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Nintendo Resurfaces Downloadable WiiWare Demo Showcase

After last year's trial period, demos for WiiWare titles will be making a comeback to Nintendo's Wii Shop channel in Europe, allowing users to play free trials of some WiiWare games before they buy.
Demos for WiiWare titles will be making a comeback to Nintendo's Wii Shop channel, allowing users to play free trials of some WiiWare games before they buy. The program begins in Europe November 5, kicking off with demos for Gamelion's Furry Legends, Shin'en Multimedia's Jett Rocket, Akaoni Studio's Zombie Panic in Wonderland and Nintendo's own ThruSpace. According to Nintendo, the ongoing program will offer demos only of select titles on a cycle by which each one is available for a limited time before the lineup is refreshed. It's something of a re-up of a trial program Nintendo tried this time last year, when in the hopes of invigorating downloadable game sales, it decided to experiment with demos. That trial ended in January 2010. Statistically, WiiWare games have been given lower sales projections by some analysts, compared to their counterparts on fellow console download services Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. For example, at the time when Nintendo first decided to try a demo program, estimates by Gamasutra publisher Simon Carless indicated that XBLA's median 40 percent of titles had sales projections of 50,000-100,000 units, while PSN's were projected to sell 35,000-75,000. But 60 percent of WiiWare games could expect only 5,000-20,000 units sold. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata had theorized that most consumers use the WiiWare service knowing ahead of time what they want to download, and thus demos may only offer a partial stimulus. The company's announcement today also highlights updating the Wii's networked channels as a strategy to keep consumers educated on the latest content. Specifically, there's a dedicated WiiWare portal on offer for each region, which acts as a "main hub" for titles on the service while also aimed as an "entry point for newcomers to the service," with weekly top-10 lists of popular titles. There are also tutorials that educate the Wii consumer on how to connect their console and download games.

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