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WiiWare Anniversary

Written by M_the_C on Wednesday, 20 May 2009No Comment

Happy Birthday WiiWare!

It’s been one year since WiiWare was launched in Europe, it feels like it has been around for a lot longer.  I still remember the many threads created on the forums regarding this mysterious new development, everyone wondering what it could be.

WiiWare was to be a new way of designing games, similar to the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Store, the focus being on smaller games that took less time and money to create, hopefully opening up the way for smaller developers who could never have raised the money to release a traditional game.

Back when it was first launched there was only a very small selection of games, this was the original line-up:

  • Dr. Mario & Germ Buster
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles - My Life as a King
  • Lost Winds
  • Star Soldier R
  • Toki Tori
  • TV Show King

It looks such a small list, but as we know it was only the start.  Now there are sixty-four games available on the European WiiWare service, with many more in the pipeline.  There aren’t any figures available for WiiWare sales but the highest rated WiiWare game is World of Goo.  Whilst this game has seen success from many different avenues, as I posted back in March, 60% of the sales in 2008 came from the WiiWare channel.  Not all games have been this successful but there definitely are some gems on the service.

It was actually more than a year ago now, since DLC (Downloadable Content) was first made available for WiiWare games (1st April 2008, Japan), and yet very few games have made use of this feature.  It does seem like a missed opportunity.  Implemented correctly, DLC could allow you to buy the base game and then supplement it with add-on packs, allowing you to tailor the game to your tastes.  Of course many people will be pleased about this as DLC has always been a rather contentious issue, a lot of such content doesn’t offer much and charges well above it’s true worth.

Who knows what is in the future for WiiWare, we know there are more games on the way but are there going to be any new features?  Looking beyond the Wii, will WiiWare be playable on Nintendo’s next console?  Even though it is unlikely they will let you transfer the games for free.

So how successful do you think WiiWare has been?  Has it lived up to what we were told a year ago?  How many WiiWare games have you bought?

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