Nintendo readies Wii game-making tool for all
Amateur coders to create the next Mario?
Nintendo is to follow Microsoft's lead and offer a downloadable games programming package for its latest games console.
The software is called WiiWare. Like the XNA Game Studio that Microsoft released in December 2006 for Xbox 360 and Windows game programming, WiiWare is aimed at amateur coders, though the company admitted it may not be for people who've never done any programming before.
Both programming tools allow users to create small games which they can then post online and allow other gamers to download and try. Whether coders will be able to charge money for their efforts, and what cut, if any, Nintendo will take, isn't clear at this stage.
WiiWare itself will cost Wii Points to download once it's posted in the console's Wii Shop Channel. It's not clear when the software will be made available: Nintendo said: "The first WiiWare content will launch in early 2008," but that appears to mean games rather than the coding software itself. If Nintendo means WiiWare istelf, that's a long wait.
Re: Homebrew and fighting back
There is no indication that this has anything to do with homebrew of hobbyist developers. I very much doubt we will see any new or ported media players from this source. What we will have is independent developers being able to get a game out for 50-100K instead of a few million.
As for fighting back, I hardly think Nintendo are bothered in any way about a few dozen lines of ActionScript which allow some rudimentary button mapping in Flash.
... is deafening. OK, let's see what they come up with by next week, a few hours is perhaps unkind !
With Microsoft and Nintendo offering these tools, surely Sony will do something similar ? This is a good model, anyone remember Atari APX ?
Tool for all?
WiiWare (US) and Wii Software (Europe) are certainly initiatives to bring original content to the Wii alongside the Virtual Console and Nintendo do appear to be courting smaller developers as well as the likes of EA, Sega and Ubisoft. But nowhere in any of the official announcements has there been any indication that this is akin to XNA or any attempt to bring hobbyist programmers into the fold. I've seen a few news sources repeat this, but it's not what Nintendo said in their Press Release.
There is a huge difference between encouraging professional independant development and allowing anyone with a home computer access to development tools.