Nintendo has opened its popular Wii game system allowing independent video-game developers and game studios to create and sell downloadable Wii games with a tool called WiiWare. Nintendo will reportedly determine the appropriate pricing for each game on a per-title basis, and gamers will be able to purchase the games through the console's Wii Shop channel starting in early 2008.
"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 Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's President. "WiiWare brings new levels of creativity and value to the ever-growing population of Wii owners."
Developers will set the parameters on how the consumer plays the games, whether it is remote-only, remote and nunchuk, classic controller or Gamecube controller. The game needs to pass Nintendo’s compatibility and bug checking process, while the developer is responsible for getting an ESRB rating for their game. AO-rated games are not allowed.
The move mirrors Microsoft’s XNA Game Studio efforts, which provides tools for developers to design video games for the Xbox 360 console. The company hopes to offer a broader range of games that could further capture the attention of the system's casual gamers.