Nintendo is inviting developers large and small to produce new downloadable games to be sold through the Wii Shop Channel.

The initiative, called "Wii Software" here and "WiiWare" in the US, was announced at a private developers' conference this week and confirmed to press in Europe this afternoon.

"Wii Software provides developers with big ideas - rather than big budgets - an easy and very accessible way to create new games and bring them to the marketplace," European marketing director Laurent Fischer explained.

The service would also offer "great additional value for Wii owners who will be able to download fresh new games," Fischer added.

The first Wii Software titles will launch in early 2008. Users will pay for games using Wii Points.

Nintendo has always said it intended for the Wii Shop to host original downloadable games, but until now the company has only offered budget-priced downloads from the back catalogues of NES, SNES and N64 consoles - as well as SEGA's Megadrive and Hudson's TurboGrafx-16 - through its "Virtual Console" initiative.

Bringing new-game downloads online in 2008 will put the platform holder belatedly into line with Sony and Microsoft, whose PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles already support the option.

Nintendo, however, will be hoping that the Wii's unique motion-sensing control options will inspire developers to produce more interesting software than can be found on either of its competitors' platforms.

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Tom Bramwell

Tom Bramwell

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Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.

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