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Nintendo Europe planning WiiWare TV blitz

Fischer promises bigger push for download service in response to concerns that the company isn't doing enough to promote titles

Seeking to answer claims it is not doing enough to promote its new games download service, Nintendo of Europe has revealed plans for a major TV push to raise awareness about WiiWare.

Marketing boss Laurent Fischer this week acknowledged that it is "Nintendo's job" to support its developers by working harder to drive consumers to the service, and pledged to "promote this more heavily on an above-the-line basis on TV and in print."

WiiWare, which launched in Europe on May 20, is Nintendo's response to Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, offering complete, low-memory games as part of the company's existing Virtual Console Channel on Wii.

But with relatively little marketing spend going on the launch, Nintendo has received criticism in the press and from gamers via forums that it is failing in its duty to support and promote the titles developers were producing for the service.

Fischer, speaking exclusively to GamesIndustry.biz, responded to these claims, insisting that the company was already making use of existing mechanisms to fuel awareness.

"What we are doing, and this is I think important to keep in mind, is within the tools that we have at Nintendo to support and promote this feature, we are already use them as extensively as possible," he said.

"The key tools of course are the website, which is updated automatically every time we have a release. We also inform the journalists all over Europe about new titles; and we use the Nintendo Channel, which basically allows us to go directly to all of the consumers who have connected their Wii online. These tools area already there and we use them proactively and intensively."

However, Fischer conceded that a broader campaign was necessary, and revealed specific marketing initiatives were in the works to promote WiiWare via mainstream television and print media.

"The next step is that we start to develop TV campaigns – this is on different paths in different countries," he explained. "In France the TV campaign to promote WiiWare in general has already launched and I know that we're considering that kind of activity to promote WiiWare via mass market media. It's just a matter of timing between the different countries.

"We believe that this software we have is very unique so the idea is that we need to drive awareness of what is available and how it works. We know that it takes time to drive that awareness among the general public."

And in a move to reassure the small independent developers Nintendo is keen to attract to the service, Fischer added: "That's our job – to make sure as many people as possible with a Wii check out the WiiWare content. That's Nintendo's job; we are committed to this."

Fischer this week also sought to clarify as a "joke" comments quoted in the press, where he claimed only "geeks and otaku" were interested in extra storage for the Wii, revealing that Nintendo was currently "working on a solution".

LostWinds, by UK developer Frontier, is the current top-selling title on WiiWare in Europe.

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Johnny Minkley


Johnny Minkley is a veteran games writer and broadcaster, former editor of Eurogamer TV, VP of gaming charity SpecialEffect, and hopeless social media addict.

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