WiiWare Usage Stats - Possible Good News For 'Final Fantasy,' 'Defend Your Castle'

'Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles: My Life As A King'One week after Nintendo made public the usage stats for its downloadable Wii games in the U.S., I've been able to crunch some numbers to learn just how fervently -- or not -- gamers are embracing the WiiWare service.

Think "Dr. Mario" crushed all? Hoping that "Lost Winds" did well? Read on for my findings.

As of Monday June 16, the Nintendo Channel has been reporting how much time any users of the Channel who've opted into a data-sharing agreement with Nintendo are playing Wii games. While it's unclear just how many people have opted in, the numbers at least show the relative popularity of games among those users. So I can't crunch the numbers and report the number of people who bought "Lost Winds." But I can do the math and say that "at least X number of people" did.

More usefully, the Nintendo Channel shows the average number of hours a player has devoted to each Wii game. It also shows the average number of times people play their Wii games. These stats help indicate how much people get attached to the games they play.

Later today I'll post some numbers I crunched for Wii disc games on Kotaku (where I'm guest-editing for the week). But right here, right now, I'm sharing my analysis of the numbers for WiiWare games.

As of Sunday, June 22, there were 15 games available through WiiWare. Only four of them include usage statistics. Some of the games are probably too new to have their numbers calculated, but it's unclear whether games such as the 5/12-released "Pop" and "T.V. Show King" don't have stats listed.

Here are the four games that do have statistics:

Defend Your Castle

The Nintendo Channel indicates that Wii users who shared data with the company logged a total of 69,675 hours with this 5/12-released WiiWare launch game, playing it 76,359 times. That broke down to 2 hours 55 minutes total play time per person or 3.2 sessions per person. That gave the game the lowest average playtime of the four WiiWare games that had numbers available, but that may not be surprising, given how "Defend Your Castle" is designed for short-session play. Still, the other stat shows that people only played the game three times since buying it. Do the math and you'll see that it seems people actually played this game about an hour at a time. If you divide out the usage, it appears that about 23,900 people out of all Wii owners sharing data with the WiiWare service downloaded "Defend Your Castle." That's the kind of minimum sales number I mentioned above. It's by no means a total sales number, but it does mean that at least that many people downloaded it.

Dr. Mario Online Rx

"Dr. Mario" was released two weeks after "Defend Your Castle" and has been averaging a total play time of 4 hours and 56 minutes for everyone who downloaded it and shared their info with the Nintendo Channel. These "Dr. Mario" players have averaged 3.8 sessions with the game but, when you do the division, you find that only about 13,100 of the Nintendo Channel users have downloaded the game.

Final Fantasy: My Life As A King

This was the most expensive WiiWare game, and - wouldn't you know it -- it appears to be the most avidly played of the four. Doing the same division I see that 19,400 people sharing their data with the Nintendo Channel downloaded the game. These folks, on average, have played the game a whopping 11 hours and 46 minutes, spread across an average 4.8 sessions.

Lost Winds

And here's the critical darling of the WiiWare launch, the windswept platformer "Lost Winds." It joins the other games on this list in out-performing the one Mario-branded WiiWare games -- at least among Nintendo Channel data-sharers. I calculated it's been downloaded by 17,500 of these people. They've played it an average of 2.8 times, totaling three hours and four minutes total playtime. I haven't finished "Lost Winds," but I've heard it lasts approximately three hours, so it seems that people were compelled to play it to the end.


Anyone who has a Wii can do this analysis for themselves. Log onto the Nintendo Channel and pull some numbers. What can you figure out?