(Almost) Everything You Wanted To Know About WiiWare

Wanting a little more meat on your WiiWare info's bones? Nintendo of America's Tom Prata's got your back. He's finally disclosed some of the more intimate details regarding the service, and while we still don't know how much games are going to cost or which games, exactly, are going to be available at launch, we do now know a whole bunch of other stuff.

100 Games: Prata says that there should be around 100 games "available" when the service launches on May 12. But there's a catch. They won't all be available at once, with Nintendo choosing to adopt a Virtual Console-style delivery method and deliver only a few titles at a time.

Bedroom Coders Need Not Apply: When the service was first touted, it sounded like it Nintendo were going to be accommodating small teams with big ideas. Not necessarily true. What they actually meant was small teams from big companies; you still need to be a licensed developer to get a game on the service, and becoming a licensed developer in Nintendo's eyes is neither easy nor cheap.

Feature Sets: Developers will have access to the Wii's full suite of functionality, but will be forced to use none of it. In other words, if a game wants to use Wii Connect 24, save to an SD card and feature online multiplayer, great! If it just wants to be downloaded and played with a GameCube controller, great.

No Demos: You won't get to try before you buy. WiiWare won't be allowing users to download and play demos of a game before purchasing, as Nintendo felt that forcing them to come up with a potentially costly demo ran against the whole point of the service. Instead, it sounds like they just want you to check the Everybody's Nintendo Channel (which must be launching before May 12), watch a trailer or two and make your purchasing decision based off that. Kinda sucky, but then since you can't demo VC games either, hardly surprising.
Wii Ware Interview [IGN]


Comments

    Umm, this seems to be the list of let downs about Wiiware instead of things we would want to know.

    Firstly, the 100 games being slowly released by Nintendo doesn't seem too bad. That is, if you haven't been gone through 4 weeks of single VC releases which we could have on WiiWare just as easily (or even not have any WiiWare games in some weeks).

    Secondly (and this is the big one IMO) not allowing indie groups/developers to make games on WiiWare has just alienated that entire group to the Xbox Live and Playstation Network groups. While its great to see companies like Square Enix and Telltale on board, we wont get our own 'Everyday Shooter' (as in small time games not made by the big companies).

    Thirdly, while its great that Nintendo isn't forcing every developer to use every aspect of the Wii, it doesn't seem that they are regulating any real kind of standard on WiiWare. Apart from getting their games rated for distribution Nintendo don't care if you make a game as broken as E.T for the 2600 (although when you have no one downloading your game I guess you would care in that case).

    And finally, the lack of demos. While it doesn't matter to me (I wouldn't miss them that much honestly, after all we used to buy games through solely word of mouth once upon a time) there are A LOT of people who do want to 'try before they buy'. The fact that the competition already has this system in place that works shows how little Nintendo want to progress into the online community.

    Sure I will be buying WiiWare games, after all who could resist an online enabled Dr.Mario game? But my point is that Nintendo needs to take a look at what other companies are doing for once (after all, these days people have slowed down with the 'zomg micro$oft and $ony copies others ideas' jokes)

    Well said Dark Moogle indeed. I agree completely...

    Except for this: 'Nintendo don't care if you make a game as broken as E.T for the 2600' Comeon, I've played that game and it's nowhere near as broken as many other games I've played. Meh, I guess we still get your point.

    Lacking demos is a pretty big letdown. I'm pretty much guaranteed not to buy anything from the store now. I never actually did it admittedly, but I'm very interested in buying some Xbox Live Arcade games based on the demos I've played (Geometry Wars, Lumines, etc.). And the thought that Nintendo isn't confident enough in their published products to let me test them before I pay is an indication something's wrong. I mean, every console has its share of shovelware, but the Wii has a very disproportionate amount to other consoles. There are some gems for sure - but I don't want to have to pay BEFORE deciding that.

    I'm no game developer (yet), but I don't see how demos are really that costly - Most demos are fine if they're just time limited with no save function. Seriously, does it cost that much to remove most of the levels and put a 'Buy the full version to keep playing!' message up at the end? Big deal!

    At least with the retail games I can play them at a demo kiosk or rent them first. This way, if a friend doesn't buy it, I either buy it on first impression, or don't.

    Also, not allowing small businesses to develop for WiiWare is a real kick in the crotch for the world. I don't blame companies for making a profit off their products, but if Nintendo really wanted to bring gaming to the masses and be innovative, they'd allow anyone who's good enough to develop for the console, not just the rich corporations - who no doubt will make loads of shovelware.

    This whole plan seems to go against Nintendo's philosophy. Not the worst thing I've ever heard, but still a dissapointment considering how much potential this platform had.

    @ Dark Moogle:

    I very much doubt Nintendo will have ET style games on the Wii.

    They might not be the best games, but they won't be broken games.

    Point 2 says "you still need to be a licensed developer to get a game on the service" which will prevent this very thing happening.

    They're the most stringent in terms of quality out of the Big Three, and be requiring companies to be licensed, they will prevent the ET quality games from appearing.

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