Posted By: wraggster
Historically Nintendo's online presence has been lackluster to say the least. The Wii's digital storefront Wiiware had some great games like World of Goo, the Lost Winds series, and just this summer we saw the fiendishly difficult exploratory platformer La-Mulana make an appearance. Yet, by and large the service was forgotten. It didn't have the visibility or diversity of XBLA, PSN or Steam and customers tended to forget it existed. Nintendo certainly hasn't been doing it any favours by releasing a new model of the Wii that can't even go online to access its own shop.That could all change with the Wii U eShop which, according to several indie developers I spoke to, has addressed almost every issue WiiWare had.Martin Pichlmair of Broken Rules, whose 2D multiplayer flying game Chasing Aurora was a launch title in the US and is coming soon to Europe, noted that developers on the Wii U eShop can set their own price and release date. Furthermore, they can implement sales, promotions and price-drops. They can even add demos whenever they'd like.There's also more DLC support this time around. Devs can add updates with new features, instead of simply patches that fix broken games or bugs. There's even options to add microtransactions. "There is a process associated with this that makes sure that our game maintains or surpasses the level of quality it had before the update," explained Pichlmair.Chasing Aurora is by the team that made the excellent Wiiware platformer And Yet it Moves.
"The eShop interface appears to make games much more discoverable as compared to the original Wii, which is very important to smaller studios with zero marketing budget."
Kyle Gabler, co-founder, The Tomorrow Corporation
Trine 2 developer Frozenbyte's Joel Kinnunen - who previously published Trine on PSN and Steam and its sequel on the same plus XBLA - said, "the Wii U eShop is much better than XBLA and PSN from this point of view. Updates still need certification if they're meaningful (i.e. changes 'code') but it seems like that's not a very long process usually - i.e. not the two to three weeks wait that the other platforms have."There's also fewer size restrictions on eShop games. On Wiiware games had to be under a minuscule 40MB. On the Wii U eShop the size limit is much larger, if indeed there is one at all. "I don't think there is a size limit you should worry about," said Toki Tori 2 developer Two Tribes' Collin Van Ginkel. "There are full retail titles being offered, so it's at least 25GB."Pichlmair noted several other improvements to the way the eShop operates. You can now buy games with local currency instead of confusing Nintendo Points. The notoriously cumbersome friend codes are a thing of the past and people can add friends simply by sending requests like on any other digital gaming platform, and there's better visibility all around with games being promoted more frequently on the eShop's front page, complete with its own indie games section."The eShop interface appears to make games much more discoverable as compared to the original Wii, which is very important to smaller studios with zero marketing budget like us," said Littler Inferno developer The Tomorrow Corporation's Kyle Gabler.Pichlmair added, "There is a very well defined pipeline into the eShop and it will make it a much more lively place than good old WiiWare."