April 02, 2013

New Nintendo Web Framework Means More Development Options for Wii U

Perhaps one of the biggest issues surrounding the recent launch of the Wii U from Nintendo has been the overall dearth of new games arriving on the new platform. After all, a game system without games is little more than a fancy, overpriced paperweight, so getting games to the Wii U is likely a very high priority within Nintendo right now. To that end, Nintendo–who recently spoke at the GDC 2013 event–revealed a new Nintendo Web Framework which would give developers a variety of new options for developing apps for the Wii U.

The new Nintendo Web Framework allows for development in HTML5, as well as in JavaScript or in CSS (NewsAlert) and supports the Wii U GamePad, the Wii Remote, and JavaScript extensions for things like video playback. While there would be more options for developers overall to come with the new framework, Nintendo also noted that the toolset would also drop development times and make app development easier overall.

This development actually dovetails into earlier reports from January, where Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata described some of Nintendo’s plans to expand on a range of software development tools, which in turn would have provided better access to Nintendo’s various markets for independent developers and give Nintendo more to offer. For instance, Iwata reportedly discussed a version of Google (News Alert) Streetview known as Wii Street U, describing it as "…developed by a small team mostly using Web technologies based on HTML5, not the so-called native codes only for Wii U applications."

Iwata also later established a connection between various Web technologies and the development of the Miiverse and Nintendo TVii, both important parts of the overall Nintendo landscape. Iwata described the development of these tools by saying "The Wii U console is powerful enough to smoothly run such applications as developed in this way without writing any specific programs. We have been able to deploy various services for this console with less in-house development resources in a more timely manner than our previous platforms."

Of course, having extra Web apps on hand will likely, in the long run, improve the overall value proposition of the Nintendo Wii U and likely make some folks glad they picked up a system after all. But this is still, on a certain level, solving the wrong problem, akin to polishing the brass on the Titanic five minutes after hitting the iceberg. The problem isn’t so much that Nintendo isn’t offering a variety of apps for the Wii U, or giving it better mapping functions or video chat capabilities, the problem is that Nintendo is deeply lacking in terms of games. Some titles still, at last report, have vague release dates measured by quarter.

But bringing in independent developers could certainly help buy some time for Nintendo’s biggest guns to get their own release ducks in a row, providing some gaming fun for those doubting the value of their new game system purchase until the bigger games can roll out. If Nintendo can keep games–good games, fun games–rolling out, it’s likely not to matter too much just where these developers come from, or what platform is used to develop these games.

Edited by Brooke Neuman


HTML 5 Demos and Examples

HTML 5 experimentation and demos I've hacked together. Click on the browser support icon or the technology tag to filter the demos.... Learn More

HTML5 GAMES is the largest and most comprehensive directory of HTML5 games on the internet... Learn More

The HTML5 test

How well does your browser support HTML5?... Learn More

Working Draft (WHATWG)

This is the Editor’s Draft from WHATWG. You can use it online or print the available PDF version... Learn More

HTML5 Flip Book

Free jQuery and HTML5 flip book maker for PDF to online page turning book conversion... Learn More