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Demos to return to WiiWare service

Nintendo offering rolling selection of trials

Free WiiWare demo downloads are returning to the Wii Shop channel as Ninetendo attempts to boost sales of it's downloadable titles.

The demos will be available in Europe from 5 November, 2010 and will operate on a rotation basis, with titles getting a period of demo availability before giving way to new games. The first demos available on the service will be Furry Legends, Jett Rocket, Zombie Panic in Wonderland and ThruSpace.

Historically, WiiWare titles are thought to have achieved much lower sales than their counterparts on XBLA and PSN, despite the huge install base of the console. Some studios have seen success with the service, however, such as 2D Boy, creators of World of Goo, and Zoonami, which created Bonsai Barber.

Zoonami's Martin Hollis spoke to recently, about his experiences with the service.

"Well, I think it's a very fine thing. The best thing about it is the size of the marketplace you can access," said Hollis.

"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."

Hollis admits to having a slight advantage due to a featuring in a Nintendo TV ad, however, and acknowledges that the competition on the service is still tough.

"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. 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."

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Dan Pearson