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New WiiWare Information Sheds Light on File Sizes, Profit Sharing, Limitations


New details on the inner workings of Nintendo's WiiWare program have surfaced, providing a glimpse at Nintendo's strategy for the channel that will specialize in new, original downloadable games.

When the online store goes live in 2008, developers will be free to price their games as they see fit, IGN editors Matt Casamassina and Mark Bozon reported on their latest Wii-k in Review podcast. However, developers will face a strict size limit of 40MB. Perhaps surprisingly given the system's limited internal flash memory of 512MB, the per-game cap is just shy of Xbox Live Arcade's original 50MB game limit, which was recently tripled.

Speaking of money, the IGN duo claims that Nintendo is offering developers a 65:35 split on the game's profits, with Nintendo taking the lesser figure. Budgets for WiiWare titles are said to fall between $50,000 and $150,000, with most of them under $100,000.

Nintendo is reportedly encouraging smaller file sizes by tying the game's file size to the sales it must meet before the company pays the developer. The theory is that the smaller the game, the shorter the development cycle and the sooner the developer gets paid, with Nintendo apparently recommending 16MB as an ideal file size.

Though Nintendo can act as a publisher for WiiWare titles, another option for cash-strapped studios is to partner with a third party publisher. Publishers are supposedly offering a variety of deals to WiiWare developers, including one-time deposits and the possibility of profit-sharing.

While the barrier for entry is apparently quite low, Nintendo is said to be imposing a one game a month limit for all developers in hopes of discouraging a deluge of sub-par products.

Chris Faylor was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    November 13, 2007 3:35 PM

    While this is less than the 360's, you know the art assets have to be smaller since the wii aims at a lower resolution. I wonder if anyone out who actually knew the numbers could pipe up?

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      November 13, 2007 4:07 PM

      Which numbers?

      • reply
        November 13, 2007 5:10 PM

        Of the size differences between average wii and 360 art resources

        • reply
          November 13, 2007 10:31 PM

          If you have a fullscreen background image, for a 360 that's probably going to be a 1280x720 24/32 bit image. For the Wii it would probably be 720x480 potentially even 15 bit. Granted that's sort of a best case scenario, though.

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      November 14, 2007 10:02 AM

      Just look at the casual PC market. The cut-off point has traditionally been 10mb (this has changed in the past couple of years), and the targeted resolutions are similar. For example, Bejeweled 2 is a 10mb download. Peggle is 14mb.

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