digital store & distribution service for Nintendo Wii
WiiWare was a service that allowed Wii users to download games and applications specifically designed and developed for the Wii video game console made by Nintendo. These games and applications could only be purchased and downloaded from the Wii Shop Channel under the WiiWare section. Once the user had downloaded the game or application, it would appear in their Wii Menu or SD Card Menu as a new channel. WiiWare was a companion to the Virtual Console, which specializes in emulated games originally developed for other systems instead of original games.
WiiWare was promoted as an avenue for developers with small budgets to release innovative, original, and smaller-scale games without the cost and risk of creating a title to be sold at retail (akin to Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Store). The development kit cost around US$2000 and developers needed to be licensed with and approved by Nintendo. According to Nintendo, the "remarkable motion controls will give birth to fresh takes on established genres, as well as original ideas that currently exist only in developers' minds". Nintendo handled all pricing options for the downloadable games.Like Virtual Console games, WiiWare content was purchased using Wii Shop Points. However, unlike Virtual Console games, instruction manuals were stored on the Wii Shop Channel itself.
Unlike its portable equivalent DSiWare, WiiWare games are currently unavailable natively via the Nintendo eShop. However, WiiWare games were purchasable and fully playable on the Wii U console - the Wii's successor - via Wii Mode. Ever since the Wii U launched in November 2012 with its vastly improved Nintendo eShop digital distribution, in comparison to the DSiWare Shop, the Wii Shop Channel had very rarely seen brand new WiiWare releases. As of July 2014, the Wii Shop Channel has received the global release of Retro City Rampage (February 2013), the global re-release of a retail Wii game called Deer Drive Legends (November 2013), and the North American re-release of a retail Wii game called Karaoke Joysound (July 2014).On September 29, 2017, with the announcement of the Wii Shop Channel being closed on January 30, 2019, the WiiWare games on the Wii (as well as the backwards compatibility on the Wii U) can no longer be purchased. Until further notice, users can continue to re-download and/or transfer WiiWare titles.
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