Nintendo has closed The Wii Shop Channel for the Wii console. The online shop was launched in 2006 for the Wii and it allowed the users to download Virtual Console games, WiiWare games and use different channel on their console. The WiiWare service allowed even indie developers to publish smaller-scale games digitally without going the retail route.
The WiiWare service was an interesting attempt by Nintendo to provide a new way for digital developers but the limited marketing and visibility, especially in middle of Apple iOS boom, made it hard to succeed in the market. Still, there were some excellent releases like Frontier Developments‘ LostWind.
As the result of the shutdown all the hundreds of games published digitally for Wii are no more available. The users are still able to play or re-download the games they have bought/downloaded for the console but otherwise there is no more a legal way to access this portion of digital video games culture.
The closure demonstrates the problem of digital sales and how easily it is to lose a complete ecosystem by the platform owner’s decision.