Nintendo’s Plans To Address The Increasing Costs Of Game Development

By Ishaan . April 30, 2013 . 2:20pm

A few months ago, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata highlighted the fact that console games are becoming increasingly expensive to develop, and that it’s becoming harder for software publishers to make console-exclusive games. In a recent financial results Q&A, Iwata admitted that even Nintendo themselves are starting to feel the increasing costs and resources required to develop high-fidelity console titles.

 

Specifically, Iwata points to Wii U launch games, which he says required more resources than Nintendo had anticipated, and that resulted in the company pulling developers off other projects to help get Wii U launch software completed in time.

 

“The reason for the delayed release of our first-party titles was the fact that completing the games released at the same time as the launch of Wii U required more development resources than expected, so some staff members from development teams working on other titles had to help complete them,” Iwata shared.

 

Iwata elaborated: “In short, the development teams of ‘Pikmin 3’ and other future games were understaffed during that period. We do not simply have one easily identifiable bottleneck in software development. These days it is becoming increasingly challenging to determine the minimum development resources required for customer satisfaction. The point I am trying to get across is that currently it is more challenging to sell packaged software for around $50-$60.”

 

While hit games are selling more now than ever, these select few titles can’t be the only games a company relies on. Nintendo appear to be taking a three-pronged approach to ensure a steady stream of content. The first is collaborations with external game developers, which are already underway. The second is an increased emphasis on the company’s digital business. Finally, the third is allowing development of Wii U games and applications using technologies such as HTML5 and JavaScript, and the Unity game development engine.

 

At this year’s Game Developers Conference, Nintendo introduced the ability to develop Wii U software using HTML5, JavaScript and Nintendo’s own “Nintendo Web Framework,” which was used to develop Wii Street U powered by Google. Iwata estimates that software developers who use web technologies such as these are probably “more than 100 times” the amount of developers making software for dedicated game consoles. He adds that, since their GDC announcements, Nintendo have received inquiries about their web-based development technologies from “hundreds of new development companies and individuals”.

 

In addition, Nintendo also announced a partnership with Unity at GDC. Developers that buy a Wii U development kit will get a Unity Pro 4 license for Wii U for free. Iwata hopes that this initiative will attract developers that use Unity—of which there are over a million—including those in developing countries where game consoles aren’t as popular.

 


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  • Kenneth Richardson

    This is great, I can’t wait until the Wii U has a much broader software library, as that’s the main reason I haven’t bought one yet. And the cost of game development definitely needs to be addressed, considering Square Enix is unhappy with Tomb Raider sales despite the fact that the game sold nearly five million units in just one month.

    If a $60 game has to sell ten million units before the publisher can make a profit or even break even, then game development costs have definitely reached new heights.

    • $39420547

      if this is true then the whole gaming industry is hanging in the balance
      and some radical changes need to be made

  • Xmas Lopez

    If Nintendo wants to seriously get on the digital distribution track, they have to make an account system so that all your eshop purchases are linked to an account instead of a system. Otherwise, they won’t succeed on the digital front

    • Spirit Macardi

      They have that for the Wii U, and it’s going to be available for the 3DS soon as well.

      • http://twitter.com/ValeFalkren Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

        Club Nintendo almost seems like a beta-account system, even with your things tied to the hardware

        • Xmas Lopez

          One also has to wonder if tying stuff to Club Nintendo means that you still get credit for owning that game on your account after the full account system comes into play

          • http://www.youtube.com/Lyonharvestmoonfan Eduardo Rocha

            You shall remember that Club Nintendo isn’t available for everyone. For example, I can’t join because I live in Mexico.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Lionlicious Hector Valeria

            Change your 3DS settings and you’re done! :)

          • http://www.youtube.com/Lyonharvestmoonfan Eduardo Rocha

            That doesn’t matters, i actually have my 3DS as if I were living in the US, but to join the Club Nintendo I need to give an address in the US.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Lionlicious Hector Valeria

            Yeah, just fake it. I’m using a fake UK address myself! :)

          • http://www.youtube.com/Lyonharvestmoonfan Eduardo Rocha

            Won’t the stuff I order go to the address I gave during the registration?

          • http://www.facebook.com/Lionlicious Hector Valeria

            Oh, I wasn’t concerned with ordering stuff, I just wanted to take part in promotions (free games) and somewhat bind the games I bought to a Nintendo account.

            Edit: What I probably might do in the future though, is to change my address to a friend’s in the UK, and order through him. c:

      • Mir Teiwaz

        If that’s the case, why can’t I use my Nintendo Network account on multiple WiiU’s? I’ve tried looking into this and Nintendo’s own FAQ section says that it currently isn’t possible to even transfer your NN account.

        • http://twitter.com/ValeFalkren Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

          ^ Which actually makes me think that the games are tied to the account thats currently tied to the hardware.

          • Mir Teiwaz

            It’s frustrating, because at one point I was considering trading in my basic WiiU and getting a Deluxe…but I wouldn’t be able to transfer my account or even my save files over. I didn’t want the Deluxe version that badly ._.

          • Herok♞

            Well if you have both at the same time then they have a transfer tool

          • Mir Teiwaz

            That is for Wii to WiiU transfer. I’m talking WiiU to WiiU.

          • ronin4life

            I want to say they have U to U now added in an update… I do know you can transfer betweentwo hd… But I think that is still for one system.

          • Mir Teiwaz

            I would prefer something more akin to my PSN account, where all I have to do is sign in on another console and I’m good to go.

          • isfuturebright

            Their account should be unified… The 3DS, Wii U account and Nintendo Club should all bethe same IMO.

            Also with a console with such little hardrive space why not use cloud saving? Why not give that option? Also why the hell is your Wii U account bound to your Wii U? Alot of dumb things made, really.

          • DiosFancifulRomp

            It sucks, but Nintendo sounds like they’re going to roll out a sweeping account based system slowly. Both eshops are already tied to Club Nintendo, as long as you register the systems on Club Nintendo.

            I hate to sound like this is an excuse for Nintendo, because it’s a lame one, but it seems like next gen is going to be all about this kind of stuff. The Vita still is lacking some promised features over a year later, Sony is doing the same with PS4 features, and I doubt Microsoft will have everything running that’s promised on launch either. I understand why Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft are announcing features ahead of time to attract buyers, but it’s ridiculous when features announced a year ago still aren’t on a console. It feels like outright lying.

      • Shane Guidaboni

        Miiverse is an account based system?

    • Daniel Jeanbaptiste

      Hello Wii U has it.
      3DS has Club NIntendo which everything is connected to it if you accept it.

    • http://www.biztechconsultancy.com/magento-development.htm Magento Development

      I’m agreed Lopez.. If they want to get succeed on digital front then they must have to make this kinds of systems otherwise it will be very tough.

  • Odin

    It’s funny how some of us want next-gen consoles but don’t really think about the costs as well, honestly. I think Nintendo’s console philosophy is sound for the long run, since a game doesn’t sell on graphics alone. With rising costs and piracy very likely, what is the point if companies don’t get returns on their investment?

    They have a unique little console, which I doubt the other two are bound to copy, so all they have to do is get a few developers on board and they can go from there. I think graphics stopped impressing me a while ago. Next step would be ray-tracing, but of course we’re not even 1% there yet in regards to the tech being utilized in full games.

    • http://twitter.com/ValeFalkren Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      It’d cost way to much for the others to copy the Wii U given how efficiently it uses its architecture.(Along with the Gamepads cost) Its certainly not as weak in relation the PS4 as people seem to believe it to be. Considering the PS4′s only big investment is the 8 gigs of RAM. We even have developers saying this *see Image&Form*

  • Foxeh Shihōin

    interesting, i was planning on getting unity 4 pro licence so i could make some stuff for the eshop. but now i know that the dev kit will give it for free, perhaps i should keep saving and strive for that wii u development kit!

    just depends on how much would the price change from unity’s $1,200 pro licence. i assume it would cost more, hopefully not so much as to take a long time for me to come up with with my poor salary lol..

  • http://LevelUpGeneration.blogspot.com/ KALiverin

    Like a lot of people, I was wondering why games like Pikmin 3 were getting delayed so much, especially when you consider that this game has been in development for a few years now. It was promised to be available for the launch window, but it kept getting pushed back.

    I didn’t actually realize this until today, and it’s something that a lot of people are overlooking. This is Nintendo’s first HD console, and quite a bit of a leap over the Wii and probably the current HD consoles as well. This means that Nintendo’s staff have very little experience working on HD games, so I would imagine that this would cause them some issues with development. I don’t know too much about game development, but I have read articles that talk about the difficulties of developing on current consoles and how unfriendly it is in terms of cost. Not to mention that with HD and more power, you need to have bigger development teams to take advantage of the system’s capabilities, and with bigger teams, it becomes harder to communicate exactly what you want with them.

    Nintendo isn’t used to this kind of development, so I would imagine that they had no idea how much manpower it would have taken to get this game released on time. Pikmin 3 is a new game in an older franchise, but that doesn’t mean that development philosophies that worked in the gamecube era are going to work for them here. Other companies have had plenty of time to get used to HD development, but for Nintendo, it’s a big transition for them.

    But I doubt the quality of their games are going to suffer for it. They could have rushed out Pikmin 3 just for the sake of having a launch game, and while it looked great at E3, there were probably a lot of things that needed to be ironed out that couldn’t have taken them 5 months to do. Nobody is going to complain about a game being delayed once they finally have it in their hands, so I think their philosophy will continue working for them. And something else we have to consider is that the Wii U is a different beast in terms of architecture compared to both the PS3 and 360. Again, I know little about game development, but new hardware, regardless of how powerful it is, always brings development challenges that need to be overcome with time and practice. That’s why I think the Wonderful 101 has been delayed as well.

    It sucks when things get delayed, most definitely, but if it just makes the final product better, then I’m all for it. It’s much better than having things cut out of the game that aren’t finished to meet deadlines and having them sold back to you as DLC.

    • Suicunesol

      HD is more expensive for sure, but I don’t think HD is such a big deal that Nintendo developers would be at a serious disadvantage. All HD is (high definition) is an increase in resolution to 720p (or 1080 true HD). You can display more details on the screen with more clarity than before. As a result, your graphics can’t be flat or half-assed or it will show. More details take more time and money. A lot more. But as far as the actual games themselves, they would only cost more for games that demand pretty graphics. Just look Super Mario U–that HD game is a sidescroller that definitely didn’t break the bank. Monolith Soft’s game, on the other hand…

      Nintendo’s graphical style up to this point has mainly swayed towards cell-shading or cartoony graphics, as in Mario, Skyward Sword, and Kirby, etc. This style translates very well into HD with little extra effort. If you’ve seen Wii and Gamecube games emulated in HD, you’ll see that they look fine, even great! I’m saying that Nintendo can continue making games with that style, and they would look fine in HD with some polishing.

      • DiosFancifulRomp

        Side note: HD is not 720p or 1080p, its classified as anything above 480p. Just wanted to correct you there.

        • Suicunesol

          Oh okay. Thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Jeffers/1640154547 Scott Jeffers

    wasnt most of their launch titles ports from games that already existed or new super mario which imo can be pieced together by children ala little big planet style, i mean seriously it has to take little to no talent to make a side scrolling mario game, proof of that with the fan remake of sonic that was better than the sega funded official reboot.

    • Herok♞

      Ok you make a Mario game for Wiiu from scratch, and don’t say you can’t because according to you it takes little to no talent.

    • Makapixel

      Oh you mean the fan made Sonic game that did not get completed. That one? How can an incomplete game be better than anything Sega has fully completed and released?

  • malek86

    I wonder how much of the expenses Nintendo covers in a collaboration with an external dev, and how much of the revenue pie they get. While it sounds good for decreasing costs, I’d imagine that it also means getting less money from each game sold.

  • SirRichard

    I’d hope Nintendo don’t go down the same road as other publishers have since the start of this generation, that ever-growing problem of expecting too much and spending to match. While I doubt they will (due to the “evergreen” nature of many of their games), it sounds like they’re hitting the HD wall kind of hard.

    What is encouraging is the growing focus on collaborations; with the massive stable of IPs that Nintendo has, and the warchest built up from the previous generation, they have all they need to get a good library of exclusives going. Opening up their console to more and more kinds of developers is also very encouraging, especially the “We don’t even ask for exclusivity” point they raised back during some indie game jam some weeks ago. Here’s hoping it pays off.

  • sandra10

    “These days it is becoming increasingly challenging to determine the minimum development resources required for customer satisfaction.”

    This statement really doesn’t come off well to me. I don’t think anyone should be expecting Crysis 3 or GoW budgets thrown at most HD games but with the way most Nintendo games sell, at the price they typically do, they can afford to put in more than the minimum.

    • ronin4life

      Business is all about providing the best possible product with the least amount of input in order to make money while feeding the consumer base. What this tells me is what I had always belived; game dev costs are too high and increasing rapidly… If Nintendo, a historically highly efficient company is hitting snags, Things must be getting real tough from a production standpoint industry wide.

      • sandra10

        Businesses have the freedom to price their product and services to fit in line with their inputs. If their budget games had budget prices then there would be nothing to complain about.

        Also, Nintendo is not just a business, they’re a creative force – they provide entertainment. No one would condone Christopher Nolan to use cheap effects/CGI in another Dark Knight sequel because everybody knows the studio could do better and we expect them to given their past performances at the box office. There’s no reason to give video game developers special treatment.

        Finally, Nintendo is a Japanese developer (notorious this gen for having issues w/development) who have had zero experience on HD consoles, multiple delays on many sub-HD games (past Zeldas, Uprising, etc.) and extraordinarily long development cycles for many of their games. They’re not this highly efficient developer, they’re not this exception to Japanese development, and there’s no reason to think that HD costs are too demanding because they’re lagging behind, especially with how small scale their HD games are.

        • ronin4life

          First, efficiency is a combination of many factors, not just one or two. Nintendo makes VERY high quality games relatively quickly and at low cost. That is efficient.

          Second, HD dev costs are an industrywide problem… one that has shut down countless studios in the last decade. It is neither Japan nor Nintendo specific… and in many ways passed over these companies in comparison to the Swath of destroyed western devs.

          Lastly,Nintendo games costs what they cost because people find them worth that cost. I highly doubt sales would increase much more based on price alone, at, least not enough to make more money at a lower price. And a company, regardless of their industry, needs to make money or else there is no reason for their existence.

          • http://twitter.com/ValeFalkren Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            Companies are supposed to be a group of people working together to me an overall encompassing goal, money isnt the make all end all

          • ronin4life

            Money is just representative of the effort you have put toward building society. If you are in an industry and not making money, it generally means that people arean’t finding enough value in what you do to warrant their money. It is just am extension if what you said… and a physical representation.

          • http://twitter.com/ValeFalkren Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            No wonder people have messed up values their system of measuring whats important in life is all whacked out. Makes you wonder what in particular they experienced that breed their current mindset

          • ronin4life

            Well, people first off should see themselves and others as living, thinkingpeople valuableas themselves in existence. This is something people tend to take for granted or outright just don’t grasp.

            Though this is important above all else, At the same time, people should want to be a part of their society. This means putting in at least as much as we take out, and hopefully a little more. Money was inventedas a visual of this, and in some cases I think problems arise when we forget this: when we place value in Money above its actual purpouse, when we value money over what it is supposed to represent, or simply when we forget what it is in the first place; a representation of what we have done for other people.

            And then there are those who are given far more than they probably deserve,but that is a slightly differentissue… @.@;;

          • sandra10

            It’s that relatively quick part that’s the issue. Some of their games do have short dev cycles – NSMB, Mario Kart, and Fire Emblem have quick turnarounds. They’re also copy and paste games when it comes to their design, though (why do you think we’ve seen so many derivative games this gen?). And there are plenty of Nintendo games with long (and longer than necessary) development cycles: Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, Luigi’s Mansion 2, Pikmin 3 (it was a Wii game for half a decade), Uprising, etc. So a blanket statement doesn’t apply.

            HD development is “problematic” for mid-tier developers across the globe because their games don’t sell well enough to recoup the costs, sure. But when it comes to “efficiency”, when it comes to scale and budgets, and when it comes to the biggest developers from both sides, it’s very obvious that those big Japanese developers have been lagging behind more-so than their Western counterparts.

            Yes, they price their products at what they think they can get away with. Why else did the 3DS cost $250 at launch, why else would Iwata make a statement about achieving the minimum resources to sell their games? But I hope that consumers look at more than brand names when deciding what to plop $60 for (even though they won’t). There are plenty of HD games that deserve the money more than Nintendo’s “minimum”.

          • ronin4life

            You have stated two fallacies… Nintendo Copy past LESS often than many other high end successful studios, and the HD problems are NOT mid tier only. SE, EA, THQ… Big companies who have struggled this gen, in some capacity, not to mentionSony and the driven into the ground by MS rare.

          • sandra10

            Design wise? Many of their games are very copy and paste. Mechanically, 2D Mario, Mario Kart, Pokemon, Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, etc., etc. haven’t changed in generations.

            And I’m not saying that only mid-tier developers have had HD problems, I’m saying that, universally, both Western and Eastern mid-tier developers have had problems. But big Japanese developers (like Square, Konami, Capcom, etc.) have had more issues with the HD jump than their Western counterparts (EA, Bethesda, Rockstar, etc).

          • ronin4life

            Bethesda has had heaps of trouble, in paticular with ps3. EA just layed off a crap ton of people, something they do frequently. Konami and SE have had issues…but they have also associated the most with western devs and western style approach to business out of the Japanese majors.

            And while Capcomas indeed made many similar mistakes to SE/EA, They have also done many things much better than the other listed companies both consumer and finance wise(well, at least in Japan…)

            Another common facet of these companies and even more successful ones like Activision? Reiterated game releases. And unlike the mk series with Double dash or Mario with sunshine and the “new” series, these games stay almost 100% the same entry to entry. Even the newest Fire emblemhas the dual battle system and far deeper wirelessplay, while BF4 will finally be returning concepts found in BF 1941 back and Halo gaining trifling fighting game super editiom style updateswith each numbered entry. The design of Nintendo games are reiterated, sure. But EVERYONE does it with few being able to do so with as much quality and originality as they do.

          • sandra10

            Bethesda’s “trouble” with the PS3 is that they never adapted their games from the PC architecture they were used to. They barely bothered with the port.

            EA has had issues but still, they’re in a MUCH better situation than SE and Konami. Konami barely makes anything that isn’t a sports game or Metal Gear.

            Those are very small variations between mechanics and saying that they’re done with “originality” is a big stretch. If they came up with completely new mechanics for their games that weren’t just offshoots of previous mechanics then sure. For example, if they were using Gravity Rush’s traversal mechanics in Zelda before GR game out, I’d call that original. But dual battles? There’s nothing original about having two players attack at the same time especially since it’s been done before in a SRPG (i.e. Valkyria Chronicles).

          • ronin4life

            Nope: Bethesdas problems aren’t exclusive to ps3, with modders doing a better job at fixing their games than they do. Which is paticularly saddening as you would think making the EXACT same game all gen would make you pretty good at it. Further, as I have already said Konami and SE have behavedlike WESTERN Devs, and even partnered heavily with western studios this gen. Those two also happen to be having some of the worst troublesin the Japanese industry(not to mentionyour Konami argument applies even more strongly to EA, a western company)

            And who cares if other games used the dual battle system: that has no bearing on your argument. It makes this fire emblemdifferentfrom other fire emblems, and that was what we were arguing about. And on that note, how exactly did VC 1-3 differ from each other exactly?Or is it just Nintendo that must be bound and gagged for reiterating their games? Because all of the companies we have discussed so far do it too, and often far more often, lazier and are constantly praised for it…-_-;;

          • sandra10

            I never said their problems were exclusive to the PS3.

            EA actually branched out from sports titles since 2000. Konami has done nothing but retract.

            You’re not keeping up with which retorts are for which replies – the entire paragraph is geared towards the “originality” statement you made. I.e. how can Nintendo make these unique and original sequels when their mechanics have been done and are derived from other games.

            *Sigh* I’m not saying Valkyria Chronicles has changed substantially from game to game but way to try to put words in my mouth. And I’m not saying Nintendo is the only one who just reiterates over and over again. If you carefully read my posts like here: (why do you think we’ve seen so many derivative games this gen?), you’d understand that.

            But I’m done. This conversation has gone nowhere fast.

          • ronin4life

            I don’t think I misreplied at all. The games are original in their respective series, thus distinct from one another and maing each one valuable. And in some cases, Unique within not just their own series, but their respective genre as well. Which is more than can be said of some others; I used VC as a segway into that point, and was not meaning to imply any belief of that series of yours.

            But I do agree this discussion is done… Thanks for the debate.
            ^0^/

          • http://twitter.com/ValeFalkren Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            Nintendo’s had 17 mario games in the span of 28 years. In contrast to other titles like COD which has had around 9 in 10 years.

    • malek86

      I don’t think people realize what it means when those games sell so much. Chances are that they spend a huge amount of money on marketing them in stores, TV and whatnot.

      If you think back to this year, they showed a big list of million-sellers that would make you think “geez, they must be swimming in money with all the 3DS games they are selling and low development costs, including some clearly low-budget stuff”. Except they aren’t. Those games revenue is just barely enough to offset the Wii U losing money. They only made a very small profit, and only thanks to the yen losing value.

      This makes me believe that Nintendo’s development costs are actually very high, just not in “development” but in marketing. Games don’t usually sell themselves after all.

      • sandra10

        Obviously marketing costs takes out a decent chunk of their cash. Still, it would just be a decent chunk.

        Right, it’s their hardware that have caused them lower profits and losses. But that doesn’t mean the software needs to get the short end of the stick, it just means they need a better business model for their hardware.

  • mirumu

    I don’t think these moves from Nintendo are really about addressing the increasing cost of game development. Not directly at least.

    Supporting HTML5, Javascript, Unity and their own web framework will not directly lower the cost of developing $50-$60 AAA games. Developers creating those games will not be using these technologies in any significant way. Short of a technological breakthrough developing AAA games requires AAA tools, AAA budgets, developers with AAA skills and AAA-sized teams. Nintendo will of course be well aware of this.

    Throwing more people on a project (especially lower skilled developers) will not lower costs or development times.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mythical_Man-Month

    What I’m sure Nintendo is trying to do here is poach some of the vast number of developers who are skilled in web/mobile development and get them working on Nintendo platforms. They aren’t going to create AAA titles. It will nurture a new tier of software titles perhaps along the lines of Xbox Live Arcade, PSN originals, Playstation Minis and what’s found on the iOS/Android stores. Nintendo have been slow getting to this party, but it’s still a good plan. If done right it will open a fresh revenue stream, and increase the appeal of Nintendo platforms to consumers.

    It all makes good sense from a business perspective. It just isn’t going to help get something like Pikmin 3 out the door faster though unfortunately.

    • DiosFancifulRomp

      Supporting engines that are traditionally run on PCs is a great way to approach the digital market, especially if it runs with only minor tweaking, instead of outright rewriting the code. It’s a smart move, and it’ll attract some successful indies to put their game on Wii U in effort to make some extra cash. If Nintendo can manage to convince more people to see developing for the Wii U as an efficient and smart option, it’ll be a great way for some people to get their hands on games that they could only purchase through outlets like Steam, and offer the experience on the big screen, without having to use an expensive Steam Box, or move your PC into your living room.

      I think the biggest strike Nintendo has going against indies is the Gamepad. I love the feature, especially for Little Inferno, but the dev kit needs to make off-screen play really easy to code, if Nintendo is really serious about this. If they can show that coding for off-screen play is automatic, or really simple, they’ll see a lot of indie devs lining up, and we’ll see a digital storefront that might be able to rival Steam.

      • http://twitter.com/ValeFalkren Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

        The Wii U has over 30 indie games confirmed for it, this isnt a problem ._.

        • DiosFancifulRomp

          I know there’s a good deal of indies lining up, I’m excited for it, especially with Pier Solar coming to the Wii U, that’ll be fantastic. The problem is that while I’ve heard a lot of positive things from people who came out of their Nintendo Framework presentation, I’ve yet to hear about any indies joining the platform because of Nintendo Framework. I’m sure some will jump on board in the future – after all, it isn’t something they’ll decide on over night – but 30 games won’t cut it if that’s all they’ve got. I’m not talking about Nintendo having an approach that’s better than WiiWare, they’re already doing that with the 3DS and to a smaller extent, the Wii U, I’m talking about Nintendo having an impressive storefront with a wide variety of indies to choose from. Nintendo has all the pieces set to do this, but it’s just a matter of how others respond to it.

      • Kevin Tan

        From what I’ve seen from Unity on Wii-U on the expo in GDC, it’s absolutely trivial to do off-TV play, so I really don’t think implementation is going to be a major deterrent for indies.

    • malek86

      It’s a good move, but I feel it’s too little too late. If they wanted to move to attract indies, they should be doing what Sony is doing now. There must be a reason if every indie dev and their mom now is announcing PSV/PS3 (and sometimes PS4) versions of games. Even some who were initially very vocal about their skepticism of the PSV, such as Zeboyd, are now thinking about making PSN games. Despite Nintendo saying that they have improved their submittal procedures, I still see very few indie games being made for the Wii U and 3DS, at least in comparison to other platforms.

      As an indie developer said some days ago, Sony feels that they are not a necessity anymore, and so they can’t play by their own rules anymore. I’m sure this is the same for Nintendo, but I think they should have moved sooner.

      Regardless, we’ll see if it works.

      • Kevin Tan

        I would look at the list of upcoming indies coming to Wii U and 3DS before coming to this conclusion… in any case, I think the Unity Pro subsidizing is probably the most powerful move Nintendo has made, since it makes it so that, for someone like me to put a game I make in Unity, I only have to pay once for the devkit. To do the same for the PS3 or PSV, I have to pay for the respective devkits (more expensive than Wii-U) AND I still have to pay for Unity on top of the devkit prices. Obviously, there are many factors, but for a cash-strapped PC dev just trying to get into console, the Wii-U is probably the cheapest option there is.

        And really, should we be throwing around “too late” for a system that’s barely six months old? :

        • TrevHead

          “And really, should we be throwing around “too late” for a system that’s barely six months old? :”

          Imo the WiiU should have released in 2011 but atm most gamers are still happy with their 360s and PS3s so they could poach some of those ppl and been the cheapest console still makes them attractive especially for kids xmas presents or as a 2nd gaming machine.

      • ronin4life

        As others have pointed out, Indies are flocking to WiiU. Nearly every indy game put up on kickstarter I have heard about in the last 3 months has has a wiiu stretch goal. And that hasn’t been the only sourcof indy content announcementsin the last few weeks either.

        I’d say, as it stands right now, they may be doing an even better job than sony, or at least been in a better environment for such cultivation. In only a few months indy support has flooded wiiu, something that took ps3 years, Vita several months and Sony A lot of effort.

      • mirumu

        I tend to agree. I’m not sure it’s too late just yet, but the Wii U at least has a few too many problems on too many fronts. I do expect it’s performance in Japan to improve in time, but in the west it really seems to be having trouble attracting both consumers and developers. That’s a dangerous combination, and if it still remains later this year I think it would spell real trouble for them. The PS4 at least seems to have both developers and consumers really excited, and if that holds through launch Nintendo needs to be competitive.

        My own personal prediction here is that Sony and will come in with a lower than expected price. That could cause quite a splash. Microsoft may do the same, but I’m sure it’ll depend on whatever their wider strategy with subscriptions, and console variations turns out to be.

        Nintendo getting indies on board is great, assuming the games do materialise, but they need more than this. Going the really low cost of entry route and competing for indie developers with the likes of the Ouya is fine, but I’d question the real benefits they get, and it’s not going to ship Smash Bros, Zelda, etc any faster. From the outside when compared to Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo looks like it should be a nimble company with little internal red tape, but they just don’t seem to act like it. They definitely should have moved quicker here.

        One thing I think some forget too is that the Wii was actually the last console to be released last generation. They just did their own thing as usual, captured mainstream interest, and it worked. This time Sony and Microsoft have had time to see what has worked and what doesn’t with the Wii U. It’s not a big factor perhaps, but I don’t expect to see mid-generation refreshes like Kinect and Move this time.

  • eilegz

    you know, my expectatives for the wiiu its to be some kind of saviour for the japanese gaming industry that have yet utilized the full potential of current generation consoles, with more current technology approach and budget control wii u games could be the mid to short term success utilizing what they learned on ps3 and xbox360.

    But that didnt happen, it seems that nintendo bet its failing so hard, japanese industry keep on living on the ps2 age. Western industry seems that its moving to the NEXT GEN Hype and dont find resources to put even ports of current gen game on the wiiu.

    Nintendo need to moves fast they are playing catchup and so far they are slowing down on the wii u and focusing more on the 3ds, that could work for short term but it could also means that the wii u would fail even harder than n64 or GC.

    • http://www.senran-international.boards.net/ TwinTails

      Couldn’t that be what they’re doing behind CLOSED DOORS? Saving third party collaborations for when E3 comes around? That sounds like a perfect strategy and Nintendo has always been pretty secretive about that.

  • Kioku

    As costs of game development increase, the price of games increase.
    This is definitely a bad thing.
    Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft should work together to tackle this problem.
    Just look at prices of Vita games, sometimes they are more expensive than PS3 games.

    • ronin4life

      Although sometimes they are also quite cheap… though that may have more to do with Vitas current fortunes than anything else…

  • Pokahontas McGuigan

    Seeing that wii u is a last gen system they should sell games at last gen prices. Or make better games but we all know nintendo is too cheap for that

    • Solomon_Kano

      Last gen prices? You mean $60… like every other game from the “last gen”? Because the new gen started with the Wii U, regardless of any power polemics.

      • http://twitter.com/crxuchilbara MegamMix

        Next Gen… in release date only…

        • mirumu

          …and in GPU compute …and with four times the RAM.

          I wish the PS3 and 360 actually had actually been as powerful as the Wii U. We’d have a lot more 1080p games today rather than all those blurry and horrible 640p, 720p upscales.

          • malek86

            Mind you, I still have to see some proper 1080p games on the Wii U. Most stuff we are getting now is 720p, and something tells me that, once the PS4/720 come out and the graphics bar goes up, devs will keep using 720p to try and make up for the increased effects in multiplat games.

            In fact, I hope they don’t actually go lower than 720p. That’s what happened on the 360/PS3, their launch games were usually proper HD, the upscaling started after they needed ways to increase the graphical quality without sacrificing framerate.

          • mirumu

            In my experience it’s mostly been the first party Nintendo titles running at 720p on Wii U. Quite a few third party games run at 1080p. I found it quite noticeable with Assassins Creed 3.

          • http://twitter.com/crxuchilbara MegamMix

            Yet with all those improvements… The games still look the same, play the same, and load at the same slow rate. I own the ps3 and Wii u. I also do merchandising for Nintendo so I have seen this thing run in multiple gamestop stores. None of the current library is visually surpassing consoles from last gen. Not to mention, why is everyone’s argument that the wii u is capable of out processing consoles that have been on the market for over 6 years?

          • Symbol de Au

            Why is that everyone’s argument? Because those consoles from six years ago are last gen. Why would a newer console able to outperform the last gen consoles not be next gen?

          • http://twitter.com/crxuchilbara MegamMix

            I guess what I am trying to say is that even with the “outperformance”, it is still currently performing equally to last gen. And when you consider consoles from six years ago are performing equally as next gen, it harbors an idea that next gen only defines what a system is capable of and not what it is actually doing. Arguably, any console after a certain release date would classify its generation regardless of specs. Usually, gamers will define the competency and viability of a console in close relation to its power, performance and output. When I play Lego City, Mario Bros U and others on Wii U, Personally I am not seeing any graphical output or gameplay intinuity that suggests the Wii U could not have been released when PS3/Xbox360 were relatively new. I do like the game selection and the fact I can play my Wii back catalogue on the Wii U. But, If you compare the Wii U to PS3, then compare it to some of the in-game visuals featured in the PS4, chances are the Wii U will be a lot closer in graphical output to the PS3 than to the PS4.

          • mirumu

            I own a Wii U, PS3 and 360 myself. On a decent TV that’s properly calibrated 1080p Wii U games clearly have greater visible detail than the other two. It’s easily noticeable. That said, these are the first generation of Wii U titles, many of which are just ports from other platforms so is it really surprising they aren’t big upgrades? Games ported to PC often suffer the same fate despite all that extra power.

            If you read what developers have been saying they find it much easier to optimise their code on the Wii U, largely because of all the extra RAM. It lets them do more with the system.

            I certainly do agree the Wii U is not a massive upgrade over the last generation. I also agree the PS4 and most likely the new Microsoft console will be substantially more powerful. Saying the Wii U is last gen however is just silly. If it was released last gen, it would have been physically larger than a PS3, could heat a room on it’s own, and would likely have cost $899+.

          • http://twitter.com/crxuchilbara MegamMix

            Oh, also they added the ability to play no disk media other than a Wii or Wii u game.

          • mirumu

            True. Didn’t want to pay the licensing fees I guess. I can’t say it’s a feature I care about personally, but I know there are those that do. Supporting more formats is always better.

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