News Article

Nintendo Barring Small Developers From WiiWare?

Posted by Damien McFerran

Remember when Nintendo announced WiiWare? Do you recall the grand spiel? WiiWare is a platform for small developers to really get their products out there and truly shine, you don’t need to be a big studio, yadda, yadda, yadda. Of course you do. It’s for this reason that many people got excited about the service; after all, smaller devcos are more likely to create fresh and innovative ideas.

However, it seems like the dream isn’t quite how Nintendo would have you believe. A post has gone up on Xiotex Studios' blog, a uber-tiny developer which throws Nintendo’s “come one, come all” policy into doubt. Apparently, the anonymous poster was invited to a WiiWare summit in London that was aimed at winning support from the vast hordes of Indie and bedroom programmers. Impressed, he duly signed up for the service and awaited Nintendo’s confirmation that his company would be accepted as an Authorized Developer.

Astonishingly, he was informed via email that his company was not a suitable candidate for WiiWare.

The email he was sent reads as follows:

Thank you for your interest for Authorized Developer status for Wii. We have completed our evaluation of your application and are unable to offer your company Authorized Developer status at the present time.

In evaluating developers, Nintendo looks for relevant game development experience. In addition, Nintendo looks for secure business facilities, sufficient equipment and staffing, financial stability and other attributes that would distinguish the developer. Nintendo provides Authorized Developers with highly confidential information and many of Nintendo’s Licensees rely on recommendations and referrals by Nintendo to Authorized Developers. For these reasons, Nintendo exercises a very high level of discretion in approving only a select number of applicants.

In accordance with our policies, we are not able to re-evaluate requests for developer status for at least six months. Again, we appreciate your interest, and welcome any questions or concerns you might have regarding this decision.

Best regards,

Software Development Support Group & Licensing Department
Nintendo of America & Nintendo of Europe

So he was refused because he didn’t have experience – fair enough. Nintendo doesn’t want any old crap on WiiWare (unless it’s crap from companies like Konami, naturally). But here’s the catch, as the poster himself explains:

When I made the application I was already working as a contractor on a Wii title and before that I had worked on GameCube titles - apparently that doesn’t count as relevant experience. Perhaps they only want people who have never worked on Nintendo hardware.

This strikes us as rather strange. For example, Eternity’s Child developer Luc Bernard has practically no proven track record when it comes to making games, yet his project was greenlighted by Nintendo months ago. Surely someone who has actually worked on Nintendo hardware has more of a right to work on WiiWare?

Whatever the reason behind this, it certainly makes a mockery of Nintendo’s promise that WiiWare would be a haven for all talented small-scale companies.

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User Comments (35)

Shortay

#1

Shortay said:

Maybe the reason that Eternity's Child and many other lesser-known developers who submitted games were accepted because they were some of the first to apply, while this anonymous poster may be applying with hundreds of other unheard-of developers.

Nintendo have announced that there is over 100 games in development; maybe they're got plenty of n00b developers as it is and at this point they are looking for developers that stand out and with a bit more... experience?

Probably an awful theory, but I tried :)

coire

#2

coire said:

That's pretty dispicable that Nintendo is just turning their back on their 'Come One, Come all' mantra for Wiiware. I don't want it to be full of Squeenix's "Not good enough for disc! Collection" games...

So, people that have experiance with Mobile phone games are fine, but people who have worked on GameCube games are a 'no-no'?

That's downright non-sensical.

Knux

#3

Knux said:

Sounds like to me Nintendo is picking who they want for WiiWare. Looks like Nintendo's anybody can devolop for WiiWare idea was a lie.

AlexSays

#5

AlexSays said:

well we had to of known Nintendo somewhat controlled the games being produced,
but this is a little disheartening. :(
i hope they're not keeping some good games from us.

Cooldued59

#6

Cooldued59 said:

This person can be lying you know or he may not. We don't know that. It said in the rejection e-mail that fianancial problems and staffing could be a prevention to this. He may not have enough money or enough staffing at the time.

In the other hand I, I do give him props for trying to get a licensed wiiware game.

Starwolf_UK

#7

Starwolf_UK said:

Was wondering when this would appear. Looking up this Xiotex Studios I found this on their blog:
“Xiotex Studios was formed as a small company to host the games that I had been developing in my spare time while working for ‘proper’ games companies.”
Sounds like a company on paper complete with a bedroom converted into an office. Nintendo requires Wiiware developers to have real offices (this is one of the points mentioned when you sign up for developer status) and that implies they should be full time devs not "spare time" (though theres nothing wrong with that its just Nintendo would prefer devs to give it their all so to speak).

ICEknight

#8

ICEknight said:

Since that guy even stated he was just making games in his spare time, I don't see why anybody would be surprised that he didn't get approved.

DamoAdmin

#9

Damo said:

But WiiWare is supposed to support bedroom coders like this. Luc Bernard is in the same kind of position.

strade32

#11

strade32 said:

well, they can't take everybody. i do feel for this guy, but his buisness does like it has problems.

CorbsAdmin

#12

Corbs said:

It's also who you know. That makes a big difference too. Nintendo has always been tough on their licensees and I don't expect WiiWare to change that much. We'll see some new developers get a shot, but there will likely still be many turned away for various reasons that you and I will probably never know.

Tim

#14

Tim said:

Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me. Well, not me personally, but all the Ninty Fans out there.

This is not surprising. Nintendo will shut people out to the point where no one will be making games for Nintendo's system except for Nintendo. The GameCube is a case in point.

Nintendo is still the same arrogant company they have been for years. The only difference now is they are rich again and have the spotlight because of it.

dr_mario

#15

dr_mario said:

"Xiotex Studios was formed as a small company to host the games that I had been developing in my spare time while working for ‘proper’ games companies.”
C'mon, they shouldn't disallow him just because he works on some games in his spare time. Remember, Megaman 2 was one of the best games for the NES and as I recall it was only developed in the spare time of it's creator. But as some people said, they may already have many other developers like this and it was just luck of the draw. BTW, WE STILL NEED MEGAMAN FOR THE VIRTUAL CONSOLE IN NORTH AMERICA C'MON NINTENDO!

strade32

#16

strade32 said:

the way i see it is that they are already getting a lot of small publishers. they can only have so many, so now they are taking a select few. they are giving a nice amount of small publishers a shot, so they must be doing SOME good.

ACK

#17

ACK said:

The Luc Bernard comparison isn't exactly apt as he is not a bedroom coder. He is merely an artist with storytelling aspirations--known to himself as a 'fairytale creator' of sorts.

The point is, Eternity's Child is being developed by Silver Sphere Studios and published by Alten8. I imagine these companies adequately fulfill Nintendo's requirements.

Virus

#18

Virus said:

I hope people aren't taking this too seriously. I understand some of the upset this has caused, but c'mon. I don't believe anybody understands exactly why Nintendo did not accept this person (I included), so there is no reason to become hateful towards Nintendo. Nintendo isn't acting like some evil, sadistic, controlling company. It's being wary. Yes, Nintendo may not be welcoming every single person that had a thought about creating a game, but WiiWare's library already shows that Nintendo is welcoming small developers. Also, as stated by Nintendo, they can't just give dev kits and information to everyone because if the items and information fall into irresponsible hands, well, one thing can lead to another and so on...

Nintendo has some problems to deal with, and I understand people's anger, but I seriously don't believe this isolated predicament is one of the things that need to be fixed.

WindOnFire

#19

WindOnFire said:

I don't understand. They don't really have a limit for developers, just a limit for how many games can be released. They can still take lots more devs. And how can they shut them out when its a small company that made LostWinds! sad, sad, sad :(

mummydaddy

#20

mummydaddy said:

One thing this does prove is that the "poster" is not as discrete as Nintendo prefers!

MrPoo6321

#23

MrPoo6321 said:

Maybe his game was no good? And what games specifically did he work for on Wii and Gamecube? Was he responsible for Ninja Bread Man or what?

Pink_Rabbit

#24

Pink_Rabbit said:

I think Nintendo has a good reason for not letting them develop for WiiWare. 2D boy hasn't got an office. So that ain't the reason. Plus they didn't say that they won't get a license at all. Just not yet.
You gotta prove youre worth it.

sailingtheseaoffools

#25

sailingtheseaoffools said:

Well first they have to a number of dev kits be sent out. Earlier last year a number of wii devs said they were on waiting lists for dev kits since there were so many applications the supply ran out and demand was just excessive.

The same applies for wii ware dev kits. A limited number for a huge applicant pool. So they have to decide who gets the dev kits out of a pool. If you have more applicants then dev kits then yes you have to select who gets the dev kits in terms of priority. 2D Boy is two guys yet they got a dev kit and are licensed to work on wiiware. Even major studios are saying the dev kit pool is limited. Lots of established devs are still waiting for their dev kits to be shipped to them. Just like the wii Nintendo had no idea so many people would want to use the dev kits so they have to ration them out.

The guy can try again in six months. Obviously not everything is being said.

Adamant

#26

Adamant said:

"Remember, Megaman 2 was one of the best games for the NES and as I recall it was only developed in the spare time of it's creator."

Hm, didn't know that. However, remember that Mega Man 2 is essentially Mega Man 1 with new levels, not something completely new. This guy isn't going to take one of his old Wiiware games and change the levels a bit, he's making a completely new game. There's a difference,

Also, yeah, people make good points here - Nintendo just can't hand out dev kits to everyone, and "one guy in his bedroom in his spare time" isn't going to get top priority. This guy is just bitching because super awesome him didn't get picked.

strade32

#27

strade32 said:

some people act like since nintendo has a lot of small developers that have been given a chance, they will give all of them chance. that is just not the case.

The_shoemaker

#28

The_shoemaker said:

maybe the game the guy was offering was just pure garbage, and Nintendo tried to say it nicely by saying you don't have any experience.

SmaMan

#29

SmaMan said:

I've seen many times when a company will say "Come one Come all!" and have to cut people off. Most of the time you don't know how well the turnout will be and in this case it must have been pretty overwhelming...

But still...Nintendo's not letting us see the bright ideas of this young company but they'll gladly give us Competitive Eating Federation (whatever it's called) and Beer Pong?!

Peznaze

#31

Peznaze said:

"Major League Eating" is from Mastiff, yes. And could do really, really well. TV Show King did well, MLE is basically a glorified pie-eating contest, and could do really, really well in the US.

It's interesting that Nintendo turned him down because he's not really a business, just a hobbyist. (Essentially, it would seem.) Smacks of protecting their proprietary secrets.

What's really interesting is that if he was denied because his game was no good, then Nintendo's exercising more quality control over WiiWare than they do with their disc based games. heh.

sailingtheseaoffools

#32

sailingtheseaoffools said:

"What's really interesting is that if he was denied because his game was no good"

More likely he had no effing game at all. Why waste a dev kit on someone who couldn't even show off a small pc demo done on their spare time?

World of Goo is just two guys and no publisher involved who showed off a pc demo that got Nintendo vip attention at a convention.

If I recall right there was a conferance in Japan where they showed that the majority of Western wiiware developers were indepedants who were in teams of sizes smaller then ten.

benja86

#34

benja86 said:

i don't think it is the experience they are all that upset about
this guy is most likely a security risk.
i work for the DOD ( department of defense) trust me security risks are not something to be taken lightly especially as secretive as nintendo

Donquijote23

#35

Donquijote23 said:

"In addition, Nintendo looks for secure business facilities, sufficient equipment and staffing, financial stability and other attributes that would distinguish the developer"

Nintendo didn't lie when they said WiiWare was open to anyone. It is. You just have to make sure you have your stuff together when you apply. So I theoretically could make a game, as long as I get some experience, a little money, have a decent computer , and show that I have some ideas. Pretty basic requirements I'd say. There has to be a way of keeping the shovelware out, and its not like he has to build up his own company to SquareEnix standards or something. Just give Nintendo a reason to trust you more than a random WoWgeek.

Also as far as his experience goes, I would be interested to know what games he worked on and what he actually did. What if he was a playtester for Anubis II? Would you consider that good enough if YOU were Nintendo?

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