Good news, Wii owners. Nintendo has announced that downloadable demos of WiiWare games will make their return this Friday, November 5, 2010. The demos are currently confirmed for only for Europe, though it is not much of a stretch to imagine that Nintendo may roll them out to other territories, as well.
The eclectic initial batch of demos includes platform-adventure Furry Legends (1000 Wii Points), 3D action-adventure Jett Rocket (1000 Wii Points), puzzle game ThruSpace (800 Wii Points), and third-person shooter Zombie: Panic In Wonderland (1000 Wii Points). Each demo will be available for a limited time only, and the lineup of available demos is due to be updated regularly.
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Of course, this is not the first time Nintendo has explored the viability of downloadable game demos. In November 2009, World of Goo, Bit.Trip Beat, Pokemon Rumble, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Dark Lord, and NyxQuest Kindred Spirits demos were offered to the public. Unfortunately, those demos had the nasty habit of dropping players into the WiiWare store at the end of each play session, a time-consuming proposition that tempered many gamers' enthusiasm for the service. No word has been given on whether the new demos will follow a similar path.
By the end of January, 2010, the original demos had been taken down and downloaded copies of them ceased to function. Why? Nintendo explained that, "From the start, the demo program was always planned to be available for a limited time on a trial basis."
By announcing up front that they will regularly be refreshing the demo lineup, Nintendo seems to be indicating that WiiWare demos will become an ongoing feature. It's about time. Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network have offered downloadable demos of both original content and retail releases from the moment their respective systems went on sale. Given the relative lack of promotion many WiiWare titles receive, offering demos has got to be considered a positive development.
Ranters, what are your thoughts on WiiWare demos? Is Nintendo finally catching on, or is it too little, too late?
Nintendo of America announced just this morning that WiiWare demos will indeed be coming to North America, though the initial lineup will be ever so slightly different from what was available in Europe. Beginning November 22, 2010, North American Wii owners will be able to download demos for Jett Rocket, ThruSpace, BIT.TRIP FATE, and And Yet It Moves. In every other respect, the North American WiiWare demo program will mirror its European counterpart.