Wii Shop Channel
|Launch date||November 19, 2006 (Wii, SD Only)
November 18, 2012 (Wii U, HD Only)
Wii U (Wii Mode Only)
The Wii Shop Channel is an online shop for the Wii video game console that allows users to download Virtual Console games, WiiWare games, and additional channels. Downloading may require redeeming Wii Points. The channel launched with Wii on November 19, 2006. Available software is currently organized into three sections: Virtual Console, WiiWare, and Wii Channels.
Albeit now succeeded by the Nintendo eShop, the Wii Shop Channel remains accessible on the Wii U console via Wii Mode, supporting the download of most WiiWare titles, as well as most legacy, Wii-based Virtual Console titles, consequently allowing users to continue purchasing/downloading many Virtual Console titles that are yet to be available via the Nintendo eShop.
Wii Points are the currency used in transactions on the Wii Shop Channel. Wii Points may be obtained by either redeeming Nintendo Points Cards purchased from retail outlets or directly through the Wii Shop Channel using a MasterCard or Visa credit card.
In 2008, Club Nintendo in Europe began offering Wii Points in exchange for "stars" received from registering games and consoles on the website.
The Virtual Console allows users to download classic games from past video game consoles. There are currently over 300 games available in North America and, as of December 31, 2007, over 10 million games have been downloaded worldwide. All games are exact replicas of the originals with no updated features or graphics, with the exception of Pokémon Snap which was updated to allow in-game pictures to be posted to the Wii Message Board. New games are added weekly at 9 A.M. Pacific Time every Thursday (previously every Monday) in North America, Tuesdays in Japan and South Korea, and Fridays in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Consoles include both Nintendo systems, such as the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Nintendo 64, and non-Nintendo systems, such as the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Master System, PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16, MSX, Neo Geo and Commodore 64 (Europe and North America only). Each system has a base starting price for games on that system. All titles currently range from 500 to 1200 Wii Points.
|System||Starting Cost (Wii Points)|
|Sega Master System||500|
|Commodore 64 (Europe and North America only)||500|
|Virtual Console Arcade||500|
|MSX (Japan only)||700|
|Sega Mega Drive/Genesis||800 (600 in Japan)|
In Europe and North America, the Virtual Console features several import titles which were not previously made available in those respective territories. These games cost 100-300 more points than the normal price due to their import status and some translation work.
The WiiWare section features new, original games specifically designed for Wii. Games are priced between 500 and 1500 points. To decrease the size of the games, instruction manuals are hosted on each game's Wii Shop Channel page. Some titles feature additional downloadable content, priced from 100 to 800 points, that can be purchased using Wii Points in game or from the game's page.
The Wii Channels section features additional non-game channels that can be downloaded and used on Wii.
Currently, there are three free Channels offered worldwide: the Everybody Votes Channel, the Check Mii Out Channel (Mii Contest Channel in Europe), and the Nintendo Channel. An update to the Photo Channel (Photo Channel 1.1) is also available. A fourth Channel, the Internet Channel, a web browser based on Opera, is available worldwide for free as of September 1, 2009. There are also two exclusive free Japanese channels: the Television Friend Channel, which provides channel listing and recording reminder features, and the Digicam Print Channel, which allows users to order business cards and photo albums using photos stored on SD cards or the Photo Channel. Previously, a preview channel for Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was available for free in the fall of 2007 for North America and PAL regions before it was removed from the Wii Shop Channel several months after the game's launch.
There are currently plans for two more channels that will be offered for download from the Wii Shop Channel: the Wii Speak Channel will let up to four users of Wii Speak chat with each other and the Everyone's Theater Channel, a video on demand service that will offer movies and television episodes to Wii owners via Netflix for 100 to 400 points each. The Wii Speak Channel will be available worldwide for free to those who purchase Wii Speak, while the Everyone's Theater Channel will only be available in Japan this December for 500 points.
The Wii Channels section in the Wii Shop Channel was originally under the name of WiiWare in North America and Wii Software in Europe, before moving to its own dedicated space when WiiWare launched. These Wii Channels are not available on Wii U.
During downloads, an 8-bit sprite of Mario or Luigi (based on Super Mario Bros.) will run or swim across the screen below three "coin blocks" (there are six different animations of Mario and Luigi in regular, Super, and Fire forms combined; some animations appearing more often than others). When the animation uses Fire Mario or Fire Luigi, tapping the A button will make them shoot fire balls. As the download progresses, spinning coins will appear from the right side of the screen. Each such coin is an indicator that approximately 2% of the total download has completed. Often the display of some spinning coins is skipped, so the total number of coins collected will usually be less than (but close to) 50 when the download reaches 100%. After Mario/Luigi has collected up to 15 spinning coins, he will hit the first coin block to indicate that the download is 30% complete. After collecting up to 15 additional spinning coins, he will hit the second block on the screen to indicate the download is 60% complete. Once up to 15 more spinning coins are collected, Mario/Luigi will hit the 3rd block to indicate that the download is 90% complete. The 3rd block is a multi-coin block which Mario/Luigi will continue to hit until the final 5 spinning coins are collected, which indicates 100% completion of the download.
Software downloaded from the Wii Shop Channel is saved onto the Wii console's internal memory. After a download is complete, the new software appears on the Wii Menu as a channel. Software can be copied to SD cards or re-downloaded for free. Wii consoles with system software version 4.0 can download software directly to SD cards.
Downloaded content is licensed only to the console on which it was purchased, not to the purchaser. If the console malfunctions irreparably, the licenses are not transferable to a replacement console, and need to be re-purchased. Nintendo advises, "Unfortunately, it is not possible to transfer any Virtual Console or WiiWare licenses to a new console. When you purchase a Virtual Console or WiiWare game, you are technically only purchasing the license for that game on the console it is downloaded to. You do not retain the license for that game on other consoles that you may purchase."
On December 10, 2007 a gift feature was added to the Wii Shop Channel. This feature allows users to purchase and send games and channels to friends as gifts. Users select a title, select the gift option, and write a message to send with the gift. The recipient then receives a message that a gift has been sent to him or her. This user can then either accept or reject the gift, and will be able to download the gifted software from the Wii Shop Channel if the former is performed. Gift recipients would not be able to access the Wii Shop Channel unless they choose to accept or reject the sent gift. The user is then required to send a thank you note in return. The sender will receive the thank you note and notification that the gift was received.
If a user already has the game or if the user does not choose to accept the gift within 45 days, then the gift expires and the Wii Points are returned to the sender. The gift feature cannot be used to send gifts to Wii systems of a different region. Due to the lack of Wii Friend Codes on Wii U, the gifting feature is completely omitted from the Wii U's version of the Wii Shop Channel, although for some reason the Nintendo eShop itself even lacks a gift feature.
Because WiiConnect24 was deactivated on June 28, 2013, this gift option will no longer send messages or notifications to the message board of another console. A notice of a received gift is displayed when the recipient enters the Wii Shop Channel.
Downloaded games can receive updates from the Wii Shop Channel. This has been done four times so far to update Military Madness, Star Fox 64/Lylat Wars, Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (in North America and Europe), and Mario Kart 64 (in Europe and Australia). Several NES and SNES games released before March 30, 2007 have also been given updates in Europe and Australia to fix previous problems with the Wii component cables. These updates are free of charge to those who have downloaded a previous version of the game. Some WiiWare games have also featured free updates for the purposes of fixing bugs. These games include Dr. Mario Online Rx and Alien Crush Returns.
Connection Ambassador Programme
In 2009, Nintendo of Europe announced the "Wii Connection Ambassador"  program, a scheme designed to reward users for helping other new users get connected online and to the Wii Shop Channel. The service has since been launched in New Zealand and Australia. Since the service launched in 2009 the scheme has proved hugely popular with many sites appearing online dedicated to helping connect users and share system codes. This service remains exclusive for PAL version Wii consoles.
Wii Shop Channel updates
The Wii Shop Channel has received several updates since launch that have added new features and functionality.
On February 16, 2007, PAL regions received an exclusive update that added secret pages called Warp Zones. These pages feature highly detailed background information and tips and tricks for newly added Nintendo published games. These secret pages are accessible only on certain pages through links disguised as ASCII faces.
On March 30, 2007, PAL regions received separate news articles for every new game added in an update to the Wii Shop's front page. Previously, all new games in an update would be announced in a single piece of news (with the exceptions of some flagship titles, such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time), with very little background information. This was added to the North American Wii Shop Channel on May 14, 2007.
On August 6, 2007, the Wii Shop Channel's interface was heavily updated. Four "Recommended Titles" are now featured on the Wii Shop Channel's splash page where they can be easily accessed, with new titles and prices indicated. Games are now categorized by system, genre, and publisher with the number of games in each category shown. A search tool was also added to allow users to search for a specific game.
A December 10, 2007, update added the ability to send software as gifts to Wii Friends. Along with this update, European Wii owners were given the ability to exchange points collected on the Nintendo of Europe website ("Stars") for Wii Points. The update also included a redesigned start screen and Wii Menu icon that now promotes recently released games.
On March 20, 2008, the Wii Shop Channel was updated in preparation for the launch of WiiWare games coming out later that spring.
On October 22, 2008, the Wii Shop Channel received an update where the controller information was moved to a separate window within the game program. The Wii Shop Channel also prompts the user before he or she purchases a game to confirm if the user has the required controllers. The Wii Shop Channel also supposedly loads faster after this update.
In November 2008, the Wii Shop Channel was updated by adding "Wii Download Ticket" feature. Wii Download Tickets may be found packaged with select retail software and accessories (such as Wii Speak) and contain a 16-digit code (which can only be used once) that allows you to download specific software titles.
On March 25, 2009, the Wii Shop Channel was updated so that channels can be downloaded to and played directly from an SD card.
On October 20, 2009, the Wii Shop Channel was updated so that demo versions of certain games could be purchased for free at different points in time.
On September 8, 2010, Nintendo released another Shop Channel update. This adds the "Korean IOSes" to all regions as well as a new Shop Channel which requires an updated IOS56.
On November 6, 2012, Nintendo released a Wii Shop Channel update alongside a new IOS (IOS62). Interestingly, nothing else was changed in the update.
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