Nintendo Opens Online Avenue27 Jun, 2007 By: John Gaudiosi
Nintendo has opened the door for game developers large and small to create downloadable games for its best-selling Wii.
WiiWare games, which will begin debuting in early 2008, will be available exclusively via digital distribution on Nintendo's Wii Shop Channel. Gamers will be able to purchase these games using Nintendo currency, called Wii Points, and download the titles to the Wii Virtual Console to play.
“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.
More than 4.7 million games have been purchased through the Wii Shop Channel to date.
Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade and Sony's PlayStation 3 PlayStation Network allow developers direct consumer interaction for original games with low price points.
It remains to be seen whether Nintendo will offer any movie or TV content via Wii Shop Channel, and it's unlikely, given that Nintendo consoles don't even play DVDs. Microsoft's Xbox Live Video Marketplace is currently the No. 2 digital distribution channel for movies and TV content. Sony is expected to announce its movie and TV distribution channel this year, perhaps as early as E3 July 11.