advertisement and people don't care for it. Most websites don't even bother reviewing Wiiware games but they review XBLA and PSN games I was even mad at the fact that gamespot reviews angry birds but they won't review e shop games. Not to mention the Wiishop is not that user friendly when compared to the e-shop and the e-shop is just a simple version of the XBLA market. Most people don't even connect their Wii online because online connectivity is more of a sencondary component for the Wii. I don't know why people say Beamdog is childish for not wanting to work with Nintendo again if anything it's called common sense. If you went to work with someone and they didn't pay you after the work you did, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be stupid enough to work for them again. Even if Nintendo is a Major game company they are not the ONLY game company out there and if they keep this bad business practice it'll just mean less games for them and more games for others which in the end is bad for them. Things have changed and good games don't just come on discs anymore, indie devs are out there and some of them are making amazing games that sell and which Nintendo needs to take advantage of. I will admit though the way he spoke about the Wii was pretty immature and he should know better than that.

TooManyToasters

#58

TooManyToasters said:

Nothing lengthy to be said here, Wii Shop had faults, eShop improved, hence eShop delivered.

One thing I've learned about what's called quality assurance, (through dealing with customers in my job which is not video game related since this is not primarily a video game store I work at but a whole department store, but more with loading store merchandising and helping customers) is that you never can really satisfy everyone's needs, like finding the EXACT solution (product for customers) they're looking for, only be nice to them and provide the best service possible. I would guess the same applies between Nintendo and small developers as it also would customers, but on a far more technical scale.

But look, if you're going to have one guy every so often get all verbal with WiiWare limitations and decide to improve upon that for Wii U, that does not throw out any chance that Mr. Oster aka Batty McPants will still complain about the same thing or move on to something else to complain about. If you're like me with customers that's called being a rotten apple. Do whatever you will with the rotten apple, just be nice and politely rid of him, then onto the next person, just the way it works.

If you'd rather be like Batty McPants up here, however, you're totally missing the point of quality assurance.

Hardy83

#59

Hardy83 said:

Hard to believe there are still people willing to blindly defend Nintendo on this, and attack a developer for being a "baby" and "whiner" when he's quoted saying his dev house screwed up too.
I love when someone said both said sucks, but people say "No just YOU suck."

I remember when people yelled at me and other people for saying WiiWare and Nintendo's digital service was crap within the first year of the Wii. Saying that it was amazing.
A lot of opinions finally caught up with reality, but I guess there's some who haven't accepted it yet.

WiiWare was a disaster, and any good game released on it was overshadowed by just how bad the service and infrastructure was, which is a complete shame considering some of the games.
DSiWare was even worse, if you could believe that (especially when Reggie was quoted saying that DSiWare is about QUALITY not QUANTITY, when in fact it was neither and Nintendo was one of the worst offenders for it too), and while I think 3DS is vastly improved, it's still VERY bad compared to things like Steam, GOG and PSN.
That's just from the consumer view, I have no idea how bad or good it is from a developer, some say it's good, some say it's horrible, some are in the middle. All I know is that the game makers should get a cut day one of the release, no some minimum sale to get money crap. This isn't the shopping channel.
If any other digital service has this (even ones I've mentioned) then I'll hate them too.

Nintendo still has a long way to go before I will personally find their digital service/infrastructure acceptable. The Wii Us RELEASE (not details) will probably change or cement my view, but yeah, Nintendo has a long way to go.

Tip: Sales help Nintendo.

SethNintendo

#61

SethNintendo said:

@Slapshot
You state that most it is widely known that most Wii owners don't connect their system to the internet. I believe you are deeply mistaken. Would the percentage be lower than the HD consoles? Probably but not by too much. You are forgetting about Netflix and Hulu support. You have to connect to the Wii Shop channel to download the channel thus connecting your Wii to the internet. If you really care I can bring in the Netflix studies that shows that plenty of Netflix users use the Wii to stream movies.

RantingThespian

#62

RantingThespian said:

I think Nintendo has learned many lessons. The E-Shop is actually quite pleasant to use, and the gamers are getting better and bigger. I expect huge changes with the Wii U.

Wolfenstein83

#63

Wolfenstein83 said:

Quick, everyone download a copy of MDK2, right now!
(actually maybe I will)
Anywho, Nintendo has always had a sort of bad rep when it comes to making the third party devs happy, ever since the NES days, but like most people are saying, things are getting better.
I think Beamdog shouldn't be so quick to jump ship just yet, although I can certainly understand the reason for their frustration.

NINTENBOY

#64

NINTENBOY said:

From what I've on the 3DS I've think they've got it people FINALLY no but you know seriously all they have to do is do basicilly what they did on the 3DS just make sure it's smooth, looks nice, easy for dev's to put stuff on it give them as much FREEDOM as possible and infact I want to see a much bigger presence of indie developed games to reveal the 360 and PC.

lex0plex

#65

lex0plex said:

@ rayword45

Yeah, if the certification process really takes so long, then why do so many terrible games make it on Wiiware? Doesn't make sense man...

I know apple devices don't have a great game selection compared to 3DS, but their online system seems to work very well. Nintendo has always been a great leader of the game industry. For them to continue to do well, they must learn to follow too.

Dauntless

#66

Dauntless said:

@Wolfenstein83

I'm not going to download a copy because I already have the game for PS2. At one point in time I even had the Dreamcast version. I still have the 1st game for PS1. MDK2 is still a fun game and I recommended it, though I don't know how good the Wii port. This game took up more than 40MB when it was released on CD.

Sakura_Moonlight2421

#68

Sakura_Moonlight2421 said:

I really don't care. I hardly go on the Wii shop unless I want a game that I've been putting off buying for several months to years. In truth I still want to buy Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord, now bare in mind that that game has been out since July 2009. I have just been too lazy to get Wii shop points and hooking up my Wii to my now fast internet. shrugs Frankly developers could stand to advertise a little more to get my attention on the Wii shop.

JimLad

#69

JimLad said:

Take a look at Journey for the PlayStation Network...
Now take a look at Trials Evolution for Xbox Live Arcade...
That's how far behind Nintendo are.

MrDanger88

#70

MrDanger88 said:

Anybody that defends the piece of garbage service WiiWare over any dev should have their opinion void. Its the worse digital platform in the industry crippled by Nintendo's dumb online policies. There's a reason why nothing is released on WiiWare; because it has no audience and is terrible.

MAB

#71

MAB said:

Nice simple fun games is what I like about WiiWare like Motoheroz, Lostwinds, Pokemon, Sonic 4, Excitebike, Bomberman Blast, Mega Man 9+10, TV Show King 1+2, TNT Racers, Final Fantasy CC, Tetris Party, Onslaught, Aya and the Cubes, Gnomz, Jam City, EscapeVektor, Bit.Trip, Lit, And yet it moves, Hydroventure, Dive Medes Island, Cave Story, Max Magic Marker, Jett Rocket, Reel Fishing, ThruSpace, HoopWorld, Art Style series, Bearsworth Manor, Blaster Master OD, Phoenix Wright, WarioWare, Castlevania Rebirth, Dracula UA, Monkey Island, Frogger, Mecha Wars, NyxQuest, Arkanoid, Gradius Rebirth, Puzzle Bobble plus, Water Warfare, Rainbow Islands, Adventure Island, Bubble Bobble plus, Texas hold em tournament, Snowboard Riot, Strong Bad, World of Goo, Alien Crush Returns, Star Soldier. The list goes on and on and we are still hopeful for Retro City Rampage, La Mulana and this Micro Machines racer coming soon. These great games are 40mb and under with no complaining from developers. As you can see WiiWare has given us alot for a service everyone is writing off :) roll on Wii U roll on baby.

Chris720

#72

Chris720 said:

@Sony_70 What has Window's Phone have to do with this?

The Wii was Nintendo's first verge into online gaming and media downloads. Everyone has to start off somewhere and build it into something better. Don't forget, Ninty never follows the crowd and does it their own way, whether their customers like it or not.

The WiiWare platform was a good idea but handled poorly and launched on a system that didn't have the power to process big meaty games due to its limited memory size.

Nintendo has learned from this mistake and they've gone a long way in correcting that with the 3DS and the Wii U.

To be honest, I think your bashing for the sake of bashing.

SKTTR

#73

SKTTR said:

For developers, all their WiiWare games should get another chance on Wii U, just as DSiWare games are now part of the 3DS eShop.
For consumers WiiWare (and VC) games should be transferable to Wii U.

And I really hope for the future that developers will test their own games until they're able to complete them before submitting them to Nintendo! It can't be so hard to play through your own game at least once before releasing it to us critical gamers!

There are a few good WiiWare games that can't be 100% completed like And Yet It Moves and Dive, and I heard rumours about Bubble Bobble Plus! too, and there are a few pretty good games that could have been more fun if they had no freezing issues (MDK2, Family&Friends Party, Strong Bad, Monkey Island, Lead the Meerkats, Max & the Magic Marker, etc.)

This is the most important thing to me to make the service better. More freedom to allow developers updating their games.
Personally I found enough gems to keep me satisfied over the years, but that doesn't mean other people new to Wii know anything about it: Of course Nintendo has to push advertising for their DL platforms nonstop from now on. Wii U eShop should be a permanent "in-your- face" in the main menu of Wii U.

k8sMum

#74

k8sMum said:

@demonic said: Don't forget, Ninty never follows the crowd and does it their own way, whether their customers like it or not.

somewhere along the line, nintendo needs to show that they do care what their customers like. reggies' smug mug doesn't cut it anymore.

Slapshot

#75

Slapshot said:

@SethNintendo The last numbers I recall seeing has the Wii at about a 10-20% online connectivity, compared to the HD consoles 70+% connectivity rate. ;)

SethNintendo

#76

SethNintendo said:

@Slapshot
While this short article only deals with US I can safely assume that the online figures for each system are close to owners in Japan and Europe.

"By comparison, only 54 percent of Wiis have been connected to the internet,"

http://www.joystiq.com/2010/04/13/study-ps3-has-highest-percentage-of-online-systems-in-u-s/

The Nielsen study just makes it even more difficult to understand the true number of Wii systems that have been online.

"27 percent on the Wii"

http://www.industrygamers.com/news/nielsen-game-consoles-march-closer-towards-being-entertainment-hubs/

This number is closer to your guess but it is still a lot closer to 30% than 10 or 20%. If I had to guess I would say at least 1/3 Wii owners have connected their system to the net at one point in time which would mean about 30+ million systems.

kdognumba1

#77

kdognumba1 said:

The Wiiware had some serious problems in every area. They had to make a completely separate channel to display the kind of information that you'd expect to be in the shop (the Nintendo Channel) which made browsing the Wii Shop one of the most tedious and cumbersome online shopping experiences out there. Furthermore, the lack of demo support for retail and vc games and the limited amount of demo's that would go away over time for the Wiiware was extremely bad.

With those mentioned problems and the ones mentioned by Beamdog, a lot had to be changed. Luckily, the eShop delivered BIG TIME on this. Personally, using the eShop, I feel it has features that make the service right on par with the top tier online stores making the shopping experience quick and simple, keeping people up to date with what's new and what's hot, and helping promote developers games. There's not much I can find wrong with it and quite frankly, if the Wii U is only going to improve on this, I don't see myself worried or complaining about its online store and really can't see where developers and publishers would be worried or complaining about it either.

Slapshot

#78

Slapshot said:

@SethNintendo It's been awhile since I saw those numbers, so I'm sure they've gained a bit since then. But I do want to say that the 10% number was an estimate for Wii owners who've purchased something off of the WiiWare service (not free services/updates), but of course, these types of things are always taken with a grain of salt with Nintendo, as they refuse to release sales data on their digital services. ;)

DrDaisy

#79

DrDaisy said:

I'm sick of these arguments of how they'll get better next time. I don't like waiting for "the next system" to make improvements, I want improvements here and now. Refusing to fix problems or make improvements until they release their next systems is a big problem with Nintendo, one I'm really sick of. I don't want any more of this "we'll do better next time" crap! Do better this time!

Sean_Aaron

#80

Sean_Aaron said:

Personally I think Nintendo overreached with WiiWare. We have seen some great games for it and I own quite a few, but I think that they probably should have stuck with the Virtual Console for the download service If they didn't have the infrastructure to deliver a comparable service to that offered on other platforms.

I still think little of BeamDog's moans - they signed the contract and WiiWare had been around long enough that they should have known the risks. I think their opinion is fair, but honestly if you cannot accept the downside then don't sign the contract and go elsewhere with your product. If Nintendo sold them a bill of goods they'd have a case for legal damages, so it's pretty clear this is mostly sour grapes.

I do hope that Wii-U will have a better online shop, but if small developers decide to stay away that's not going to keep me from buying the system.

rayword45

#81

rayword45 said:

@MadAussieBloke Those games were good IN SPITE of the 40mb limit, not because of it.

Some games were forced to compress audio in order to fit all of the content (Helix was originally to have only 12 songs). Others had content cut out (Sonic 4: Episode 1)

Does anyone know about DSiWare sales/payment policy?

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