WiiWare Grows over 30% to Nearly $60 Million in 2009
February 22, 2010 - Forecasting and Analyzing Digital Entertainment, LLC (FADE) has released its annual report for 2009 for Nintendo's WiiWare and Virtual Console services. FADE estimates that the two platforms combined for $125 million in revenue in 2009, with the holiday rush just giving Virtual Console the edge over WiiWare ($66 million to $59 million).
While WiiWare grew by over 30% in 2009 compared to its launch year, Virtual Console slid almost 25% in 2009, leading to an small overall decline of 6% year-over-year. The main factors for the decline in Virtual Console revenue are an overall weaker and less numerous release schedule in 2009, combined with a promotion by Nintendo to give away a free NES game to Wii owners who had purchased the Wii Internet Channel - leading to over 500,000 free downloads.
As with most downloadable markets, the top titles take in most of the revenue. On WiiWare, the top 20 games (10% of the market) took in almost 70% of the revenue, while on Virtual Console the top 50 games (10%) took in almost 80% of the revenue. The top-heavy nature of the market has led to the majority of titles on both services seeing less than 10,000 sales lifetime.
One important detail to point out is that while the Nintendo dominates among the classic titles on the Virtual Console, taking in 76% of revenue on that platform, WiiWare is a different story altogether. That platform has proven much more hospitable to third parties, with Nintendo only earning 16% of WiiWare revenue. (See attached figure.)
FADE believes 2010 will continue to see small declines in Virtual Console with strong gains in WiiWare, as they project the Virtual Console to take in approximately $60 million with