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Round Table: Let's Talk About The Wii U eShop

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

A new era of downloads

This week we've been publishing an extensive range of Developer Interviews with all of the indie studios that released download-only games at launch on the Wii U eShop. Naturally, there's been plenty to talk about, so some of the Nintendo Life team decided to weigh in with their thoughts.

Joining features editor Tom Whitehead for a chat were reviews editor Mike Mason, retro editor Corbie Dillard and US reviewer Ron DelVillano. Please bear in mind that this conversation took place before this week's download update in North America, so references to a lack of price discounts in the region were accurate at the time and are retained here to keep the right context. There's also some silliness and censored profanity to look out for, too. Enjoy!

Tom: First of all, please introduce yourselves to our lovely readers.

Corbie: I'm Corbie Dillard, Retro Editor for Nintendo Life. Hardcore old school all the way.

Ron: I'm Ron DelVillano, US based reviewer and team stud.

Mike: I'm Mike Mason, Reviews Editor and Funky Barn specialist.

Tom: And I'm Tom, the features editor who'll be winging it and making up questions as I go...

OK, so what was your very first reaction when you loaded up the Wii U eShop?

Corbie: Is that before or after I stopped giggling like a little school girl?

Tom: That would be after, Corbs...

Mike: I was impressed by the layout — really easy to spot everything, big images everywhere and not an intrusive advert in sight.

Corbie: I too loved the layout and simple menu system. Very easy to navigate and shop.

Ron: The first thing I noticed was that there was a boat load of content, but I thought navigation was sort of a pain, and I still do.

Mike: It was great to see the games from independent developers slotted right in next to the big publishers' titles.

Tom: That was the first thing that struck me, Mike. Seeing Trine 2 next to ZombiU seemed peculiar, initially, but excellent at the same time.

Mike: Of course, Mario got pride of place at the top as expected...

Corbie: I think just seeing some really good content on day one was exciting.

Tom: In terms of the layout, Ron, what bothers you in particular?

Ron: I like that the indies are mixed in with the retail titles, but it's difficult to spot the eShop specific titles mixed in.

Tom: I do tend to agree with that, it's just game art everywhere, with some non-descript titles dividing things. I'd prefer clearer categories. Corbie/Mike, what are your thoughts on that?

Corbie: I think it could be much more streamlined, but it looks like Nintendo wanted to make it big and visual for more casual users not used to using the online shop.

Mike: There's always room for more categories. At the moment I'm finding eShop-only titles by clicking the 'Under £20' button, but that might not be viable forever.

Tom: I guess this is the first time that Nintendo's catered for a range of retail games alongside download-only titles right from the off. It seems harsh on indies, to me, that they're bundled in directly alongside the big boys.

Mike: I quite like it that way myself, it gives them equal importance.

Corbie: I do too Mike. Gives those indies some showcase time with the big boys. Doesn't make them feel like such an afterthought.

Mike: Some of the eShop only games deserve to be going toe-to-toe with retail games already, so I'm happy to see them there. That said, it would be good to have easier ways to filter things out.

Corbie: I agree, at least as an option.

Tom: I'm actually coming at it from a different angle. I don't only think they should be toe to toe with the big games, but they should be prioritised above them. This is their primary marketplace after all.

Corbie: Exactly Tom. This is their only means of sale, so they need some exposure.

Tom: But that's my point, I feel they're being dominated by recognisable brands. Retail should be relegated to a selection area below download exclusives.

Corbie: Ah, so you want to see the big boys not as prioritized, to give the downloads a chance. That's a good point.

Ron: I actually like that the download-only games are mixed in with the retail titles for the sake of respect being given to them, but I'd also like to see the DL titles given a specific section so they're easier to locate in the eShop.

I actually like that the download-only games are mixed in with the retail titles for the sake of respect being given to them, but I'd also like to see the DL titles given a specific section so they're easier to locate in the eShop.

Mike: I would always prioritise download-only titles in a shop environment like this, but I do find it quite interesting to see the two categories mixed together. If there's a balance and retail games don't swamp out the download titles, I don't mind it as it is.

Ron: Another thing with the layout, I'd also like to see a separate header for demos. I know there are only about three on there right now, but they're not easy to find unless you know exactly what you're looking for.

Mike: I think there is a 'Demo' button on the EU eShop — is there not one on the NA one?

Ron: Mike, where do you see the demo button?

Mike: On the EU shop at least, there are category buttons tucked right away at the bottom of the eShop. They're not easily noticeable, though.

Tom: Let's talk about these early download-only games. Firstly, what's your broad impression of what we've seen so far?

Corbie: I think we've seen a great group of titles with some really amazing gaming experiences in the mix. I've downloaded several titles and so far not a bad one in the bunch. Not as much filler as I expected this early on.

Mike: I'm with Corbie. Having played most of them so far, I'd say that the starting line-up is incredibly strong. Good mix of styles, too.

Ron: I completely agree. The quality of eShop titles so far has been outstanding. I'd obviously love to see more of them now that a month has gone by since launch, but I'm still enjoying what we've got.

Tom: I've only played two of them so far, Little Inferno and Nano Assault Neo, but they're a good example of that variety you're talking about. To see half a dozen strong titles to kick it off is encouraging, much better than the early days of the 3DS eShop.

Mike: I'm kind of worried that I'm going to end up spending a lot of money on the eShop, based on the starting point.

Corbie: Good to see Nintendo getting some quality download titles out this early. But I too would like to see some more.

Tom: Patience is a virtue...

Corbie: That's what people keep telling me!

Ron: I'd also like to see some sales on the North American content just to get more people interested in purchasing them.

Corbie: Especially after people just threw down $300+ for the console.

Tom: That is a strange one, Ron. On the flipside, this week's EU sale irritated me. I bought a three-week old game and its price was confirmed to be slashed the next day. Frustration is definitely the word. Too early for sales?

Corbie: Not with the holidays coming on strong and everyone being broke soon!

Ron: I think it is pretty early for sales, but they're already happening in EU, and you guys haven't even had the console as long as us North Americans!

Corbie: Agreed Ron.

Tom: What do you think, as a fellow European, Mike?

Mike: There were sales on day one, so I'd say it's not too early; it's really good for those early sales boosts and for pushing activity on the eShop as a whole. It's always irritating when that happens, though.

Corbie: But that's always the case with us early adopters. We know that could happen going in.

Mike: It does make me a little cautious about putting money down though, at the same time.

Tom: It was interesting that two opted for sales and 3-4 didn't, I wonder whether the other devs knew that Puddle and Trine 2 were coming in with their own special discount category on day one in the EU store?

Mike: I doubt it, otherwise everybody would have been getting on it I reckon!

Tom: Exactly. I also agree with Mike’s earlier point, I'm cautious about buying Mighty Switch Force, in case it gets reduced next week.

Mike: The impression I get from developers is that it's an 'ask and you'll get' situation for European sales, not something that Nintendo offered to everybody as a starting package; hence Chasing Aurora and Little Inferno hopping on sales a few weeks later after seeing the placement of Trine 2 and Puddle on the front page.

Corbie: Just depends on how badly you want it and how fast. There's always the chance that these games will get discounts in the near future, especially with these indie developers needing to get sales.

Tom: At least in North America gamers know what's going on, though naturally want stuff cheaper! It certainly doesn't seem to be particularly structured or planned in the EU.

Mike: I'm quite happy, because I was waiting for sales of both the games this week...

Corbie: I think the sales would probably be more effective in January after everyone has blown all their money on Christmas shopping; sales typically lag in January.

On page two we talk about pricing, retail downloads, our favourite Wii U eShop games so far and hopes for the Virtual Console.

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User Comments (38)

Void

#1

Void said:

Why do tables always have to be round? Whats wrong with squares, rectangles or hexagons? :P

Skotski

#2

Skotski said:

@Void
Because then there'd be an obvious head of the table.
Then people would pick sides, and play favorites, then we'd all shatter into our own little guilds, swearing loyalty to only certain authors and editors. A war soon breaks out, destroying the crops, the cultures, and the spirits. Entire nintendolives are ruined... all because you wanted a hexagon table.

King_Boo

#7

King_Boo said:

I'm thinking Nintendo wants to put out double dash and melee(along with games like F-zero GX) in HD but with online, and for that added investment they'll probably go retail. That doesn't explain why no zelda, or super mario sunshine, or a dozen others.
It's a way better option then feeding people people bland mini games that are only somewhat like the full games.

cornishlee

#8

cornishlee said:

Sorry to have to ask this again but I keep getting contradictory replies when I bring it up.

So, virtual console games: are games available on the Wii shop available on the Wii U shop? and, are titles purchased on the Wii transferable to the Wii U?

SCAR392

#9

SCAR392 said:

@Void
Tables can be any shape just for the record. Everyone is equal where ever they sit at any shaped table, whether they think so or not.
Anyways... The eShop is great. I trust Nintendo will do the right thing.

Linkstrikesback

#10

Linkstrikesback said:

@Cornishlee

Yes, you can transfer all titles (It has to be all) that you bought on a wii to your wii u. You need an SD card to do it. You also HAVE to access the games through a second "Wii menu" on the Wii U, rather than on the main menu.

it's very convoluted.

I hope nintendo pulls their finger out, fixes it so Wii Virtual Console/Wiiware games can be booted from the main menu, AND support off TV play (at least for VC games, which don't need motion controls!).

Though Nintendo can bugger off if they think i'm paying a penny for any game I already downloaded on Wii for off tv play, but I wouldn't be surprised.

SCAR392

#11

SCAR392 said:

@King_Boo I doubt they'll update old games, when they already have new games of that series coming out. They could show up on a GCN VC, but not with added features besides maybe Miiverse, Home Menu pause, and restore points. Maybe wireless LAN for Mario Kart DD, but no online.

jahasnell

#12

jahasnell said:

If you have the deluxe set there essentially IS a discount on retail downloads. As long as you download one retail game, the next game will be $5 off an so on. On another note, I'd like to be able to control the menus with the pro controller. I shouldn't be able to open an app with the pro controller if I'm not able to navigate the app with that controller!!!!

cornishlee

#13

cornishlee said:

@Linkstrikesback
Thanks, that clarifies things somewhat and also helps to explain the contradictory responses I've been getting. The idea of a separate "Wii menu" is just plain odd but it's not enough to put me off upgrading; I don't expect they'll change it though even if it is just as annoying and considerably less understandable than the SD card menu on the Wii. You never know though, we can only hope I'm proven to be incorrect.

skjia

#14

skjia said:

Just a word of caution to anyone transfering vc titles to the Wii U; The vc games will be stretched to the wrong aspect ratio and the only fix is to change the resolution of the Wii U to 480 and 4:3, which is very cumbersome. Some people don't mind or notice it but some of us can't stand playing games in the wrong aspect ratio...

Slapshot

#15

Slapshot said:

Great Round Table guys! Y'all cracked me up on that the back side with "f*** it" bits. Haha

Schprocket

#17

Schprocket said:

Is there a European 4-hour download window for the pod-cast?......

Just joking, guys, just joking :)

Good read, good points.

Just keep in mind sometimes that for whatever reason the eShop games are released an a seemingly haphazard manner so there are still some regions, such as the Euro Sub-regions Australia & New Zealand who will on the rarest of occasion have the odd title before you guys but as is the case with Trine 2 - and it's by an Aussie developer - we still don't have it.

When I read the comment about Trine 2 online, it only made me want it more!

In agreement about Chasing Aurora - it's inital price put me off so I haven't even bothered reading "on-sale" reports until now, so that's downloading as I type :)

I sometimes wonder if it'd be any good if the team could get an Aussie and/or Kiwi on the team - and maybe a Japanese correspondent - just to round out the release reporting.
Not being critical of the great job you guys do at Nintendo Life but this planet is a pretty big place and the people who inhabit it don't all get the same experience... ;)

gojiguy

#20

gojiguy said:

I just hope the VC is updated and integrated and we can transfer our old purchases over without having to enter "wii mode"... :(

iroxursox

#21

iroxursox said:

man i love the wii u shop and how simple it is. i also agree with how they love the wii u :xX

Lobster

#22

Lobster said:

Excellent round table. That last line cracked me up!

Also want a Demo button in NA eShop!

DrMonk

#23

DrMonk said:

Great work this week on the eShop series of articles. It's been interesting getting multiple perspectives on the eShop launch. Personally, I don't mind the layout, but agree quick buttons to key sections along the top or side would be great, and also speed needs to be improved. Obviously it is Nintendo's best online shop yet though.

FluttershyGuy

#24

FluttershyGuy said:

I know nothing about Wii U eShop. I may actually visit it if they ever get Wii U VC up and running. I too am worried about having to rebuy a game for each and every system. So far, that's one thing I'll give to Sony, not making gamers buy something X number of times.

Marcus09

#26

Marcus09 said:

I wonder if they ever make the 3DS eshop like the Wii U's: meaning all existing titles will be downloaded as well. Because in some countries (like mine), not every title is available for retail. :(

MrYuzhai

#27

MrYuzhai said:

It may be Nintendo's best online offering thus far but it's still severely lacking.. both in terms of content and actual accessibility.. after numerous times of failing whilst trying to even connect to the eShop - I've given up..

Nintendo needs to get this sorted.. the problems are widespread and are affecting the entire system.. whether it's the eShop, YouTube or Miiverse.. the online connectivity is riddled with problems.. Countless times I've switched off the console after growing tired of trying and have instead switched on the PS3 (which I usually only use for movies).

cornishlee

#28

cornishlee said:

@skjia
Man, that is awkward. I have problems enough with my VC games disappearing off the bottom of the screen (but I'm pretty sure that's not the Wii's fault).

harman-smith

#29

harman-smith said:

Hope they do some hd classics soon like mario 64 or mario sunshine or the zelda series all in glorious hd

cornishlee

#30

cornishlee said:

All this "VC doesn't work" talk is making me question why I want to buy a Wii U after yule; there's still plenty of games I want to buy for the Wii (including both Zelda titles - I'm a late comer and only completed Ocarina a couple of days ago) whereas all I want for the Wii U right now is NBA 2K and perhaps Ninja Gaiden/Bayonetta.

cornishlee

#32

cornishlee said:

Something else I'd add to an eshop improvement wish-list (from my privileged position of not having used it yet) - the ability to convert star points, like we had for the Wii download catalogue. I have no wish or need for Nintendo figurines or other merchandise, so those "reward points" are pretty useless right now.

Beta

#33

Beta said:

My only complaint about the eShop is the how the retail downloads are more expensive than games sold at the retails (UK) -_-'

SKTTR

#34

SKTTR said:

Virtual Console and WiiWare offered through Wii U eShop, and downloaded to the Wii U Menu with its 32GB memory and USB storage. That's all I need to be happy again.

DePapier

#35

DePapier said:

Loved the round table and its atmosphere — kind of reminded me of those Iwata Asks, if you ask me. :)

BUT. PLEASE, DO NOT PUSH FOR HD REMAKES. PLEASE. It would kill those retro games big time, especially Wind Waker. I mean, I just saw my little brother play it through for the first time, and the artistic choice it was made upon make the game timeless. Another reason I want to emphasize this is because I have seen a remake of Perfect Dark for XBLA, and bringing my beloved shooter to HD to compare its old mechanics to the ways of modern day HD FPS takes out anything retro about the game. Same thing happened to Sonic Adventure 2 Battle and it just highlighted the flaws it had that were COMPLETELY acceptable at the time judging from the format on which it was released.
What I think is that the Wii U's Virtual Console should just be about re-releasing those old Gamecube games to be played with Pro Controller support at a cheap price (10 €/£/$ maximum). The GamePad would just stand there on its stand to access the Virtual Console's menu through its touchscreen, just like on the 3DS but with the screen remote yet still accessible enough to not be frustrated of not seeing that second screen be put to use in-game.

As for WiiWare titles to be accessible from the Wii U's own menu... I think they're best in the Wii menu. Reggie coined the Wii Menu as "a Wii built into the Wii U's system," and I think that in spite of the limitations it creates, it's a good approach to retro-compatibility: having a Wii inside the Wii U better emphasizes that Nintendo is taking a new direction while still valuing its former flagship home console, as a way to say "Wii was then, Wii U is now."

Stefuse

#36

Stefuse said:

now. I accidentally bought wii shop points on the nintendo wii u and i want it to go on my white old wii. how do i do that. i tried to attach my club nintendo account but it didn't work. my main question is how do i get wii u shop points on to my old nintendo wii?

theblackdragonAdmin

#37

theblackdragon said:

@Stefuse: If you're hoping for a refund or some way to switch things around, I do believe you're stuck. You can always try contacting Nintendo and seeing what happens, though. Good luck!

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