WiiWare is a service that allows Wii users to download games and applications specifically designed and developed for the Wii video game console made by Nintendo. These games and applications can only be purchased and downloaded from the Wii Shop Channel under the WiiWare section. Once the user has downloaded the game or application, it will appear in their Wii Menu or SD Card Menu as a new channel. WiiWare is a companion to the Virtual Console, which specializes in emulated games originally developed for other systems instead of original titles.
WiiWare is being promoted as an avenue for developers with small budgets to release innovative, original, and smaller-scale games without the cost and risk of creating a title to be sold at retail (akin to Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Store). The development kit costs around US$2000 and developers need to be licensed with and approved by Nintendo. According to Nintendo, the "remarkable motion controls will give birth to fresh takes on established genres, as well as original ideas that currently exist only in developers' minds". Nintendo will handle all pricing options for the downloadable games.
Like Virtual Console games, WiiWare is purchased using Nintendo Points. However, unlike Virtual Console games, instruction manuals are stored on the Wii Shop Channel itself.
On November 4, 2009, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata revealed in Q&A session that they are planning to test downloadable demos for a select few WiiWare titles, starting in Japan later in the month. On November 16, five WiiWare demos were released for the American Wii Shop Channel, with these later being released in Europe. The demos were available to download until January 31, 2010. More recently, another six demos have become available to download.
On October 10, 2007, Nintendo held a press conference in Japan revealing the first batch of major Japanese WiiWare games including My Pokémon Ranch, Dr. Mario Online Rx, and Square Enix's Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King. The conference also disclosed information on Family Table Tennis, Mojipittan, Maruboushikaku, and Magnetica Twist. Game developer Hudson also announced 3 WiiWare titles: Bomberman Blast, Star Soldier R, and Joysound, the latter a karaoke game. Hudson later revealed that it had at least 10 WiiWare titles in development for the first year of release. Capcom, Namco, Sega, Taito and Konami also subsequently announced and later released games for the service.
Among Western developers, Telltale Games was one of the first to cite interest in the service, announcing the episodic Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People series of adventure games. GarageGames has released a version of their game engine to support WiiWare software development. Other Western developers releasing WiiWare games include Gameloft, Neko Entertainment, WayForward Technologies, Zoonami, Frozen Codebase and High Voltage Software. Konami and Capcom has also expressed desire to release Western-exclusive WiiWare games.
Currently available WiiWare games in Japan and North America are priced between 500 and 1500 Nintendo Points. Additional downloadable content has also been announced for several games, with My Life as a King seeing extra content priced between 100 to 800 Points, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years receiving content ranging from 300 to 800 Points, and Mega Man 9 and 10 seeing content priced between 100 to 500 Points.
- "Apple have had such massive success in capturing media attention - they've sucked all of the air out of it, I don't know that Nintendo's putting a great deal of energy into trying to generate PR for WiiWare or DSiWare." 
- ^ IGN interview with Tom Prata, senior director of project development with Nintendo of America
- ^ "Nintendo's WiiWare Paves the Way for Fresh Games, Cool Consumer Experiences". Nintendo of America. 2007-06-27. http://www.nintendo.com/whatsnew/detail/lJUgYjCGf4pVbYMAU2qmwF3wp7DiOK5k. Retrieved 2009-12-15.
- ^ Nintendo to Offer WiiWare Demos - Wii News at IGN
- ^ GameSpot Press Release
- ^ Adegoke, Yinka (2008-02-20). "UPDATE 1-Nintendo rolls out Wii fitness game product". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2034720820080220. Retrieved 2008-02-21.
- ^ Nintendo (2008-04-24). "Nintendo announces Q2 release schedule". http://www.nintendo.co.uk/NOE/en_GB/news/2008/nintendo_announces_q2_release_schedule_7920.html. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
- ^ IGN: Nintendo's Wii Ware Lineup Detailed
- ^ IGN: Ping Pong Coming to Wii Ware
- ^ IGN: Hudson Brings Karaoke to Wii Ware
- ^ Hudson: Alien Crush and More On WiiWare
- ^ Telltale Games Press Release
- ^ Capcom doing western-exclusive WiiWare?
- ^ "Extra content in My Life as a King explained". Siliconera. http://www.siliconera.com/2008/03/25/extra-content-in-my-life-as-a-king-explained/. Retrieved 2008-03-28.
- ^ "Final Fantasy IV: The After Years WiiWare Version". Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_Fantasy_IV:_The_After_Years#WiiWare_Version. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- ^ Pearson, Dan. "Hollis: Nintendo isn't "putting a great deal of energy" into WiiWare". gamesindustry.biz. http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2010-10-22Hollis-Nintendo-isnt-putting-effort-into-Wiiware-PR. Retrieved 25 October 2010.
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