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Wii Shop Channel
DeveloperNintendo Special Planning & Development
TypeOnline shop
Launch dateNovember 19, 2006; 17 years ago (2006-11-19)
DiscontinuedJanuary 30, 2019; 5 years ago (2019-01-30)
Platform(s)Nintendo Wii

The Wii Shop Channel is a discontinued digital distribution service for the Wii video game console. The service allowed users to purchase and play additional software for the Wii (called Channels), including exclusive games (branded WiiWare), and games from prior generations of video games (marketed with the Virtual Console brand).[2] The Wii Shop Channel launched on November 19, 2006, and ceased operations on January 30, 2019.[3]

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 WiiWare titles, as well as legacy Virtual Console titles that are not available via the Nintendo eShop.[4][5]

The Channel's theme music has become popular and well-received on the internet, and is often used in internet memes.[6][7][8]

Wii Points

Wii Points were the currency used in transactions on the Wii Shop Channel, with an equivalent worth of US$0.01 per point. Wii Points were purchased by either redeeming Wii Points Cards purchased from retail outlets[9] or directly through the Wii Shop Channel using a Mastercard or Visa credit card.[10] 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 functionality to purchase and add Wii Points was permanently removed 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 purchased software can still be downloaded, and any Wii Points remaining in an account's balance were redeemable until January 30, 2019.[11]

Virtual Console

Main article: Virtual Console

Mario Bros. as a Virtual Console game on the Wii

Virtual Console was a brand that included games from past video game consoles, which ran under emulation. There were over 300 games available in North America[12] and, as of December 31, 2007, over 10 million games have been downloaded worldwide.[13][needs update] 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.

In Europe and North America, the Virtual Console featured several import titles which were not previously made available in those respective territories, such as Mario's Super Picross. These games cost 100–300 more points than the normal price due to their import status and some translation work.[citation needed]

Consoles included both Nintendo systems, such as the NES, SNES and N64, and non-Nintendo systems, such as the Sega Genesis, Master System, 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.[14]

System Starting Cost (Wii Points)
NES/Famicom 500 (600 for Famicom)
Master System 500
Commodore 64 (Europe and North America only) 500
Virtual Console Arcade 500
PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 600
MSX (Japan only) 700
TurboGrafx-CD/PC-Engine CD-ROM 800
Genesis/Mega Drive 800 (600 in Japan)
SNES/Super Famicom 800
Neo-Geo AES 900
Nintendo 64 1,000


Main article: WiiWare

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 first WiiWare games were made available on March 25, 2008, in Japan,[15] on May 12, 2008, in North America,[16] and on May 20, 2008, in Europe.[17]

Wii Channels

Main article: Wii Menu

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.


Selecting the gift option for Pokémon Snap

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.[18]

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.[19] 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.[19] The feature was region locked and incompatible with the Wii U's Nintendo eShop.

Game updates

Downloaded games can receive updates from the Wii Shop Channel. This has been done four times so far to update Military Madness,[20] 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.[citation needed]

Connection Ambassador Promotion

In 2009, Nintendo of Japan launched a scheme designed to reward users for helping other new users get connected online and to the Wii Shop Channel.[21]

Both the Ambassador and the user who was assisted to get their console online received a reward of 500 Wii Points. 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 NES, SNES and N64 titles from the Virtual Console section of the Wii Shop Channel free of charge. The service was also launched in European counties,[22] New Zealand, and Australia. The scheme had proved hugely popular with many sites appearing online dedicated to helping connect users and share system codes.[23]

The programme ended on November 21, 2012.[14]


On September 29, 2017, Nintendo announced that the Wii Shop Channel would be discontinued on January 30, 2019.[24] To prepare for the closure, they announced that the ability to purchase and add Wii Points with a credit card or a Wii Points card would be removed on March 26, 2018.

On March 26, 2018, the ability to purchase and add Wii Points with a credit card or Wii Points card was permanently removed. As a result, Wii Shop Channel users were no longer able to purchase and play additional software unless they had enough Wii Points in their account balance. Afterwards, the Wii Shop Channel remained functional until January 29, 2019.

On January 30, 2019, Nintendo shut down the Wii Shop Channel and removed all WiiWare, Virtual Console games, and other Wii Channels from sale or initial download. The only exceptions are 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).[25] Users can continue re-downloading any games and apps they acquired before the shutdown, and the ability to re-download previously purchased content and transfer data from a Wii to a Wii U will continue for the foreseeable future.[24] On the day of the closure, the shop's main UI was updated to show its original layout as it appeared when it was first launched back on November 19, 2006, removing the WiiWare option entirely.

Japanese users were able to transfer or refund any remaining Wii Points after the shutdown date from February 21, 2019 until August 31, 2019. The refunded points could be transferred to a local bank account or received as a refund from a convenience store.[26]

See also


  1. ^ As of February 1, 2019, users can still continue to re-download previously purchased content and/or transfer Wii data from a Wii to a Wii U via the Wii U Transfer Tool.
  2. ^ "Wii Shop Channel". Nintendo of Europe GmbH. Retrieved August 21, 2021.
  3. ^ "Important information about the closure of the Wii Shop Channel". Nintendo of Europe GmbH. Retrieved August 21, 2021.
  4. ^ "Important information about the closure of the Wii Shop Channel". Nintendo. September 29, 2017.
  5. ^ Hussain, Tamoor (September 29, 2017). "Wii Shop Channel Is Closing Down". GameSpot. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  6. ^ January 2019, Vic Hood 30 (January 30, 2019). "Wii Shop Channel shuts down after 12 years". TechRadar. Retrieved May 4, 2020.((cite news)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Pearson, Jordan (September 29, 2017). "Nintendo's Iconic Wii Shop Music Is Going Offline". Vice. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  8. ^ Frank, Allegra (April 26, 2017). "Games make for some of hip-hop's freshest samples". Polygon. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  9. ^ "Wii Shop Channel: Reedeming Wii Points Cards". Nintendo of Europe GmbH. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  10. ^ "Wii Shop Channel: Purchasing Wii Points". Nintendo of Europe GmbH. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  11. ^ "Wii Shop Channel Service Change - Nintendo Official Site". Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  12. ^ "Wii-kly Update (September 1, 2008)". September 1, 2008. Archived from the original on September 3, 2008.
  13. ^ Yohei Ogawa; Randolph Ramsay; Tor Thorsen (February 5, 2008). "Q&A: Nintendo's Satoru Iwata". GameSpot. Retrieved February 6, 2008.
  14. ^ a b "Connection Ambassador Promotion". Nintendo of Europe GmbH. Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  15. ^ Emma Boyes (March 11, 2008). "WiiWare launching in Japan March 25". GameSpot.
  16. ^ Adegoke, Yinka (February 20, 2008). "UPDATE 1-Nintendo rolls out Wii fitness game product". Reuters. Retrieved February 21, 2008.
  17. ^ Nintendo of Europe (April 24, 2008). "Nintendo announces Q2 release schedule". Retrieved April 24, 2008.
  18. ^ David Hinkle (October 2, 2009). "Nintendo's storage solution: Load items direct from the SD slot". Nintendo Wii Fanboy. Archived from the original on October 3, 2008. Retrieved October 11, 2008.
  19. ^ a b Wii Official Site - Built-in Entertainment. Retrieved on 2013-08-23.
  20. ^ "Virtual Consolation Prize: Military Madness Fixed". February 11, 2007. Archived from the original on February 14, 2007. Retrieved February 12, 2007.
  21. ^ Fletcher, JC (September 1, 2009). "Wii Internet Channel now free, with updated Flash [update]". Joystiq. Archived from the original on September 2, 2009. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  22. ^ "Nintendo unveils exclusive announcements at WiiWare and Nintendo DSiWare media summit". September 16, 2009. Archived from the original on December 21, 2023. Retrieved December 21, 2023.
  23. ^ " - Connection Ambassador link Exchange". Archived from the original on January 30, 2010. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  24. ^ a b "Important information about the closure of the Wii Shop Channel". Nintendo UK & Ireland. September 29, 2017. Retrieved November 26, 2021.
  25. ^ "Reminder: Wii Shop closes January 30, 2019 - Nintendo Official Site". Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  26. ^ Iggy (August 9, 2018). "Japan: Wii Shop Balance Refunds Start In Late February 2019". NintendoSoup. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
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