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US WiiWare service gets lift off

WiiWare, often hailed as Nintendo's answer to Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network, offers original downloadable titles from both independent and established developersstarting todayin the US. Six titles will be available from launch, compared to nine in Japan, with new games to be added each Monday.

WiiWare games are downloadable from the WiiWare section of the Wii Shop Channel. Users must redeem Wii Points, which can be purchased from the Wii Shop Channel or at retail outlets, in order to activate downloads.

After an hour of play users will have the option to rate titles on the newly launched Nintendo Channel, with results published on an ongoing basis in order to help gamers identify the titles that have been well and poorly received. The channel will also showcase WiiWare titles in video format to give users an idea of what they're shelling out for.

"WiiWare is to the videogame industry what independent films are to Hollywood," said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of sales and marketing.

"WiiWare lets developers experiment with new ideas and experiences. Combined with our collection of classic Virtual Console games, Wii provides one-stop shopping for the greatest games of the past - and the future."

Launch titles:

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King (Square Enix, 1 player, Rated E for Everyone - Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, 1,500 Wii Points)

LostWinds (Frontier Development, 1-2 players, Rated E for Everyone - Mild Fantasy Violence, 1,000 Wii Points)

Defend your Castle (XGen Studios, 1-4 players, Rated E for Everyone - Cartoon Violence, 500 Wii Points)

Pop (Nnooo, 1-4 players, Rated E for Everyone, 700 Wii Points)

V.I.P. Casino: Blackjack (High Voltage Software, Inc., 1-4 players, Rated T for Teen - Simulated Gambling, 700 Wii Points)

TV Show King (Gameloft, 1-4 players, Rated E for Everyone, 1,000 Wii Points)

WiiWare launches in Europe on May 20 (as Wii Software)and has already released in Japan.

Courtesy of Next Generation.

May 12, 2008