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Hollis: Nintendo isn't "putting a great deal of energy" into WiiWare promotion

But developers can still sell units and make money if they're smart, says Zoonami boss

Zoonami founder Martin Hollis has told that he believes Nintendo has not sufficiently promoted its WiiWare download service.

Speaking ahead of his talk at this week's GameCity event, Hollis remarked that the download market had instead been cornered by the iPhone.

"Apple have had such massive success in capturing media attention - they've sucked all of the air out of it," he said. "I don't know that Nintendo's putting a great deal of energy into trying to generate PR for WiiWare or DSiWare."

The director still saw potential in WiiWare as a business model, however.

"My impression is that you can make a game if you've got a few thousand Euros, Dollars, Pounds - because you will need a dev kit or two.. [If] you've got two really talented guys, you can make a game, and you can sell 200,000 and upwards. Some of the titles are £8 or £10.

"So the opportunities are there for people, you have to make a game that fits in with Nintendo - has a Nintendo feeling."

Hollis also felt that the relative paucity of titles on WiiWare could be a strength.

"I think it's a very fine thing. The best thing about it is the size of the marketplace you can access. There's a huge number of people who have a Wii, and a goodly proportion of those download games from WiiWare - it's tens of millions of people, and it's not overloaded with games, unlike some other app stores I could mention."

"Our experience was extremely positive, but our title was a second-party title and it did have some TV advertising with a spot inside a larger advert for Wii," Hollis continued.

"We assume that has to have an impact. As for margins, it's always the case that, if you make a good game you're selling ten or a hundred times as many units as the guy who made a mediocre game, a game that's maybe a little bit sub-par. Not much, but just a little bit. So that factor completely overrides any other."

For the full interview, including Hollis' feelings about the GoldenEye remake, WiiWare as a service and his role at GameCity, read the full interview on the frontpage.

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Latest comments (11)

I could say an awful lot more here - but I won't. I think its fairly obvious that Nintendo need to do more to promote WiiWare, and they themselves will admit this.

Our biggest hope for Flowerworks (our WiiWare title) is that the next console has a much stronger WiiShop/download integration, and that existing WiiWare titles are accessible from there as well. If WiiWare is compared to XBLA, Nintendo is a long way behind.

And as successful as the AppStore has been, I do think its a bit of a red herring for the industry: the sales figures are huge, but the average revenues are quite small (esp. when compared to retail titles).

A big retail title will do $100m-$500m in revenue - the biggest games on the AppStore will do 1% of this. The biggest winner is undoubtably Apple: they leverage off the AppStore to sell more hardware, which is where they make most of their profit.

In a way, the market has changed: it used to be "cheap hardware, expensive software" (consoles), now its "expensive hardware, free/cheap software" (Apple).
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Josef Brett Animator 11 years ago
The promotion of WiiWare titles is quite poor. Some of my favourite Wii games are Wiiware titles, but they're hard to find and I've only found out about them through reviews etc - there is nothing to advertise the good stuff on the shop channel. Also, not having demos is criminal.
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Jonah Falcon Writer 11 years ago
The problem is that Nintendo has built an audience that simply doesn't buy games at all - they don't buy retail games, much less online games, which probably seems like exploring pirate space to them. They don't care about Telltale or retro NES/SNES games.

There's consoles sold, and there's active console use, and Nintendo doesn't care if you put a Wii in a wood chipper - just so you bought it in the first place.

Reminds me of this article I wrote back in April 2009:

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jonah Falcon on 25th October 2010 3:45pm

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Show all comments (11)
Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 11 years ago
I agree, WiiWare is somehow quite out of the spotlight and the only promotional stuff they seem to focus on now is when they have the occassional first party title coming out.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.11 years ago
WiiWare definitely needs an overhaul. Given that Nintendo admits this themselves, hopefully that bodes well for their next home console.

Jonah, if Wii owners don't buy games, how come it has the same software attach ratio as the PS3? I still can't believe it's near the end of 2010 ad we still have people falsely claiming that Wii owners don't buy software.
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Stephen McCarthy Studying Games Technology, Kingston University11 years ago
WiiWare ((ds ware as well)) has not have anything good now, the only good things i got off it is some of the old games like link to the past.
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Haven Tso Web-based Game Reviewer 11 years ago
WiiWare was a missed opportunity for Nintendo tbh. They started off really well with Lost Wind and then Nintendo just let the momentum died away. There are still good titles on WiiWare but then they hardly get promotoed. The WiiWare store needs to be on the lips of Nintendo PR more and also it has to be built in as part of the Wii experience. But this just isn't happening at the mo.

As people are comparing this to App Store, I think they are not exactly the same in a way that Apple built the hardware around a software together so both are highly integrated. iPod and iPhone are nothing without iTune and App Store, so they can't live without each other and prompting users to use them together heavily. However for WiiWare, you don't really need WiiWare to have a good experience with the console. So it became something that is out of sight out of mind.
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The real concern in the industry, and what Nintendo were "most" afraid of, is Apple have driven software prices down .... way down. Its now a race to the bottom, where its not uncommon to pick up good software for $1-$5.

I still buy plenty of software for my Wii - but none of it new, or at full price. I paid $59AU (a new title costs $79 if you are lucky, and $99 if you are not) - and picked up SpyBorgs, Crystal Bearers, Bully & Castlevania Judgement. 4 quality commercial, retail titles - for $15 each.

It makes WiiWare actually look "expensive" (one of the reasons I rarely visit there now) - the cheapest title (in AU) is $7.50, a 1000pt title is $15, and one of the "bigger" titles (1500pts) costs a whopping $20+. More expensive than retail, and for a fraction of the content or quality.
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Tony Johns11 years ago
I have an idea, how about Nintendo tries to advertise their Official Nintendo Magazine at a mainstream level!!!

Because you have all the WiiWare games being brought by the people who buy the magazines, and if you make outside people aware of the magazines that have information about the WiiWare games that they can download for a cheeper price, then that means there will be more people wanting to not only buy your official magazine but as well as people looking at the downloadable games and wanting them too....

But this might also go downto if the older generation of people like the mums and dads or grandparents who got Wii Sports and Wii Fit they may not want to download games from WiiWare if they feel like they don't understand how to connect the Wii to the wireless internet server...

So that might be the only downfall.

So even though the Wii has so many users, how many of them know or are aware of the WiiWare service?

Because the only gamers I see who are getting the WiiWare games are not the casual market, but more of the hard core market trying their best to support the indie developers who offer the support for WiiWare service...

With the Apple IPhone apps, they may have a huge ammount of games on the system, but because they are not competing with themselves their app store can be seen as more successful to the casual market than the hardcore market...

but then, I don't know about marketing anyway. If Nintendo wanted WiiWare and DSiWare to work, maybe they should try to put more effort in helping to bring awareness of the system and how easy it is to download games from that system instead of leaving it up to indie developers who can't afford the advertising to market their games and only being able to be mentioned in gamer mags as their only avanue of free advertising.
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Tony Johns11 years ago
Even though it looks like WiiWare might have been a failed experiment, I still believe that downloading games either the WiiWare or even the Retro games on the Virtual Console are still great assets to the Wii experience.

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.11 years ago
Tony, I believe Future Publishing handles both Nintendo Power (US) and Official Nintendo Magazine so I don't think they advertise in them as easily if it were all published and produced in house. Though I agree they should put more effort across the board in advertising the services.
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