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WiiWare Information

Posted by bigredpimp on February 22, 2008

So with the launch of WiiWare coming in May, a lot of people in the community seem to have a lot of questions remaining. There’s been no solid information for potential developers available in any of my searches on how to enroll in the program so I’ve contacted Nintendo about this matter. They have pointed me to their Wii developer application page.

First, let’s go through what we do know about WiiWare. GDC 2008 has opened up new information that gives us a little more insight to how things work.

Large & Small Development Teams

Even if your team consists of 1 or 100 people, you’ll be able to develop titles for WiiWare. A good example of a small team is 2D Boy with their World of Goo title. If you have a game that you want to publish on WiiWare, you won’t have to sell your soul to become licensed. You are your own publisher if you so choose.

Console Features

No restrictions as to what features you can use on the Wii. Do you want to use an SD card? Go for it. Online play? Of course. Have an interesting idea that uses Mii data? Have at it. Nintendo is allowing us to use it all.

Size Limitations

Nintendo has stated that WiiWare games will not be restricted in size. However, they encourage us to make sure our games are small enough to be manageable on the platform. If you have hopes of making some massive game with large amounts of resources, think again. Remember, the system has its limits until Nintendo gets on the ball and gives us a hard drive or something.

Demos

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to demo games before you download them. This is one of the flaws of the service. They seem to think a gameplay video or a video of people playing in front of a monitor is enough to judge if a game is worth spending points on or not. I guess we’ll only be able to rely on the Everybody’s Nintendo Channel before games get pushed to the shop for purchase.

Region & Rating Requirements

With the way the submission requirements will work, the games will be region-specific. This doesn’t mean you can’t release in a load of regions, however. You just need to submit your game for each region you want it released in, based on their criteria. Also, from my understanding of how things will work, you’ll need to get your game rated pending submission. This means if you’re submitting for the USA market, you need an ESRB rating. If you want to release elsewhere, you need to get a rating for that region as well. I’ll post links to resources for those interested.

Application Requirements

A big catch a few will find is that the requirements for getting authorized to develop for WiiWare is the same as they are for normal Wii development. For starters, you need a secure physical office location separate from your residence. They won’t accept home offices. Another thing is that you’ll need to purchase development hardware, which can range between $2,500 to $10,000. For some, it might be a better bet to get involved with someone already doing Wii or WiiWare development. However, if you’re able to set up an office somewhere and afford the kit costs, it seems to be easy to apply. For more information, the Wii page at WarioWorld should be helpful. That page covers North America, Europe, Australia and anything else that’s not Japan or Korea. For Japan & Korea, you need to get in contact with NCL themselves (if anyone has an address for their developer application page, please let me know).

Project Development

Some companies are starting to step up to the plate to help people get their products out quickly. GarageGames has decided to release their Torque Engine & Builder for the Wii with help from Pronto Games. This could be a good option for those of you who don’t have a preexisting library ready to adapt for WiiWare titles.

For the most part, the service seems to be a great way to get your ideas published on the console. Aside from my minor gripes about demos, this looks fairly worthwhile.

Regional game ratings boards

USA: ESRB
Europe: PEGI
Japan: CERO
Germany: USK
Australia: OFLC AU
New Zealand: OFLC NZ

Note: If you know of any I’m missing here, feel free to let me know.

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One Response to “WiiWare Information”

  1. J-Rod said

    BRP, where you been? I found your page on a random search, heh. Let me know if you’re devving anything, not that I know how to help but I would do what I can! Drop in sometime, #peakoil…

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