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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 May 2008, 11:49 GMT 12:49 UK
Nintendo gears up for online launch
By Jim Reed
Newsbeat technology reporter

Final Fantasy

Nintendo will make eight game titles available for its Wii download service when it launches in the UK on May 20.

The WiiWare store will stock low cost, arcade style games, many based on Nintendo's best selling brands.

Launch titles include Dr Mario & Germ Buster and Final Fantasy Chrystal Chronicles: My Life as a King.

WiiWare will go head-to-head with a rival service from Microsoft.

XBox Live Arcade, which has been running since 2004, sells games priced from 3.40 to 10.

One hundred and twenty five different titles are already available from 25 independent studios.

Small profit

More than 19 million Wiis have been sold since its debut in November 2006, making it the best-selling console in the world.

WII launch titles
Dr. Mario & Germ Buster
Final Fantasy Chronicles: My Life as a King
Lost Winds
Pirates: The Key of Dreams
Star Soldier R
Toki Tori
TV Show King
But it is thought Nintendo makes only a small profit on each machine it sells.

The real money comes through selling software and here Nintendo trails behind Sony and Microsoft.

According to the research company NPD, Nintendo sells just three games per machine against four for the Playstation and seven for the Xbox.

Nintendo will be hoping that budget WiiWare titles will appeal to casual gamers who may not be prepared to pay 40+ for a full price release.

Big Budget

Wii owners with a broadband connection will be able to copy the games directly to their console.

Games will typically cost between 3.50 and 11.50.

Players can use a credit or debit card to charge up their account with Wii points which can then be traded in for games. Points are also on sale at high street stores.

The platform is also designed to attract smaller game studios that cannot afford to develop big budget titles.

Nintendo's Cammie Dunaway said: "WiiWare is to the video game industry what independent films are to Hollywood. It lets developers experiment with new ideas and experiences."

Lost Winds
Lost Winds is one of the game's available for download
Australian developer Nnooo is launching a puzzle game called Pop on the platform next week.

The firm's founder and creative director Nic Watt told Newsbeat: "We are a new studio and this is our first title. Getting a contract to make a disc-based game can be hard going.

"With WiiWare, there are no upfront costs. We just sell as many copies as we sell. It cuts out the middle man and allows us to fund our next project."

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