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The Wii Shop Channel start screen from the Wii Menu.
|Developer||Nintendo Special Planning & Development|
|Launch date||November 19, 2006|
|Discontinued||January 30, 2019|
(Ability to purchase WiiWare, Virtual Console titles and channels was removed on January 30, 2019 at 6 AM UTC; users can presently continue re-downloading and/or transfer previously acquired content to the Wii U)
The Wii Shop Channel was an online shop for the Wii video game console that allowed users to download Virtual Console games, WiiWare games, and additional channels. The channel launched on November 19, 2006, and ceased operations on January 30, 2019. Available software was organized into three sections: Virtual Console, WiiWare, and Wii Channels. It is now impossible to purchase content on the channel, but all previously purchased content can still be re-downloaded indefinitely as of February 1, 2019. Upon its discontinuation, most software was removed from the channel, and the shop's interface reverted to its original 2006 design and layout.
Presently succeeded by the Nintendo eShop, the Wii Shop Channel was accessible on the original Wii and 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 were the currency used in transactions on the Wii Shop Channel. Wii Points were 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. On March 26, 2018, the ability to purchase Wii Points was removed forever following a temporary maintenance notice, preventing users from purchasing WiiWare or Virtual Console games unless they had enough Wii Points in their account balance already. Already purchased software could still be downloaded, and any existing Wii Point credit were redeemable until January 30, 2019.
The Virtual Console allowed users to download classic games from past video game consoles. There were 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 were 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 included both Nintendo systems, such as the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Nintendo 64, and non-Nintendo systems, such as the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, Sega Master System, PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16, MSX, Neo Geo and Commodore 64 (Europe and North America only). Each system had a base starting price for games on that system. All titles ranged from 500 to 1200 Wii Points.
If a person using the now defunct Connection Ambassador Programme reached Gold status (Helped 10 people to connect), they would be able to download any Nintendo-published NES game free of charge. Additionally, if they reached Platinum (helped 20 people to connect), they would be able to download any NES, SNES and N64 game in the Virtual console free of charge.
|System||Starting Cost (Wii Points)|
|NES/Famicom||500 (600 for Famicom)|
|Sega Master System||500|
|Commodore 64 (Europe and North America only)||500|
|Virtual Console Arcade||500|
|MSX (Japan only)||700|
|Sega Genesis/Mega Drive||800 (600 in Japan)|
In Europe and North America, the Virtual Console featured 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 featured original games specifically designed for Wii. Games were priced between 500 and 1500 points. To decrease the size of the games, instruction manuals were hosted on each game's Wii Shop Channel page. Some titles featured additional downloadable content, priced from 100 to 800 points, that could be purchased using Wii Points in game or from the game's page.
The Wii Channels section featured additional non-game channels that can be downloaded and used on Wii.
Before the WiiConnect24 service was discontinued, there were 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, if not preinstalled. A fourth Channel, the Internet Channel, a web browser based on Opera, was available worldwide originally for 500 Wii Points but was free as of September 1, 2009. Anyone who paid the 500 Wii Points for the Internet Channel has been refunded. There were 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. In North America and Europe, the Netflix channel was available in the Wii Channels section, along with Crunchyroll.
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 were unavailable on the Wii U console.
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.
On December 10, 2007, a gift feature was added to the Wii Shop Channel, allowing users to purchase and send games and channels to others as gifts. The receiving user was given the option to download or reject the gift upon opening the Wii Shop Channel, with a notification being sent out to the send if it was accepted. If a user already had the game or if the user did not choose to accept the gift within 45 days, then the gift expired and the Wii Points are returned to the sender. The feature was region locked and incompatible with the Wii U's Nintendo eShop.
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 Promotion
In 2009, Nintendo of Europe announced the "Connection Ambassador Promotion", a scheme designed to reward users for helping other new users get connected online and to the Wii Shop Channel. Both users (The Ambassador and the person who was helped) received a reward of 500 Wii Points each time the ambassador helped someone get online. If the ambassador assisted 20 people, the ambassador would have accumulated 10,000 Wii Points from the programme while attaining Platinum status and be able to download all titles from the Virtual Console section of the Wii Shop Channel free of charge. The service also launched in New Zealand and Australia. Since the service launched in 2009 the scheme had proved hugely popular with many sites appearing online dedicated to helping connect users and share system codes. This service remained exclusive for PAL version Wii consoles.
The programme ended on November 21, 2012.
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 the download of 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). Nothing else was changed in the update. It is believed this was added to allow Wii U support.
On March 26, 2018, the Wii Shop Channel was updated to remove the ability to purchase Wii Points in preparation for its shutdown in the following year.
On January 30, 2019 at 1 am EST, Nintendo removed all WiiWare, Virtual Console and other Wii Channels from sale or initial download, with the exception of the save data update channel for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the Wii U Transfer Tool channel (on Wii consoles), and the Wii System Transfer channel (on Wii U consoles). Users can continue re-downloading any game or app they acquired prior to the shutdown date, and the ability to re-download and/or transfer content between Wii and Wii U consoles will continue until an unknown date. On the day of the closure, the shop's main UI has been updated to show its original 2006 layout as it appeared when the channel first launched back in November 19, 2006, removing the WiiWare button entirely.
Japanese users were able to transfer or refund any remaining Wii Points post the shutdown date from February 21, 2019 until August 31, 2019.
- Nintendo eShop
- Xbox Games Store
- PlayStation Store
- Lists of Virtual Console games
- List of Xbox Originals
- Lists of PS one Classics
- List of WiiWare games
- List of Xbox Live Arcade games
- List of downloadable PlayStation games
- Xbox Live Arcade
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