Microsoft Befuddled by WiiWare

Microsoft's Chris Satchell must be an easily confused guy, because he’s recently gone on record to state that he’s downright stumped by Nintendo’s WiiWare service and the strategy the company is employing when it comes to nurturing developers.

Satchell, who is general manager of Microsoft’s game developer group, unsurprisingly believes that his company’s upcoming XNA service is far superior.

Here’s some of his bewildered ramblings:

I've been a little confused by WiiWare...the more I look at it, the more I'm confused, because it sort of doesn't really look like something for independents.

At best it's what we would call a registered developer programme. It's really a way for you to get hold of dev kits and the normal development environment when you're not signed to a big publisher. Which is very different than what we're doing with XNA, which is you can just go and download the tools and we're going to give you a distribution (platform) and the community will manage it.

We're going to completely enable you, versus 'well, if you kind of work with us we can possibly kind of, back door or grandfather you into some kind of developer programme which is a lot like our professional developer programme’.

So, I'm not actually convinced it's really going to empower the community a whole bunch.

I think probably they do want to enable independent developers. I don't know how much they're succeeding with that, and I don't know if it's going to be the seachange that I'm hoping we'll see with XNA of really empowering the community.

He may have a point. After all, we recently heard from tiny developer Xiotex about Nintendo’s disappointing treatment of indie studios. But this whole situation reminds us of a saying an elderly relative used to spout:

“The further you open the window, the more crap flies in.”

Maybe Nintendo is right to limit the number of small developers on WiiWare? Perhaps Microsoft’s much-hyped XNA service will be awash with terrible quality titles produced by spotty teenagers in their dimly-lit bedrooms?

So long as WiiWare continues to give us games like LostWinds, Toki Tori and Final Fantasy: My Life as a King, we’ll remain blissfully happy.

Source: Spong