Make Games For Nintendo Wii – Make WiiWare

I’ve said a few good words about Nintendo Wii in the past and mentioned how Wii seems like a really good platform for indies games. Wii games are simple and fun, not relying on fancy graphics. Doesn’t that sound exactly what casual and indie games are all about? Now Nintendo is coming up with a solution: >WiiWare.

Here’s WiiWare in a nutshell:

  • WiiWare is done using a game-creation service that will allow developers large and small to create new downloadable video game content for Nintendo Wii
  • Games are specifically built for Wii and sold via the Wii Shop Channel (for Wii Points currency)
  • Nintendo isn’t only seeking WiiWare from established publishers and developers
  • Nintendo is seeking from indie developers as well
  • Shorter, original, more creative games from small teams with big ideas
  • Adults Only titles like Manhunt 2 aren’t welcome (I told you that violence doesn’t sell – since it won’t get published…)
  • The first WiiWare titles from Nintendo and third-parties to become available in 2008

Now we’ll just wait to get those tools in our hands.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Yes, dev kits are $2000 but you’ll have to go through NOA (nintendo america) to get your idea green lit. Which means “due dilligence” i.e. they want to know what you’ve worked on before, if your company is ok financially, who are your staff, detailed design docs, milestones, schedules, budgets, etc, etc. Standard by the book console submission process. The only real difference is you don’t need publisher backing to talk to them (but it helps) which is the same as XBLA anyway.

    One thing they haven’t said yet is what happens when your game goes for QA. With M$ you get on go for free and if it doesn’t pass you have to pay for round 2,3,etc. I think most projects pay for a 3rd party pre-QA test beforehand so they’re more likely to go through the official testing first time. So this still isn’t a cheap way into the consoles.

    I think the best bet is XNA with M$. It isn’t ready yet as the games only get on Live Arcade and make money if you impress M$. I don’t think it will be long though until they open up XNA more so anyone can download games. At that point I think it will become much easier for indies to make money on consoles. My advice is to work on your chops on xna now and then you’re ready when it opens up ~1 year(s) from now.

  2. Juuso, you need to parse these press releaseles a bit more critically from now on, you’ve basically just regurgitated it. Gotta read between the lines. The last line of your post is, perhaps unironically, indicative of the big problem. While Nintendo might not be vetting in the publishing process, you can damn well bet they’ll be vetting in the accreditation process, where they decide if they’ll let you buy a dev kit from them or not. Most indies would not qualify.

    If you do though, the Wii Dev Kit is ~$1775.

    Unity is tight though, so thats a good bit. If you can make a game in Unity you could probably come off as credible to get a kit, and then you can work it in with the kit from there.

  3. Julio, well according to their press release it is targeted for smalled budgets:

    “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,” says Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime

  4. I don’t know whay are all the websites still saying that this is a XNA-like thingy. WiiWare IS NOT targeted at small indies or enthusiasts, it is just another XBLA/PSN marketplace, meaning that you need an official Wii SDK and License from Nintendo. And that means – you guessed it- money. Heck, even some XBLA games can cost up to 300,000$ to produce..

    So think of it as the Nintendian XBLA/PSN.

  5. Sounds like Microsoft’s XNA for PC and XBOX360. I just hope it will be released more “complete” than XNA.

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