Nintendo on Monday put its latest shot across the bow of Microsoft and Sony when it officially launched WiiWare, its new online repository of downloadable games.
Ostensibly a service where Wii gamers will be able to shop for new, independent games, WiiWare seems to be Nintendo's answer to Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade and its XNA Studio and to Sony's PlayStation Store.
WiiWare is launching with six games: Square Enix's Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, Frontier Development's LostWinds, XGen Studios' Defend your Castle, Nnooo's Pop, High Voltage Software's V.I.P. Casino: Blackjack, and Gameloft's TV Show King.
Nintendo said it would add new games to WiiWare each Monday.
In February, Nintendo said in an interview with CNET News.com sister site, GameSpot.com, that there were as many as 100 WiiWare games in development.
And while many gamers would surely like to see more games in the system at launch, the fact that there are so many in the pipeline already means that Nintendo will likely not have to worry about populating the service with new weekly titles for some time.
For independent developers, the service also provides a new avenue for getting their work in front of gamers--and on a new platform. Microsoft has been very aggressive with using its XNA platform as a way of bringing independently created games to the Xbox community, and now Nintendo will be able to compete for some of those developers' time.