Gamasutra has posted an interesting piece that deals with a topic close to (most of) our hearts: the frequency of Wii Shop releases in North America. Its findings seem to support the popular view that Nintendo has slowed down when it comes to digital releases these last few months; as the above graph demonstrates, only 47 items (ten of which are WiiWare titles) have been placed on the Wii Shop during the first five months of this year. That compares with the 81 items (all Virtual Console releases) that appeared in the last six months of 2007.

Before you get too angrified about this, know Nintendo is not alone in its recent relaxed approach to digital distribution. Gamasutra also profiled Xbox Live Arcade and the PSN Store and discovered similar results -- only whereas Nintendo is padding out its downloadable releases with more WiiWare releases, XBLA is filling more space with Xbox Originals (while lowering the number of XBLA titles), and the PSN Store is carrying more PSP titles (as it reduces the number of PS1 and PS3 games that also appear on the service).

So what's going on? Well, it beats us. As Gamasutra points out, digital releases are ideal for filling an empty spring/summer schedule, so you'd think Nintendo and its rivals would be stocking up on their digital wares at this time of year -- but apparently not! Hit the "Source" link below for more informative and colorful graphs.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.