Nintendo Co. has opened its blockbuster Wii game system to independent video-game developers, the company announced Wednesday.
Nintendo said it will let hobbyists and game studios create and sell downloadable Wii games with a tool called WiiWare. Gamers will be able to purchase the games through the console's Wii Shop channel starting in early 2008.
"Independent developers armed with small budgets and big ideas will be able to get their original games into the marketplace to see if we can find the next smash hit," said Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, in a statement.
Nintendo may be taking a page from Microsoft Corp.'s play book. The Redmond, Wash.-based software maker's XNA Game Studio tools let developers design video games for its Xbox 360 console.