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The State of WiiWare, Xbox Alternatives 73

Posted by Soulskill
from the one-of-the-lesser-known-states dept.
CVG is running a piece discussing the current state of WiiWare, and where they expect it to go in the future. They point to the success of Mega Man 9 on WiiWare and other platforms, but worry that the perception will arise that certain games are "too good" to be featured on WiiWare. GameSetWatch has a related interview with independent developer Ninjabee discussing their recent games and comparing WiiWare with Xbox Live Arcade. Meanwhile, Microsoft has announced that the new Xbox Experience coming in November will included their Community Games initiative, which will allow amateur game developers to create and share games using the XNA development tools.
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The State of WiiWare, Xbox Alternatives

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  • by earthbound kid (859282) on Monday October 20, 2008 @01:54AM (#25437851) Homepage

    I've used the WiiWare and Virtual Console stores, but I think Nintendo really needs to work out the DRM issue. If I want to change to a different colored Wii in a couple years, will there be any way to bring my current games with me? What if my current machine just dies for some reason? What about when the Wii 2 comes out? Will there be any way of bringing my current collection of WiiWare with me to future consoles? Yeah, you can link your Wii with a My Nintendo account, but so far as I can tell, so far that has no effect whatsoever on your ability to retrieve your games in the future...

    • by dunezone (899268) on Monday October 20, 2008 @02:23AM (#25437977) Journal
      I bet they will allow it but be prepared for a hassle. I mean look at the friend code system they have for playing games with your friends.

      The best bet to see how Nintendo will do this is to find the instructions they have right now for transferring your account from a dead Wii to a replacement unit. That will give you a general idea of how some future transfer of accounts will work.

      Also this is the same company that wanted me to pay $5 for Super Mario Brothers (AGAIN). Nintendo should have made this a free download when the Wii launched. So expect anything from them.
      • by Lumpy (12016)

        Expect this from ALL the console makers. Nintendo was simply the first out the gate with it.

        All of them want to anally rape the consumer, It's all about how can we get you to re-buy that game again.

        • You mean like Sony? Who lets you re-download any purchased game content from their store on up to five PS3's on which you have an account? Sounds awful.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by trdrstv (986999)

            You mean like Sony? Who lets you re-download any purchased game content from their store on up to five PS3's on which you have an account?

            Yes, The same Sony that killed the Downloadable version of Warhawk by not allowing local multiplayer if both people didn't buy the game?

            If you buy the retail disc, you can take 4 people online from 1 system, on the downloadable copy each user needs to have bought the game.

            • By killing local multiplayer you mean "didn't allow multiple local accounts access to the software." Local 'multiplayer' works just fine (I play split-screen regularly with friends over).

              And yes, that feature annoys me, but its also in the terms of service for the download ("can only be used by ...")

              Yes, it should have been spelled out clearer, and I even sent Sony several E-mails sharing my distaste for that reality, but in my home, nobody but me plays Warhawk anyway, so it works out fine.

          • As far as I can tell, that's darn near the same thing as Spore on PC. Limited installs = bad. If it's my account and my software that I bought, I should have the ability to install it as many times as I wish.

    • by Ringl (895323) on Monday October 20, 2008 @02:33AM (#25438007)

      You don't even need to set up the my nintendo account. Anything you purchase you can delete off your system as much as you want and just go back and download it right away.

      And if your system dies? When you get a new one call Nintendo's customer support, give them your old serial number and then give them your new serial number and Nintendo transfers everything you've purchased to your new console. Then everything you've purchased is available to download.

      Nintendo doesn't have any DRM issue that can't also be said of the 360 or PS3.

      • by philspear (1142299) on Monday October 20, 2008 @03:30AM (#25438231)

        Nintendo doesn't have any DRM issue that can't also be said of the 360 or PS3.

        Of course there's the real issue. DRM is such an anathema around here that it doesn't even have to have real problems to be denounced. I get the impression that anything more than a note (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/9/24/) would automatically get a "brokenbydesign" tag and halfhearted calls to boycott it until they learn.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by elrous0 (869638) *

          The REAL problem with DRM is something common to WiiWware, 360 arcade, the PSN store, and virtually everything else DRM touches, namely:

          What happens when the parent company gets tired of supporting it? What happens when they no longer answer the phone when you call them to transfer your account to a new console (or, alternatively, they answer and tell you "Sorry, we're no longer supporting that console model/DRM scheme")? What happens when they shutdown their old DRM servers (like Walmart threatened to do [slashdot.org]

      • by mj_sklar (888539)

        And if your system dies? When you get a new one call Nintendo's customer support, give them your old serial number and then give them your new serial number and Nintendo transfers everything you've purchased to your new console.

        Not quite. My Wii died recently, and when I called Nintendo, they said you have to send the system in for repairs, otherwise they won't transfer any data.

      • by Chokolad (35911)

        > And if your system dies? When you get a new one call Nintendo's customer support, give them your old serial number and then give them your new serial number and Nintendo transfers everything you've purchased to your new console. Then everything you've purchased is available to download.

        And this is better than Xbox 360 how ?

        • by ndb82 (736898) *

          And this is better than Xbox 360 how ?

          And he said it was better than Xbox 360 where ?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 20, 2008 @02:40AM (#25438041)

      I had my Wii repaired because of a problem with it overheating and displaying black boxes from time to time. [youtube.com] (The repair was free, btw, and I recommend it if you are having the same problem.)

      Essentially they copied all my data over to another Wii and sent that Wii back. So from a DRM-standpoint, it's like getting a new Wii. From what I recall, my WiiWare and VC games stayed on there just fine.

      The only downside I noticed was I can no longer edit the Miis that were on there before because they don't allow you to edit them on someone else's system.

      DAMN YOU NINTENDO, GET RID OF YOUR OVERLY RESTRICTIVE Mii DRM!!!!!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Daetrin (576516)
        Did you have a Super Smash Bros save on the original Wii? I've heard that several games, SSBB among them, have copy protected save files that only work on the original console (similar to the Mii files you're having trouble with.) Though i'm not sure what it is they're supposed to protected _from_ =P
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by xenocide2 (231786)

          A savegame is one of the paths to breaking the data / code barrier and running untrusted code. This has two implications: piracy and viruses. We've already seen how easy it was to run untrusted code via a simple savegame. Transfer the save from the Wii to the SD card, load up the save in a hex editor and start looking for meaning. Name strings, for example. If you rewrite the save to use an overly long name, maybe it notices and nothing happens. But maybe they forgot to check the horse's name. All you need

          • There are a couple of easy solutions to the problem you're talking about that don't involve preventing people from sharing saved games. Most obvious is to just insist that there aren't those sorts of bugs in savegame code. That's a bit impractical, though. You could, however, provide a common save game API that eliminates common errors.

            Microsoft uses a combination of code signing, a hypervisor, and hardware security features like the NX bit to make running unauthorized code extremely difficult. That's p

  • The Real Problem... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The real problem IS NOT the perception that a game is "too good" for WiiWare. Hell, give me ALL titles available as WiiWare. It works for my PSP and PS3.

    The real problem is that there is no fucking space to store the games. Four pages of 16 channels and your only hope of filling them all is to buy nothing but NES games.

    Let us play off flash like the PSP. Or give us an external hard drive.

    I'd be more than happy to shell out $50 for Resident Evil 5 as WiiWare. I just have no place to store it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Karma Sink (229208)

      SD cards aren't very expensive. I only have a 2GB card in my Wii and there's still plenty of room for me to download games. Mind you, I tend toward NES and SNES games more often for download, but it's still a lot of space.

      • "Only" 2GB (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Rurik (113882)

        That's beating around the issue that the maximum SD card that the Wii accepts is 2GB. It doesn't support SDHC, which greatly limits its storage which, IMO, is a huge fault of the Wii. For a full life cycle, 2GB will not be enough for many users. There are already people who are hitting that ceiling, especially those that do not have regular Internet access, and thus can't afford the luxury of just deleting games to redownload later.

        I've hit 2GB, however I have a lot of homebrew apps.

        • by Monsuco (998964)

          I've hit 2GB, however I have a lot of homebrew apps.

          You could just spend the $12 and buy another 2 GB SD card. How big of a ceiling is that? SD is cheap.

          • by Rurik (113882)

            Right, and we could still be using 1.4MB floppies, as most daily documents can fit on there. We don't for the same issue as here. I don't want to lug around a dozen SD cards, even if they are cheap. I want a single card to stay in the Wii, so that there's less a chance of it becoming lost or damaged.

        • by trdrstv (986999)
          HCSD Cards use the same pins as SD cards, so it is possible to support larger cards with a firmware update.
  • XNA Community Games (Score:3, Interesting)

    by neokushan (932374) on Monday October 20, 2008 @03:20AM (#25438199)

    I'm more curious as to how the /. community feels about Microsoft's community games. I, personally, think it's a brilliant idea and hopefully it'll bring back the days of the "bedroom-made game". I'm a little worried that many quality (and more to the point, original) games will get overshadowed by the fad-of-the-month sort of thing, but the system seems to be working well enough for music and youtube, so I think we'll be all right. Plus it's still a lot better than what you currently have - publish and distribute it yourself, on your own site, at your own costs, etc.

    I look forward to seeing some really awesome stuff over the coming months (And hopefully years).

    • by sshuber (1274006)
      Well it's $99 to a year to join the "Developer's Club" and they offer you 70% of the profit. I'm sure a lot of people might have some incentive to jump on the bandwagon at that price point. I'm personally 100% for this since fantastic games like Age of Booty and Castle Crashers were made by small developers, but having to pay for "community" work doesn't sound so "community" to me. If the game is good enough to be published, then make people pay for it, otherwise, distribute it for free.
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      The main problem with XNA games is that you HAVE to charge for them. There is no option to make them available for free. This was, in part, a pragmatic decision for MS (to keep their servers from being overwhelmed by free stuff and to make money, of course). But it only highlights once again how far the console has to go before it ever offers anywhere near the value and freedom of a PC.
      • by neokushan (932374)

        I don't think Microsoft wants to try to replace the PC, per se, (after all, it's where they make most of their money), I think they're still pining for that long saught after dream of a PC in every living room.
        They've been trying for years to do it and all the fancy designs and "media centre" brandings in the world didn't help, but somewhere along the line someone noticed that Games Consoles were rapidly appearing in people's living room's and thus the Xbox was born. I'm nearly certain the Xbox started off

      • by trdrstv (986999)

        The main problem with XNA games is that you HAVE to charge for them. There is no option to make them available for free.

        You realize Xbox market place is a store right? "Free" is the exception, and not the rule. I'm sure iTunes or your corner supermarket have similar requirements to use their space.

        • by elrous0 (869638) *

          Actually, iTunes doesn't. A lot of podcasters have their podcasts on iTunes for free, for example.

          And my local grocery store doesn't just let random outsiders come in and drop off stuff for sale, period. The store (or parent company) buys all the products directly from chosen vendors and then resells them in the store. The XNA community model would be more analogous to a farmer coop or a farmer's market. And as long as you pay your rent for a stall at such a market (much like the XNA creator's club yearly

  • """
    Meanwhile, Microsoft has announced that the new Xbox Experience coming in November will included their Community Games initiative, which will allow amateur game developers to create and share games using the XNA development tools.
    """

    This is the way to go. I mean, we know that Sony has release a couple API/dev tools/etc to University students. But, that really doesn't go far enough. Especially, when we consider that many of the people who get into the games industry aren't looking to go that way until

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CronoCloud (590650)

      You're forgetting the PS3 has the ability to run Linux, so there's your hobbyist dev station right there, at least for 2D games.

      • by Bert64 (520050)

        But the mass market does not want 2d games, they want 3d, even when it ruins the game... Just look at Lemmings 3D!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tepples (727027)

          But the mass market does not want 2d games, they want 3d

          Then why did Capcom make Mega Man 9 and not just release its N64 port of Mega Man Legends on Virtual Console?

        • Except that Lemmings is essentially a 2D game on the PS3 :-)

          Actually, the PS3 has some very cool 2D games, including Locoroco and Eden, and I'm glad they're not afraid to publish them.

        • by neonfrog (442362)

          I purchased World of Goo [wikipedia.org] (by 2D Boy) this past weekend and it rocks. Nothing wrong with 2D games (many flash games are) if they are playable.

          Simple understandable games (like Goo) are often better in 3D and more instantly accessible. Limiting the required axes gets you to the game faster. Not having wacky 3D cams whipsawing your perspective around is nice, too. Party games are mostly 2D. Even Wii Sports is mostly 2D, really. I think that would be considered mass market and successful, wouldn't you?

      • Except that the PS3 Linux locks you out from the graphics system, such that no one is really looking at it seriously as a hobbyist dev station. Why would you develop for a crippled PS3 Linux when you can just develop on uncrippled PC Linux?

      • PS3 Linux is a toy and isn't there for serious development. There are still some major hurtles for PS3 Linux to get over for this to be a viable venture. Hell, you even mention that it only has a 2D framebuffer. Another one is getting proper Sixaxis support. So, it certainly is not for the hobbyist developer. Only the hobbyist developer that likes to make retro games. Not to mention the fact that libspe, etc are all LGPL. So, you also have to be willing to accept that license for your game.

        Sorry, but

  • F1TFA

    It's been almost a year since Doritos Dash of Destruction was announced for Xbox Live Arcade through the Doritos Unlock Xbox Competition, where a competition winner got to have his game created for XBLA. Where is it currently?

    Answer: is there ANYONE who cares?

    What is this gamesetwatch anyway? A covert marketer for doritos? A look at the "yaris" game will tell you, games that are really just commercials are less fun than watching a non-interactive TV commercial. Granted, I'm not "out on the street" where the youngsters talk about the next game they want (gives me chills just thinking about the level of dialogue that must go on on that street) or in a videogame store, but I feel it's safe to say that the people who are loo

  • Earthbound on Virtual Console. This game has consistently won on polls of what game people want for VC (oddly, the prequal Earth Bound Zero often polls 3rd or 4th, even though it never saw a US release). I WANT MY GAME /rant.

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