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.