The WiiWare service is set to go live early on in 2008, with titles such as Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Little King and the Promised Land plus an online version of Dr. Mario launching alongside it. However, specific details of the service are currently unknown. Thankfully, though, IGN has uncovered some interesting tidbits.
Talking in its latest podcast feature ‘IGN’s Wii-k in Review’, Matt Casamassina and Mark Bozon discuss “Mario Galaxy’s review score, respond to a ton of reader mail, and break down Wii Ware details that they don’t want you to know”.
They start things off by discussing, at length, just how amazing they think Super Mario Galaxy is, before moving on to just how brilliant a job Electronic Arts has done with the control set-up for Medal of Honour: Heroes 2 on Wii, trumping even Nintendo’s own Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. In fact, so good are the controls that playing Call of Duty 4 on other formats seems a bit strange in comparison. Following this there is some discussion about the Check Mii Out / Mii Contest Channel and Sega’s Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, with opinion split on the quality of the Olympics game. Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 feels just like the first game, which is definitely a good sign, whilst Hooked! Real Motion Fishing is meant to be disastrous and Trauma Centre: New Blood is far better than Second Opinion.
The main talking point, though, is that of WiiWare and how IGN has recently spoken with several developers that are using the service. According to these sources, most games are being budgeted at $100,000 or lower, with game developers able to either pitch ideas directly to Nintendo or Third Parties can simply go through the standard publisher route as well. Lots of “really weird deals” are currently underway as a result, with smaller companies trying very different models for the greatest profit and smallest risk. At present, the balance of Nintendo games to Third Party efforts is 35 : 65, as Nintendo is actively encouraging developers to try this route and not impact too much on their progress and success (as some have complained about on the Wii console side, with Nintendo’s games taking the greater share of sales).
In addition to this, the size limit on all WiiWare titles is currently 40MB, no doubt due to the space issues of the Wii’s internal memory, but officially Nintendo wants to encourage the development of super simple games that can be loved by everyone the world over. To help enforce this, Nintendo is throwing in the incentive of paying developers quicker if they keep their file sizes as small as possible. Matt states that he knows of ten games currently in development. As for the price of games, these are directly set by the developer, meaning things should work out cheaper overall for the consumer. And there is no need to worry about heaps of low quality rubbish hitting WiiWare, since Nintendo is only permitting one release per month per developer to discourage some teams simple shoving as many games on as possible without putting any real effort into development.
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