WiiWare Brings Independent Developers, New Downloadable Games to Wii

Original downloadable games are headed to Nintendo's Wii, courtesy of the company's newly announced WiiWare service. With titles distributed exclusively online through the online Wii Shop Channel, today's announcement claims WiiWare will provide a means "for smaller, more creative games to make their way to the public at lower prices" when the service launches in early 2008.

Due to the ease and cheap cost of online distribution relative to the expensive hassles of dealing with physical media, WiiWare opens the door for smaller independent studios to more easily see their titles made available on Wii.

"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," said Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime. "WiiWare brings new levels of creativity and value to the ever-growing population of Wii owners."

According to N'Gai Croal's Level Up, developers and publishers will be responsible for obtaining a content rating from the ESRB for their WiiWare offerings. Meanwhile, Nintendo itself will determine the pricing for each game and also run a title through a certification process to verify its stability.

"We're providing the venue and light of day for games that might not have gotten attention otherwise," Fils-Aime told Croal. "All our SDKs and dev tools are already--I don't want to call them inexpensive--they're darn near free to developers. This is unlike our competitors, where you have to spend a lot of money building high-res assets to be competitive. So in that sense, there's almost no cost to developers; the tools are already available at rock-bottom prices."