Nintendo has announced it will make original downloadable content available through a new service called WiiWare. Nintendo´s press release describes WiiWare as follows:
[It is] a game-creation service that will allow developers large and small to create new downloadable video game content for sale by Nintendo through the Wii Shop Channel of the hot Wii™ home video game system. WiiWare paves the way for smaller, more creative games to make their way to the public at lower prices, without any inventory risk to developers. The first WiiWare content will launch in early 2008.
Newsweek technology editor N´Gai Croal exclusively revealed WiiWare before Nintendo´s announcement. His post adds some detail to the official story:
What's more interesting is that Nintendo isn't only seeking WiiWare from established publishers and developers like Ubisoft and Sega. At a Nintendo developer's conference earlier this week, the company informed attendees that it was seeking from indie developers as well. (...)
Fils-Aime told us that while Nintendo, as the retailer, would itself determine the appropriate pricing for each game on a per-title bases, the games themselves would not be vetted by Nintendo. Instead, Nintendo would only check the games for bugs and compatibility
Nintendo is rather late with this offering. The PS3 already offers all-new downloadable content with games like ´Gran Turismo HD´. What is more, at least some of those games are free. Microsoft may charge for their Xbox Live Arcade service, but they have been up and running for some time already.
What will be interesting to Wii owners is that those games will not be vetted by Nintendo. Providing they do not receive an ´Adults Only´ rating, Nintendo will allow them to be published via WiiWare unchecked. With Nintendo being notorious for monitoring third party content very closely, these games may bring something new to the Wii.
Sources: , N´Gai Croal´s blog
Thanks to: GoNintendo, Kotaku, Carmine "Cai" M. Red, Tim De Vogel