Japanese Wii U eShop Still Waiting for its First Download-Only Game
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
Those of us in the West are rather fortunate
It's a common refrain among gamers in the West, especially with 3DS games, to bemoan a number of rather interesting titles that either don't come out of Japan or, alternatively, take an age to do so. When you also take into account the number of attractive hardware revisions of the handheld, particularly, it can be tempting to say that the West is often deprived of some rare treats.
However, the shoe could be conceived as being on the other foot in Japan, with one example being the Wii U eShop. We may have liked to complain when a glut of launch download-only games was followed by a barren spell of around 6-8 weeks, with some new titles arriving with regularity since mid-late January. In Japan, however, Wii U owners are apparently preparing to enjoy their first download-only release — Nano Assault Neo.
This is due to a rule in the Japanese marketplace that developers need a company with majority ownership based in Japan to pick up publishing duties; this applies to 3DS, Wii U and also impacted on the Wii Shop. As a result the Japanese store is reportedly only populated by some retail downloads and the free-to-play version of Tank! Tank! Tank!; now Arc System Works is picking up Shin'en Multimedia's twin-stick arcade shooter, bringing it to Nintendo's homeland long after the equivalent launch day arrival in other territories.
It's pretty obvious why this publishing policy isn't used in the West, as it's simply too restrictive, so it's surprising that it's still the case in Japan. In any case, it seems that both regions have grounds for complaint in terms of game availability.