LIVERPOOL-BASED video games firm Playbox Games has become one of only a handful of firm's around the world to win approval from Nintendo to design games for its new Wii console.
The news followed a meeting between Playbox and senior Nintendo managers during a trade mission to Japan organised by the International Trade Centre for Greater Merseyside (ITC).
Nintendo's Wii is the fastest selling games console and the company applies strict criteria before it places games developers on its approved list.
Those on the list, including Playbox, get privileged access to the software used on the console.
Playbox is also discussing projects with another of the video game world's biggest names. Capcom, which created the best-selling Street Fighter and Resident Evil games, has recently made a visit to see the studio after a successful meeting in Japan.
Managing director Gary Nichols said recognition from both Nintendo and Capcom was "another great step forward" for Playbox. The company was only founded in 2004 and employs six full-time staff at its offices on the Liverpool Science Park.
It has outlined plans to become one of the leading independent game designers in Liverpool, having already worked with other major gaming companies, such as Sega, Sony and Telcogames.
Mr Nichols added: "Because Wii is such a new product, Nintendo is being fairly restrictive about the number of companies it's allowing to work on game development so getting approval is fantastic for us.
"After one meeting in Japan, Capcom travelled to Liverpool to see us and we're both keen to see what we can create together."
Nintendo sold more than 1.5m Wii consoles worldwide in the week after it went on sale at the start of December.
The trips to Japan took in a visit to the Tokyo Games Show and saw meetings arranged for Playbox by ITC trade adviser Margaret Bourke with the help of the British consulate in Osaka.
She said: "It was unusual to be given such access to such major names in the computer game industry but it illustrates the sort of connections which we can call on for Merseyside firms.
"Playbox has a lot of talent and momentum in its favour. We believe it's really important for companies like it to explore opportunities presented by the major international shows."