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Nintendo Quiet On WiiWare Demo Details And Future, Devs Happy With Change

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Posted November 23, 2009 - By pklepek


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Nintendo Quiet On WiiWare Demo Details And Future, Developers Happy With Change

You can download a demo for every Xbox Live Arcade release. Sony doesn't mandate demos on PlayStation Network, but these days, it's uncommon to see a downloadable released without a slice of the experience available for free. Nintendo's WiiWare service hasn't include any demos -- period. That changed last week, as Nintendo announced demo versions of World of Goo, BIT.TRIP BEAT, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life As A Dark Lord, NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits and Pokemon Rumble.

The experiment spans both first and third-party releases on WiiWare. I contacted several studios with demos now on WiiWare, but all were hesistant to discuss details of the new policy. Nintendo is notoriously secret about its internal workings and this situation's no different. All developers I contacted were unable to disclose how they were picked by Nintendo or how demo content was decided.

Nintendo provided little clarity on the subject when asked, only telling me it "works closely with game developers" to create the WiiWare demos. As for whether demos would continue past this initial wave, Nintendo was mum, telling me that explicitly that no decisions had been made about the future.

WiiWare developers, however, were quick to tell me how happy they were about the decision.

Nintendo Makes Good On Downloadable Demo Promise, Rolls Out WiiWare Demos

"I can say that interest definitely spiked for Bit.Trip Beat (I mean who doesn’t like free?) when the demo hit and that sales certainly picked up because of it," said Aksys Games director of marketing Gail Salamanca to me over e-mail.

Salamanca couldn't get more specific than that, but supported the notion of more demos.

"Yes... A resounding yes," said Salamanca.

Over The Top Games director Robert Alvarez de Lara Siede was a little more forthcoming about the impact the release of the WiiWare demo had on the (supremely underrated!) NyxQuest.

"We have seen an increase in sales of about 600% for the past days"

"We are a very small dev studio (6 people now), so getting the attention of the press is not easy," said de Lara. "With the WiiWare demos we are seeing a lot of good feedback from the community and a lot more awareness. Just looking for our game in Google gives us a lot more results. Now more people is getting to know our game through the demo and hopefully they will enjoy it and download the full version. We have seen an increase in sales of about 600% for the past days, so this is definitely a good thing for us."

de Lara's in the same boat as Salamanca, too: more demos is a good thing.

"We are supporting this demo approach and I think all the developers will," he said. "In my opinion this is a good thing for developers and players, because now they will have more interest to connect their Wiis and visit the WiiWare shop."

Unfortunately, as noted, Nintendo remains uncommitted to producing or allowing -- let alone mandating -- demos for WiiWare. The amount of developer support so far, however, does bode well for its future.

Have you downloaded any WiiWare demos yet?

Have something to share? Have a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Tags: Videogames, Wii
Nintendo Quiet On WiiWare Demo Details And Future, Devs Happy With Change
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