WiiWare sales threshold affecting developers

Gamasutra development sources have today reported Nintendo's WiiWare platform has a minimum sales threshold policy in place. WiiWare developers must reach a certain minimum amount in sales in order to recoup any money for their games. It was revealed indie developers are not paid at all.

According to Gamasutra, it is believed that these sales numbers are in the mid-four figure range in North America, and lower four figures for individual European territories. Money is not paid out until the Wiiware title sells over that number.

Speaking off record with Gamasutra, multiple developers have acknowledged the limit including one small development studio, which told them they believe they won't ever reach the minimum sales threshold.

Nintendo have not detailed the reason behind imposing this policy; however it could be an attempt to reduce the amount of "shovelware" developed for the platform which has plagued the Wii and DS consoles since launch.
However with no demos available for WiiWare games and the lack of a substantial storage device, many of the lower selling titles are at risk and are a potential problem which Nintendo have obviously not realized when pitching the idea to developers.

WiiWare was promoted as an avenue for developers with small budgets to release small applications and games similar to Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network. The service launched on March 2008 in Japan and May 2008 in North America and PAL regions.

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3 Comments

Woah what a dick move.

Take a commission, don't enforce a set number of sales. Nintendo can say bye bye to some more niche titles at this rate. Especially as a large part of the casual Nintendo audience may not even use things like WiiWare, just bring out the "exercise" mat every 2 months to lose some pounds.

When you have Sony paying all your licensing/development costs if you stay exclusive and both MS/Sony just taking a percentage regardless of sales, this system seems completely backwards.

I guess the big question is if a game does over this set figure, do Nintendo give up 100% profit or still take a commission? If they give 100% profit, I guess I could admit this system may work well for games that sell a lot.

I've bought quite a few WiiWare titles and most of them have been really good. I don't see Nintendo saying they won't get paid at all, just that they get paid at a threshold. It's probably not free to certify and host titles. XBL Creator's Club members aren't too happy either.

Nintendo denied to comment on the story, but the news is coming straight from the developers themselves. It's too far fetched to just make up a story like that.

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