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Nintendo readies Wii game-making tool for all

Amateur coders to create the next Mario?

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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.

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