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GDC: WiiWare praised as fresh format for developers

Wed 20 Feb 2008 2:00pm GMT / 9:00am EST / 6:00am PST

Frontier Developments has told GamesIndustry.biz that Nintendo's WiiWare service is another refreshing way for developers to create titles and deliver them to a new audience.

Frontier Developments has told GamesIndustry.biz that Nintendo's WiiWare service is another refreshing way for developers to create titles and deliver them to a new audience.

Full WiiWare plans are yet to be announced by Nintendo, although expectations are that the company will lift the lid on it's much-anticipated downloads service at GDC this week.

Frontier has today unveiled its first title for the service, adventure game LostWinds, due for the launch of the service and promising to take full advantage of the console's unique control methods.

"For me, one of the coolest and different things about it is the audience that you get with the Wii. Firstly, there are a lot of them. But also they are a different type of person than those using Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. It's exciting that we can get into the living rooms of a different audience," said Frontier's David Walsh.

As Nintendo puts the finishing touches to its downloads service — finally joining Sony and Microsoft by offering cheaper gaming experiences direct to console — Frontier founder David Braben sees WiiWare as an opportunity for his studio to keep invigorated and excited about the business of making games.

"What we're trying to do at Frontier is keep ourselves fresh by doing lots of different contrasting things. We've got a broad range of experience and also a broad range of game styles that people really like," he said.

"We've seen a lot of game ideas out there that haven't felt fresh. First and foremost we've got to believe that we're making a really great game and believe in what we're doing."

For Braben, some of the shine has already come off Microsoft's digital offering, as Xbox Live becomes bloated with titles and difficult to navigate. But he does believe that each of the big three's digital platforms can offer developers, and consumers, new avenues to explore.

"It's interesting how Xbox Live and PlayStation Network now have quite a different feel to them," he said.

"When Xbox Live first came out it was very easy and fun to use. But now there's so many games on Xbox Live that it's actually really hard to find anything you want. For me, as an early adopter of that, it's lost some of the magic it used to have. Whereas the PlayStation Network is on the up.

"But I think all three are very different services in the way they are pitched. There are some exciting features of WiiWare that make it very appealing," he added.

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