Wii Ware opens the door for indie developers

By Spencer . June 27, 2007 . 10:13am

wiiware.jpgRemember how the Nintendo Wii shop channel has a button for Wii Ware? So far only Opera and Nintendo has used that space to post up new channels, but in “early 2008” it is going to be a home for downloadable Wii games. The concept of Wii Ware is to let smaller teams develop creative (motion controlled?) games without having to worry about selling them on store shelves.


“Independent developers armed with small budgets and big ideas will be able to get their original games into the marketplace to see if we can find the next smash hit," says Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. "WiiWare brings new levels of creativity and value to the ever-growing population of Wii owners."


The possibility of indie games is tantalizing, but the Wii’s limited storage space might be creative restriction. There is only 512 MB of internal memory on the Wii compared to the gigabytes of space for downloadable content on the Xbox 360 and PS3. Nintendo can’t allow a game to suck up all of the Wii’s internal memory or even half of it. One likely solution is Nintendo is going to set an upper limit on how big Wii Ware games can be. The 64MB limit didn't stop original games from coming out on the Xbox 360, but it was one of the reasons Lumines ended up getting sold in annoying pieces.

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  • Daizyujin

    I have to admit it will be a welcome addition to the deluge of regurgitated releases of 15 year old games but I just can’t help but wonder how expensive they will be with Nintendo saying they will be the ones setting the prices. The VC is already so heavily overpriced compared to the content on the 360 and PS3. Only time will tell but I just can’t help but figure that Nintendo is going to have to release some kind of add on device to allow for increased storage.

  • @ Daizujin – I’m thinking the same thing about the expanded storage space. At the very least I imagine Nintendo will release a firmware update where you can boot applications from a SD card. Selling a hard drive is a tricky bet, since only a portion of users will buy the upgrade. You’re right about pricing too, but Nintendo can’t charge too much more than the PS3 or Xbox 360 prices. Right now the VC games fall into the same <$15 range and while lots of games feel over priced (NES Tennis for $5?) they haven't exceeded the taboo over $20 price point.

  • the_importer

    Nintendo is so afraid that people will copy their games on a Hard Drive, that’s why they said No.

  • JeremyR

    Yeah, all you have to do is look at the PSP to know why Nintendo won’t allow it more bootable storage. While I think the Wii has been hacked to boot from dvds, that requires a mod chip and is a whole lot more hassle for the average person. While in the PSP model, anyone can simply install new firmware and simply download games straight to their memory stick.

  • that guy

    I dont care! we need these games now, not in 2008

  • Jake

    The booting off of the sd card is stupid. it cant read that fast. Duu if you coppy somthing to it it takes about 1-2 min or for backing up an n64 game it takes 5 min at least

    then if you coppy everything to your computer. less then 1min to do it.
    Wii need a hard drive. or a frim were update that alows us to put a flash drive on the wii. 3rd party flash drivs and hard drivs

  • Ben

    I think its a great idea, it would be good if nintendo created a channel to run apps of a sd card, you know, for developers and people to run there code, and then they could give nintendo a look at it like a competition

    if nintendo upgraded the firmwire to allow usb’s to be used as hardware that would be awsome!

  • fern

    nintendo upgrading the firmware to allow usb’s to be used as hardware would be awesome, but extremely vulnerable to exploitation. if this happens you can most likely expect to see a way to play backups with only a softmod.

  • me

    Never will Nintendo allow the consumer to buy bootable storage for executing their own code. This can be exploited in so many ways. For example the PSP has been hacked from top to bottom and especially for the worse towards Sony ( i.e. bootlegged games and movies ) This could probably be only sold to developers.

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