Monday, May 12, 2008

WiiWare is Here

Nintendo has launched the new WiiWare service today. WiiWare allows for bigger and more complex games to be downloaded straight to the console, competing directly with the kind of original contents you normally find on X-Box Live and the PlayStation Network Store. Though WiiWare is an exciting new step for Wii, it also exposes the console's most fatal flaw.

More games = more memory space.

The Wii can barely keep up with the classic games that are available for download and they each take just a small fraction of the Wii's almost non-existent internal memory space. It is frustrating to keep moving games back and forth from the Wii Channel and my 2GB SD card just to create more space for downloads. The reason why we download these games to begin with is to be able play them easily at our own conveniences and that is becoming a hassle with each new games downloaded from the online shop. The easiest thing that Nintendo can do to solve this problem without bulking up the Wii's petit physique is the integration of the internal memory and the SD card where the console reads from the card and enable the games contained within to be played directly from the Wii Channel screen. Still, compared to the monstrous 3-digits worth of GB space the X-Box 360 and the PlayStation 3 have, we are really looking at an external add-on solution for the Wii in the near future if Nintendo or other third-party developers can quickly get their act together and make this happen.

The "channel" system on the Wii menu is clever and presents a lot of great opportunities for Nintendo, like the recent release of Nintendo Channel. With new channels sucking up what is left of the Wii's remaining memory blocks, Nintendo should realize how bad the space dilemma really is by now.

There are 6 games available through the WiiWare service today. Out of the bunch, only LostWinds and Defend Your Castle look fun. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King is plagued with micro-transactions that make it less attractive than it should be. Overall, the service is off to an awkward start: Though Nintendo is promising better and larger "wares" to play on the Wii, they are not giving us the "where" in terms of a logical storage solution for the downloads.

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