Officials from Nintendo have confirmed plans to release original downloadable content on the Wii, with an announcement today at a private Nintendo developer conference.
The company describes WiiWare as a “game-creation service” that will allow developers of all sizes to create downloadable games content for sale by Nintendo through the Wii Shop Channel.
Currently over one hundred retro tiles are available for download via the Wii’s virtual console, with games paid for via redeemable Wii Points. Other content has so far been restricted to new interactive channels, all of which have been free (although the Internet Channel – featuring a re-purposed Opera Web browser - will incur a charge of 500 Wii Points ($5) from the beginning of July).
In a press statement Nintendo suggests that WiiWare will pave the way for “smaller, more creative games” at lower prices and without any inventory risk to developer. Despite the announcement today, though, the first WiiWare content will not be launched until 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," said Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime. "WiiWare brings new levels of creativity and value to the ever-growing population of Wii owners."