We've been annoyed with the Wii's lack of downloadable Virtual Console demos for quite a while now, so we probably shouldn't be too surprised that Nintendo has declared games in their upcoming Wii Ware service will not be required to have downloadable demos. Surprised isn't really the world ... slightly miffed is more like it.
We're only slightly miffed because Nintendo hasn't quite banned demos from the service. In an interview with Newsweek's N'gai Croal, Nintendo of America director of project development Tom Prata said that "having demos [is] ... not a requirement from Nintendo." If we're reading that right, that means demos would be allowed on the service, but that they won't necessarily be available for every game.
The decision to forgo a demo mandate was made, according to Prata, because demos are a "very costly type of endeavor" for a developer. That might be true in the short term, but overall we wonder if developer can afford not to have demos on a service like this. After all, Xbox Live Arcade has managed just fine by requiring developers to create those "expensive" demos -- in fact, by, early stats showed about 20 percent of XBLA demo players bought the full game, leading directly to increased revenue for all involved. Still, we guess giving developers more choice in these matters is usually a good thing. We just hope many developers will choose to help their customers and themselves by letting us try before we buy.