News Article

Vblank Entertainment Provides Sales Threshold Update for Retro City Rampage on WiiWare

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

"It hasn't made a cent in revenue yet"

Retro City Rampage was one of the last major releases to grace the WiiWare service, an anarchic top-down action title that brings to mind the original GTA titles and has enough '80s and '90s pop culture references to cause a nostalgia overload. It's arrived most recently in a definitive, heavily updated form on 3DS, re-branded as Retro City Rampage DX.

Vblank Entertainment's Brian Provinciano has said on multiple occasions that the latest 3DS version has proven to be a sales success, performing well and enhancing his interest in working on the portable in future. Unfortunately, the WiiWare version hasn't made any money due to the sales threshold on the service and the fact the title arrived — arguably — well after the Wii Shop's prime; Provinciano highlighted the issue to us last March and described the release as a "$20,000 gift to fans", before later clarifying that it had only reached a quarter of its sales target after its first month on sale. The scenario is simple, due to the sales threshold — since abandoned in the eShop stores — no money is given to the developer unless minimum unit sales are achieved, a policy with solid intentions at the Wii Shop's launch but has since backfired.

The one-man studio has now given an update on progress, highlighting how many copies still need to be sold to hit the threshold in both North America and Europe. It needs to hit its target in the first two years of release — so that'll be by 28th February 2015 — or all revenue is lost. The numbers are in the Facebook post below.

Thanks everyone for the support and making Retro City Rampage such a huge success!

Unfortunately, the WiiWare version hasn't done so well. While I knew the odds of releasing on this platform were stacked against me, it was a labor of love and I did it to keep my word, and for the fans. The challenge though, is that it hasn't made a cent in revenue yet, due to the WiiWare sales threshold. WiiWare games must sell a minimum number of units for the developer to be paid, and sadly, too few gamers buy WiiWare games.

Retro City Rampage for WiiWare is still 750 units from hitting the WiiWare sales threshold in North America (850 in EU). The threshold must be hit within the first two years, or the developer won't see a penny, and at the current rate, it won't reach it.

Especially if you downloaded a .wad and enjoyed the game, please consider buying a copy on WiiWare. Remember, you can grab it on both the Wii and Wii U (in Wii mode) via the Wii Shopping Channel.


It'll certainly be a disappointment if the title fails to reach that minimum target, with its Spring 2013 arrival on WiiWare clearly damaging its prospects. Success on 3DS and multiple other platforms should have, at least, eased the loss.

Do you have Retro City Rampage on WiiWare, or do you still plan to pick it up? Let us know, as we were certainly fans when it was released.


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User Comments (93)



Jelani said:

That's really disappointing to hear. At least this shows that the studio cares about its fans rather than the revenue. More indie developers need to follow that sort of model.



orravan85 said:

Well that sucks. Really wish they did much better. But that was kinda of a tough break porting to just the wii ware. I bought RCR:DX right away. Would have bought wii ware but I held out for that instead.



sillygostly said:

It's not available in the Wii Shop in Australia so there's nothing I can do to help. Considering that the game has been classified and released on 3DS and other platforms, why then, hasn't the game been released in the Wii Shop in Australia?

Of course, if the Australian Wii Shop has its own sales threshold (as opposed to being tallied with EU), then I totally understand why it was never released.



Emblem said:

WiiWare was dead before he even started porting, it was such a weird decision to make....

I bought the 3DS version so I'm glad that at least he will see more profit from that version.



Spoony_Tech said:

If I knew my buying it would make that difference then I would but there is no way to tell just yet. I hope he posts an updated total closer to the above date and if it's under 100 then I might bite but as of now that # is too high for me to just buy a game and let it sit there till I get around to it.

Btw, that policy sucks eggs! So what if it goes on to sell those copies shortly after the date? Why should Nintendo get to keep all the revenue for a game they didn't even create?! They really need to drop that 2 year crap and show how wrong it was to have that even though the devs knew that going in. To never get paid for your work is just not right!!



andrea987 said:

Well, Brian, you're in luck! I've still got quite a few eshop points sitting on my Wii-mode, so consider the Europe target closer by 1 unit.



TreesenHauser said:

I bought this on both PS3 and Wii. It's sad that the Wii iteration has basically flopped, wish more people would get it.

I just shared this article on Facebook with a plea for my Wii-owning friends to purchase it if they're looking for something new to play on there. Doubt it'll make an impact, but it's something, especially if even one person buys it.



Shotgunryugan said:

Shame, it's a very nice game, I bought it on Wiiware awhile ago, and I'm going to buy the 3DS version soon to support him.

Everyone get that game, it's good nostalgic fun!



ricklongo said:

It's a shame, but there's no two ways about it: it should have come to the Wii U e-Shop. That WiiWare policy is flat-out offensive for small start-up studios, plus they released it way too late into the Wii's life cycle. Yes, people can get it on Wii U's Wii Mode, but I for one tend to avoid that like the plague, since I really dislike having to switch to the old wiimote instead of the more traditional controlling scheme of the gamepad or pro controller.

The recent influx of awesome Wii U e-Shop games is also a problem. With my current backlog, I find it hard to justify booting Wii Mode just to get this game, when I can simply get it on my 3DS.



siavm said:

I would help but I have to big a back catalog of games on all the systems I have. And I think I may have got this in a psn flash sale. Maybe he should talk to nintendo about having a sale on it. Like a week sale for a $1 and its equivalent around the world. Maybe that could bring him a step closer to making profit on it.



unrandomsam said:

@Spoony_Tech But yet from the point of view of the consumer. Wiiware generally isn't buggy. (Unlike eshop stuff that seems anything is allowed regardless of if it even works.) Something needs to be done about people releasing buggy junk on the eshop and not fixing them. (Not paying until it is fixed would probably work).



MAB said:

It would have been more effective releasing this on the Wii U shop during the so called drought



KodyDawg said:

I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I feel kinda bad if he doesn't sell te copies. On the other hand, though, there's no way people are gonna buy an inferior version when they can get the 3DS version, with extra features and portability.



AyeHaley said:

I already bought it on 3DS (love it!) but now I kinda want to buy it on WiiWare to help out. (I was hoping they passed the sales threshold by now :/)



bezerker99 said:

I have a PS3 but I waited and downloaded it onto my Wii.
I also have it on PS3 because it recently went on sale for .99 cents.
I want the DX version on 3DS but my interest in this game is so fargone I doubt it will ever return.



SKTTR said:

Worth it for the soundtrack alone!
There were a few WiiWare games with amazing music (World of Goo, La-Mulana, My Life as a King, Cave Story, Art Style games, etc.) and Retro City Rampage's rocky 8-bit tunes are somewhere up there in my Top Ten "Best WiiWare Music" category.

I bought it during the Wii/WiiU software drought early 2013 when it was released on WiiWare.



ajcismo said:

Its WiiWare, what did he expect? This is like a band making an album, getting it out on cassette and wondering why nobody is buying it.



MakeMyBiscuit said:

I did my part. I bought the Wii version as well. Like others have said, that threshold policy sucks



vonseux said:

It was delayed so many times and released first on xbox... so, its sad... but dont think it will be moving 750 units next semester. All faults are on decelopers tough. Very bad timming. I wish nintendo would invest on the studii for a new exclusive game.



JaredJ said:

I picked this up on ps3 but will now consider a WiiWare purchase. Really the WiiWare version should have been cancelled in favor of a Wii U eshop release.



accc said:

They should start a campaign to raise awareness. It could easily get the extra sales it needs with a small push. Worst case, they could do a contest to give away a few hundred extra copies. I remember the developer of some crappy Robin Hood game did this.



Dpishere said:

Unfortunately though I do not own the game yet, if I did I would get it on 3DS. Not planning on getting it on WiiWare.



thesilverbrick said:

I'll bite. The reviews are good enough and I think, age-wise, I'm part of the target audience for the cultural references. Now I just have to boot up that awful old Wii Shop Channel...



Iggly said:

The more I look back, the Wiiware is pretty strict when it comes to profit. Even though the eShop is better for devs, would be nice if we got less Shovelware like Fit Music and got more quality games like Shovel Knight and Guacamelee.



retro_player_22 said:

It would be great if Nintendo just merge the Wii Shop with the Wii U eShop for Wii U, that way we don't lose on WiiWare classic like this game.



Morph said:

If this had been on the Wii u eshop I might have considered it, but it isn't and there's a superior version on the 3DS. I know he wanted to keep his word which is commendable, but he can't be surprised that it hasn't reached the targets needed yet. Plus he's still got 8 months for it to happen, maybe he should have pitched it at a lower price



burninmylight said:

With that sales threshold on WiiWare, I don't see why any dev would ever bother. No help advertising, very limited audience (a ton of people who bought the Wii didn't even know about the Wii shop!), a 40MB size limit on your game, and you have to reach an unrealistic sales number before you ever see a dime? Yeah right.

Nintendo, you've been getting a lot of good PR and positive vibes from indies lately, but you'd get even more if you agreed to allow every dev who published a WiiWare game free licensing to port that game over to your current eShop, so long as it is QC tested and receives necessary graphical and control enhancements. I'm sure a lot of folks were burned by WiiWare.



Captain_Gonru said:

I did my part the day it launched on WiiWare. Through my Wii U. And somehow, the universe didn't collapse in on itself.



uhhhhhhhh said:

hate to sound like a jerk here, but what the heck were they thinking releaseing it on wiiware?????



Zach said:

People asking what they were thinking need to mentally place themselves back in the time when this was leading up to release. WiiWare was mentioned from the start — if I remember correctly, it may have originally been an exclusive. As fans always do when discussing games that go from Nintendo-exclusive to multiplatform, people wondered if it would release on Wii at all and got ready to curse the developer for being one in a large group that supposedly doomed the WiiWare service to obscurity by pledging support and then jumping ship. To quote a forum post on the game's page from late 2010, "the intent of this game ,was to scare competitors into never making the above mentioned canceled game. Why? Because Im sure this dood wrote a little bit of code for the game, but come on, lets be real, its like if you are not ready to release it, then do not give a date, do not give us false hope!" Granted this is from a user who often posted similar remarks on other games that looked like they might not end up coming out at all, but many shared his sentiments. Wondering why he ended up releasing this on WiiWare at all is a bit like wondering why Ubisoft released Rayman Legends on Wii U at all, albeit on a different scale. Promises like Brian's to release on this platform are forgotten years later, but when a developer hurts their fans, they remember. It's a shame that people still curse those who made "intelligent" decisions to abandon Nintendo consoles and yet scratch their heads at those that follow through, despite the odds and everything else. Just look at Mega Man Legends 3... people still lament that game's demise. Again, different scale, but same concept. So, I for one am going to buy this game on WiiWare, though I already got it on PS3. I hope he makes the money he deserves off this release, I really do.



Captain_Toad said:

Mad props to him putting it to wiiware in the first place since well it was promised some time ago.
That being said good riddance to wiiware and I hope to never see its face again.



Yosher said:

@ULTRA-64 I THINK it cost me 1500, but I'm not entirely sure on that. But either way the NintendoLife page mentions 1000 points up there, so it might have just been that, too; I'm not sure if they ever lowered their price.



HandheldGuru97 said:

I have it on the 3DS and loved it to pieces, while I wouldn't play that much on Wii Mode on my U...I'll grab a point card next paycheck and I'll buy it. I want this game to succeed, so why not.



Hy8ogen said:

Not trying to sound like a smart @ss, but what were they expecting when they are releasing a title on a dead platform? They should have released on the Wii U eshop instead of WiiWare. Just my 2 cents.

Yes you can access the Wii mode in Wii U, but honestly who does that? People go into the Wii mode for 1 reason, playing their physical Wii games. They do not shop in that channel anymore.



MortalKombat2007 said:

I already bought it off Wiiware, and Playstation Network. I plan to pick up the 3DS version eventually..and maybe Steam when it goes on sale.



Yosher said:

@Knuckles Okay, so memory doesn't serve me very properly in this case then, hah! I'd say buy it, though. It's certainly worth it!



Squiggle55 said:

How does the sales threshold work? After it hits the threshold he gets a big hunk of cash for all the games that have been sold already, getting back all of his investment at once? That is an insane policy. I'm sure someone has mentioned it already, but he should have made the fans put their money where there mouth is first if they were ragging on him for potentially not releasing on wiiware. Make a Kickstarter page and have them prebuy a wiiware copy with a 20k goal.



Kirk said:


Most indies aren't in a position to actually create and basically give away entire games for free. They don't just do it for the sake of wasting a few months/years of their lives so you can get a freebie. You expect far too much.



AVahne said:

Bought the Vita version, but I'll help him out and buy the WiiWare version when I get home.



WaveGhoul said:

He should of waited and released it on the Wii U's eShop. heck, he still can.
Good to hear with his success though on the 3DS's eShop. Such a game deserves a retail release.



DreamOn said:

I think I've read about this "$20,000 gift to the fans" one too many times now for it to really have been a gift lol. But I can understand the sting of the last 5% of sales tying up the payout.



ZesuBen said:

Hmm. Well, he definitely should have released it on the eShop rather than WiiWare, and I think he realizes that. Still, I feel bad for the guy. People should make money off their products.

I'm gonna pick it up, then, as soon as I can. Maybe boost those numbers a little.



thedanman64 said:

Got it on both Wiiware and PS3 so I've done my part.
Here's hoping it won't discourage Brian from developing future games for Nintendo systems.



JaxonH said:

Ya know, as much as people will be quick to bash the old policy on Wii, I kind of agree with it.

I mean, it protects the integrity of the library against garbage and shovelware, which can drown out and suffocate the good releases. Then that garbage and shovelware leaves a bad taste in people's mouths, and people quit spending money in the digital store.

Now admittedly, the threshold should have been lowered substantially, and perhaps even dependent on the stage of the console's lifespan- in the first and last year the threshold could be cut in half, for example. But the problem with removing the threshold completely is you end up with all the crap too.

An alternative to the threshold is to be discriminant in which games you allow on the platform. But that can set the stage for hard feelings and grudges. Idk, there's gotta be a good way to keep the crap off the system. Abundance of shovelware hurts everyone.



RadioShadow said:

I hate to admit it, but the PS3 and Xbox 360 are way more popular, and most people would go and download that version. Plus you get to option of playing in HDMI (720p) instead of Component (480p). Leaving the WiiWare version to be the least popular version. So it's not surprising it isn't doing well.

I did buy the 3DS version however, so no point in downloading the WiiWare version.



chiptoon said:

Of course some of us bought much earlier on other systems. Its nice on my Vita, why would I double dip?



8BitSamurai said:

Bought the Steam version, but I'm kinda disappointed to see the WiiWare version doing so bad when he put so much effort into it. A real shame, too bad it didn't work out a little better for him, it's a fun little game.



Paintfrog said:

I have it on Wiiware. I won the game when it first came out. It's really fun and I feel bad that it isn't doing too well.



Einherjar said:

Im also one of the first people who bought it as soon as it popped up in the Wii shop. But to be honest, releasing it there was not a good idea.
RCR heavily depends on a certain amount of nostalgia and insight of certain gaming tropes and memes. So, in other words, its main audience were gamers.
And many of them had either abandoned the Wii because it was pretty much "discontinued" at this point, both in retail and digital releases or jumped onto the WiiU and were focused on its own eShop.
All in all, its release was mostly known among people who follow sites like this and "avoided" the general public.
Why it wasnt delayed for a bit and pushed onto the WiiU eShop is beyond me.
So yeah, i still heavily respect VBlanc for going the way they intended to, but the odds were very clearly against them from the start.



SahashraLA said:

I bought it through Wii mode's WiiShop. Along with Konami's Rebirth series, some WiiWare titles (World of Goo, Toki Tori), and all the great SNES SqEnix RPGs that are, frankly, probably never going to release on the Wii U. So that's what, 2 dozen games? Eventually, I picked up copies of both Xenoblade Chronicles, Muramasa and The Last Story, so I ended up picking up Sin & Punishment, a few Neo Geo titles and a couple of the Turbographx's shooters and Bomberman.
It's really not that big of a deal for me, it honestly seems like an entitlement thing for those who do have such issues. Xbox 360? THAT was terrible emulation and backwards compatibility, even if the game loaded straight up. PS4? Paid emulation rentals, no physical support. Xbox 1? Is that ever coming? And how crappy will it be?
In comparison, it doesn't make the Wii U seem so bad, but 'core' Nintendo fans are a pack of braying donkeys, complaining about everything under the sun like it's the sun's fault.



SahashraLA said:

Did I exclude the PS3? You know, the system that Sony cut PS2 support from within the first 2 years? YEAH. PS1 support was great, but that system was just as big a failure as the Wii U and for alot longer too.



BulbasaurusRex said:

@KodyDawg I bought it on WiiWare when it first came out, but even if I hadn't I'd still get the WiiWare version instead of the 3DS version. What do I care about portability when I can play on a large TV screen instead of a tiny handheld screen? The improvements in the DX version aren't enough to justify it in my opinion.



BulbasaurusRex said:

Oh, I know, I'll gift the game to my sister for her birthday in November. She and her husband should enjoy it.



JaredJ said:

even though I purchased the ps3 version, after reading this article I purchased the WiiWare version on Wii U.



MadAdam81 said:

@BulbasaurusRex that quote makes a great advert for the Wii edition, but I'm from Australia, and the reason it's not available here is the ridiculous cost of getting it classified - each version and platform -even if identical - has an expensive and lengthy classification process. Thankfully they are looking at changing to the US free and quick classification for small download titles.



Zombie_Barioth said:

They're not "paid emulation rentals", its just a rental service, basically a digital version of Blockbuster video. It won't be limited to just PS4 either.

The PS3 was $600, the PS2 itself was still retailing for $100, so it was either cut the fat and lose backwards compatibility or $200 a pop on a machine people weren't buying because it was too expensive and had poor support.

Really thought, I don't get the point of either of your posts. It has nothing to do with the topic at hand, or the Wii shop for that matter. All I got out of it was a "don't criticize this thing, everything else was even worse" type of argument. It doesn't help either side.



Mr_Saturn said:

I also got it on release day. It had been the game to wait for for so long before then that I knew I needed to get it immediately.



derickw69 said:

@Hy8ogen while you yourself may not spend your money on the Wii Shop, that doesn't mean everyone else doesn't. I've had my Wii U since August 2013 and my most recent purchase was Majora's Mask just last week. Might not be your cup of tea but that doesn't speak for everyone sir.



audiobrainiac said:

This situation is a real shame. The guy obviously makes games because he loves it. I love the DX 3DS version SO much and i'd love to help him out but, i don't want an inferior Wii version. I'd like to have the DX version on Wii U. I'd buy that on day one at twice the price! Nintendo's policy on this really blows though.



Sean_Aaron said:

I was originally going to give it a pass because I was firmly focused on Wii U when it released, but I ended up making a day one purchase anyway. I'd definitely buy it again on the Wii U so I do hope he'll consider a port on the friendlier eShop.



Geonjaha said:

@Yosher - unless of course you're a PC gamer. I bought Skyrim for around £5 not too long ago, imagine what indie games can go for.



Kirk said:


Your use of the word 'model' was what confused me as to your exact meaning. I thought you were talking about it's business practice [model] of giving away it's game for free in this particular case and suggesting more developers need to do similarly (make and distribute their games without really caring if they ever make a profit). My apologies however.



unrandomsam said:

@Kirk A company the size of Nintendo should every now and then make something throwing any economic considerations out of the window. That sort of thing is done by people in film for example every now and then. Sega did Shenmue. It could be seen as an advertisement for the console. (Take the cost out of the marketing budget).



TTGlider said:

I bought it and beat it on Wiiware a while back. Outstanding game that was meant to be on a Nintendo platform. I'm glad I had it when it came out rather then waiting two more years for a hypothetical WiiU version. I like how he calls out the filthy pirates, too. They really do need to understand actions have consequences.



Kirk said:

The whole problem here is Nintendo's policy and nothing else. I know they've updated recently but surely they should also backwards apply it to companies and games like this that are still on the store and just waiting to reach a threshold that might never come. Why should Nintendo get all this developers money that's it's f'n earned with sweat, blood and tears?



Yosher said:

@Geonjaha I don't use Steam. I'm 99.9% Nintendo gamer; the other 0.1% being for the rare occasion I want to play PlayStation exclusives, and that's only a handful worth of games; Final Fantasy titles (especially IX), Resident Evil 5, and Croc.

But hey, that's nice for Steam users.



ToxieDogg said:

Just downloaded it from WiiWare on my Wii U. Maybe I won't make a difference but I've been on the fence about getting this for a while so decided to take the plunge. I do think it would have seen more success on the Wii U E-Shop though, and being the last console version (not counting 3DS) to come out along with the Wii E-Shop being on life support and better availability on other systems (such as being included in PSN sales and PC Humble Bundles) really didn't help. But I do wish Nintendo would retrospectively change it's policy and give him any money it's earned as well, regardless of whether it's met 'targets' or not.



FJOJR said:

It would be nice if Nintendo had integrated the Wii Shop to the Wii U eShop much like what was done connecting the DSi Shop to the 3DS eShop. Then a lot of the obscure and hidden gems of WiiWare could get a 2nd chance. Heck even the VC games that won't be enhanced with restore points and such could see more life.



electrolite77 said:


What a ludicrous statement. Customers who've paid their own hard-earned money for a system and want better services in return are 'braying donkeys?' Absolutely stupid. Do you work for EA by any chance?



Cathousemaster said:

This is only one of "many" games on WiiWare to fall into the same category. And I'm speaking from experience here...

I originally suggested to Nintendo they allow WiiWare developers caught by the threshold trap to trade sales for credit towards WiiU devkit equipment.

Brian is brave to quote hard sales figures though - technically breaching his contract.

Must pick this up on the 3DS at some point, assuming its available in Australia.



Cathousemaster said:

Nice idea, but they would have to extend that to all developers. And that is likely to cost them millions... there will be hundreds of games on WiiWare in the same boat.

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