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Wii Businesses Nintendo

WiiWare Week Round Up 64

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the playing-with-your-wii-never-gets-old dept.
Mark Graham writes "All this week, UK games development site Develop has been running a series of articles under its 'WiiWare Week' banner, analyzing developer's affections for, and the potential success of Nintendo's upcoming WiiWare digital distribution platform. Most revealing is the claim that Nintendo has been secretly 'waging war' on the likes of Sony and Microsoft by capitalizing on frustrations over cuts to the Xbox Live Arcade royalty rate (down from 70% to 35% for any game making under $4m in revenue) and talking up the service's access to a wide audience to win over development support. It features commentary from both established developers (such as David Braben, creator of Elite, and Scott Orr, creator of Madden) — and indie teams (developers of new WiiWare games Pop and Gravitronix) making launch games for the service."
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WiiWare Week Round Up

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  • by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@noSpAM.gmail.com> on Friday March 14, 2008 @11:39PM (#22757458) Homepage
    We might be seeing a different kind of WiiWare popping up soon... a new version of the "Twilight Hack" (a stack smash using a specially crafted Zelda save game) now supports running code right off an SD card instead of using a GameCube SD -> memory card adapter. I just played some ... umm... Tetris... and Linux hangs when it goes to boot... but it's only been a few weeks since the hack was first published. I personally can't wait to see what kind of homebrew people come up with,
    • by MtHuurne (602934) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @12:05AM (#22757564) Homepage
      Was Linux hanging or was it waiting for you to log in via the serial connection? (USB Gecko)

      I've been playing with the proof of concept Wii Linux released by isobel of gc-linux.org and although it is far from complete, a lot is working already (mainly the GameCube compatible stuff).
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by The MAZZTer (911996)

        Hmm... possibly. I was focusing on the last messages in the console which didn't seem particularly helpful. There might have been something about USB Gecko but it didn't strike me as something it was NEEDING... maybe I thought it was a driver or something.

        I'll have to boot it again and take a closer look. Thanks.

        In the meantime I guess it's back to Wii Tetris! :)

        • by neostorm (462848)
          Just curious... Is it multiplayer online?
        • by twistah (194990)
          I am not sure that you need a USB Gecko -- I thought an SD Gecko was all that was needed?
          • by MtHuurne (602934)
            You don't need the USB Gecko to boot Linux, but without it you cannot do anything once it has booted. The login prompt only appears over the serial link. So you can only watch the boot messages until the screensaver kicks in. The SD Gecko is no longer needed when you use the updated version of the Twilight Hack.
      • Any good links available? I haven't gotten into the console modification/etc scene before.
        • by MtHuurne (602934) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @09:25AM (#22759118) Homepage
          The most useful sites are wiibrew.org for the technical info and gc-linux.org for the Linux stuff. You can get a cross compilation toolchain for PPC at devkitpro.org, but it does not include a libc, so it doesn't get you very far in Linux. There are several kits to easily build your own toolchain and minimal system, I'm playing with buildroot (from uClibc) and after tweaking the config and patching the Makefiles a bit I'm getting results.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by DKlineburg (1074921)
      I think he has some of the more interesting hacks for the wii: Johnny Chung Lee [cmu.edu]. I figure he isn't the only one, but he does make some interesting things happen.
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        He didn't even do anything with the Wii. Just the Wiimote hooked up to a standard laptop.
    • by DiEx-15 (959602)
      It'd be nice to see all that the Wii has to offer... if you can find a Wii to own. I swear they are like sasquatch sightings around here and where I use to live. I REFUSE to buy a Wii on Ebay so don't mention that method of getting one.
      • by xoff00 (594043)
        http://www.wiialerts.com/ [wiialerts.com]

        I signed up the day my wife asked for one, I got an SMS the next morning while eating breakfast. Walked downstairs to my home office and bought it online from Circuit City.

  • by dancingmad (128588) on Friday March 14, 2008 @11:43PM (#22757476)
    I have a Wii I left in the U.S. and now I am considering buying one in my current location.

    The thing about the Wii is while games like Mario Galaxy, Smash Brothers, etc. look fun, it seems like there are fewer longer games, or gamer's games (SRPGs, for example; the only one that comes to mind is Fire Emblem) for the system.

    I see WiiWare as being an excellent antidote. Someone who wants to code a SNES style SRPG or RPG that last for 40 hours has the resources to do so. Moreover, with limits on file size, the developers are going to have to take some time with gameplay to make a successful game (the forthcoming Crystal Chronicles WiiWare title seems to encapsulate this; it looks good, but there is obviously some limit to what it can do graphically - this I hope will be made up for by richer game play).
    • by Txiasaeia (581598)

      I completely, completely agree. In the PC indie scene, there are fantastic games being made that have limited graphics (Aquaria, Spectromancer, and Armageddon Empires come to mind). A game doesn't have to be pretty to be engaging. Personally speaking, I'd also love an RPG that's half-way between a virtual console release (*cough* Chrono Trigger *cough*) and a full Wii game (like the upcoming Opoona or Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn).

      But that's just me. Can't wait to see what kind of WiiWare games will be r

  • Wii Cracked! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    http://www.4colorrebellion.com/archives/2008/03/14/twilight-princess-hack-bootloader-updated-supports-internal-sd-slot-now/ [4colorrebellion.com]

    The locks on the Nintendo Wii have been comprehensively broken. Now, just by loading some code onto an SD card and sticking it into your Wii, you can unlock your console so that it will play homebrew games written by anyone, not just big companies that have paid big license fees to Nintendo!
  • $4m? (Score:5, Funny)

    by CSMatt (1175471) on Friday March 14, 2008 @11:44PM (#22757486)

    Most revealing is the claim that Nintendo has been secretly 'waging war' on the likes of Sony and Microsoft by capitalizing on frustrations over cuts to the Xbox Live Arcade royalty rate (down from 70% to 35% for any game making under $4m in revenue)
    It can't be that difficult to make 4 millidollars on Xbox Live.
    • by tighr (793277)

      Most revealing is the claim that Nintendo has been secretly 'waging war' on the likes of Sony and Microsoft by capitalizing on frustrations over cuts to the Xbox Live Arcade royalty rate (down from 70% to 35% for any game making under $4m in revenue)

      It can't be that difficult to make 4 millidollars on Xbox Live.

      Many companies use a little m (or sometimes even a big M) to signify thousands. They will then use $MM to signify millions. Not that I agree with it, and it certainly goes against SI units, but it is a common convention.

      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by iamdrscience (541136)
        What is the etymology of that practice? I mean, how in the world does the word "thousand" get abbreviated to the letter "m"? I don't care that it deviates from SI conventions, so does using "M" and "B" as abbreviations for "million" and "billion", but that's an obvious shorthand. Using "m" for thousands just seems needlessly opaque and confusing.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by AKAImBatman (238306)

          What is the etymology of that practice? I mean, how in the world does the word "thousand" get abbreviated to the letter "m"? I

          I blame the Romans. Romanes Eunt Domus!

          (This post copyright MMVIII)
        • Nevermind, I answered my own question. The usage comes from the roman numeral for one thousand. Dumb.
        • From french via Latin perhaps? Thousand = mille in both french+latin
    • Re:$4m? (Score:5, Funny)

      by lexarius (560925) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @12:04AM (#22757556)
      Personally, I was wondering what the conversion rates on dollar-meters were.

      Apparently, it's about 8.43 [google.com] euro-feet. Or around 880 yen-cubits.
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Why don't you use more traditional measures? Can you tell me what it is in pounds sterling-furlongs? I need to know within a fortnight.
    • by feepness (543479)

      It can't be that difficult to make 4 millidollars on Xbox Live.
      Given the recent (lack of) strength of the US dollars, maybe have revalued...
  • by feepness (543479) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @12:07AM (#22757572) Homepage

    Most revealing is the claim that Nintendo has been secretly 'waging war' on the likes of Sony and Microsoft by capitalizing on frustrations over cuts to the Xbox Live Arcade royalty rate (down from 70% to 35% for any game making under $4m in revenue)
    How do they get to capitalize on the likes of Sony from Microsoft cutting royalties to Xbox Live?

    Also, with the 360's declining sales this is not a smart move from Microsoft.
    • by imasu (1008081) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @01:14AM (#22757796)

      I agree with your question, though one has to be careful before attacking the 360 in the console space right now. Look at the top ten games on Gamespot right now and then criticize Microsoft's 360 strategies. As of today, it's 4 360, 3 PC, one Wii, and two PSP games.

      Console game sales charts are even more 360-biased. It's utterly dominating game sales, which is of course where the real money is. And even the crappy XBL games get like 100k downloads.

      Microsoft, in spite of themselves, are doing pretty damn well with their 360 strategy.

      • by feepness (543479)

        I agree with your question, though one has to be careful before attacking the 360 in the console space right now. Look at the top ten games on Gamespot right now and then criticize Microsoft's 360 strategies. As of today, it's 4 360, 3 PC, one Wii, and two PSP games.
        The game sales are a trailing indicator and show that the 360 was released a year earlier. As far as future sales go, they are dropping rapidly. The picture will be very different in 12 months.
        • by BarneyL (578636)

          As far as future sales go, they are dropping rapidly.
          If I were going to bring one piece of information back from the future to /. I could think of better choices than the sales of xbox 360 games.
        • As far as future sales go, they are dropping rapidly
          Hmm, how does one track "future sales" ??
    • by ecavalli (1216014) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @02:11AM (#22757976) Homepage
      Presumably Nintendo has been capitalizing on Sony's string of huge promises that never quite come to fruition, or are pruned back drastically when they eventually see release.

      Sony's Home, the online performance of any of their games, the vibration features in their controllers, etc have all suffered from this issue and things like this push developers -- particularly smaller developers who don't have large corporate entities forcing them to release games on certain platforms -- away from creating games on a certain console.

      Nintendo has had a lot of these same issues (most notably the Wii's online gaming system) but the sheer number of people who own the system currently and those who will own the system in the future combined with the eventual reality they'll face (that they can't play strictly Nintendo games forever) creates an extremely lucrative market for any developer who wants to create something without millions of dollars or a 4 year time frame and still make good money.

      The only question now is whether or not Nintendo can match (or even approach) the convenience and usability of Microsoft's XBLA system. Microsoft has done a lot of things wrong, but Xbox Live is not one of them.
      • by morari (1080535) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @12:33PM (#22759896) Journal

        The only question now is whether or not Nintendo can match (or even approach) the convenience and usability of Microsoft's XBLA system. Microsoft has done a lot of things wrong, but Xbox Live is not one of them.
        All Nintendo really has to do is stop using game specific Friend Codes and just use the one main Wii Code that every console comes with. This would be perfectly streamlined and allow for a much more flexible identification system as it would be an assigned number with no fighting over user names. They should also probably allow voice chat between friends.

        The online components of Guitar Hero III and Super Smash Bros Brawl work pretty well for what they are, with those two points being the only real improvement that absolutely needs to happen. I could care less about leaderboards and such since they junk just brings out the worst of competitive scum in games. I do hope that Nintendo opens up access to the SD card a bit more with Wii Ware however, allowing content to be played off of it. Transferring stuff back and forth to the Wii's internal memory is a pain, especially with downloadable content and such on the horizon.

    • by westlake (615356)
      Also, with the 360's declining sales this is not a smart move from Microsoft.

      What decline in sales?

      How Much Money Can Your XBox 360 Live Arcade Game Make? [makeitbigingames.com] [no date]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Guppy06 (410832)
      You do so by continuing to read the rest of the sentence: "and talking up the service's access to a wide audience" The Wii has something the industry refers to as 'an installed base.'

  • by RedK (112790) on Saturday March 15, 2008 @11:47AM (#22759696)
    This is all good and nice and all, but when will I be able to walk into a Best Buy/Wal Mart or any other store and actually buy a Wii Console ? The "shortage" is getting ridiculous.
  • I don't really feel like paying for games I can only download online from any provider on any system. I don't have a hard copy, and I can't borrow a friend's. I can't rent such a game. I don't care about being able to download demos or play trials. I don't want any content locked down to one platform, because in the future there's no guarantee I'll be able to use it. My system may be broken. It may be a hassle to hook up to new TVs or even to get it out of storage and hook it up just to play for 5 min
    • by powerlord (28156)
      Okay, I'll bite.

      I don't know how Wii downloadable content works, or how XBox360 content works (although I've been reading the horror stories on slashdot about when your console breaks), but Sony seems to have done the DRM "right" (or as right as any DRM is).

      Content is tied to your PSN Name, not the console (directly). Up to 5 consoles can be authorized access to the content tied to a given PSN Name (at any given time). You can authorize/deauthorize a console yourself via the menus on PSN once you log in (
  • Though Orr was obviously central in making "Madden" the monster console hit that it is and was (and has an impressive record on sports games going way back into the 80s), I would contend that most folks would give Trip Hawkins the title of "creator of Madden", if it can go to one person. Here's an interview from just the past week which goes into depth on the subject: http://www.vh1gamebreak.com/2008/03/exclusive-trip.html [vh1gamebreak.com] Obviously not the focus of TFA, but it is worth keeping the historical record stra

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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