News Article

Icon Games: "Nintendo's Policies Put Jobs at Risk"

Posted by James Newton

Former WiiWare dev strikes out

A few days ago, Icon Games revealed its WiiWare sales figures, showing just how its games had fared on the service, breaching Nintendo's non-disclosure agreement in the process. Nintendo responded by asking Icon to remove the WiiWare sales figures from its post, prompting Icon boss Richard Hill-Whittall to slate Nintendo's "negative, damaging" policies.

Hill-Whittall explains the necessity of solid information for the basis of any business plan: sales estimates and revenue projections allow businesses to make better decisions, but without access to sales figures it's near-impossible, says Icon:

Nintendo’s policy actively makes life as difficult as possible for the smaller studios, putting jobs and livelihoods at risk.

Is sales secrecy as bad as Icon makes out? Should developers for Nintendo's download services be allowed to talk about how many copies their games have sold, whether bad or good?

[via icongames.com]

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User Comments (71)

Burning_Spear

#1

Burning_Spear said:

Whether the policy is good or bad ... You enter into a contract; you follow the rules of the contract. If you don't like the rules, don't enter into the contract.

BalrogtheMaster

#2

BalrogtheMaster said:

I'm not gonna lie, Nintendo needs to step it up with digital gaming. SO many good games, but no one knows about them...

Cipher

#3

Cipher said:

Well, if they don't like it, there are plenty of other platforms out there for indie developers. Policy is policy, and whether you like it or not, you stick to it.

Does this policy in particular apply to WiiWare or Wii exclusively, or does it encompass all of Nintendo's online services?

SLiM

#4

SLiM said:

Nintendo probably doesn't want to release the numbers because they aren't all that great. If developers knew the numbers, they would probably develop for iOS or Android instead :P

PokeNas

#5

PokeNas said:

Yeah Nintendo does not want to show people the truth about their download service.

Hardy83

#6

Hardy83 said:

Whatever the reason for Nintendo's extreme control on their digital platforms, it's not working in their favor.

It makes it pretty obvious why developers flock to companies like Apple and Steam. They get far more control over their software then with Nintendo. Even for small things like pricing and promos.

Control is a double edge sword. Squeeze too much and you cut yourself.

chiwii

#9

chiwii said:

I don't think that Nintendo should restrict the developers from releasing their own sales data. The Icon Games guy has a good point - it would be very difficult to put together a business plan for potential investors without sales data.

However, Icon games did choose to enter into the contract. If companies don't like the terms of the contract, they should have decided not to work with Nintendo. Eventually Nintendo would figure out that no one will work with them, hopefully that would convince Nintendo to improve things.

CapedGodot

#10

CapedGodot said:

Cry some more, Icon. If you made good games, maybe you wouldn't be a risk to the jobs of your employees.

Linkstrikesback

#11

Linkstrikesback said:

I agree, Nintendos policy of accepting worthless games like Soccer Bashi and pretty much everything Icon Games has ever made puts the good developers at risk because no-one can find the games worth buying. It really is a sorry state of affairs.

TheChosen

#12

TheChosen said:

From the company that brought us such memorable instant-classics like Soccer Bashi, Family Games, Arcade Sports and Stunt Cars....

Strict? Yup. Awful online store? Definitely. So but some effort on making the bloody games if you're expecting some revenue in the first place and dont just expect that gimped online store to work just because it has the word Wii on it.

I dont think this would fly on Steam either, so maybe you should try the Apple Store? I've heard they pretty much accept anything.

dizzy_boy

#13

dizzy_boy said:

tbh, it`s been known for a long time that nintendo bully 3rd party dev`s. they`ve been doing it since the NES days, so it`s a practice that they`re familiar with.

Incognito_D

#14

Incognito_D said:

@TheChosen I actually like the layout of the Wii store. You can search for VC games for example based on genre or original console. The PS3 store is far more complicated to navigate.

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#15

Philip_J_Reed said:

Guy who made Soccer Bashi giving advice to Nintendo on how to increase sales.

/me bleeds from every pore and falls over dead

ToxieDogg

#16

ToxieDogg said:

Caption is wrong, it should read 'Soccer Bashi's sales figures are a load of censored'. :D

Token_Girl

#17

Token_Girl said:

Just because there games weren't great doesn't mean they don't have a point. How well do GOOD games do on WW as opposed to Steam, App Store, PSN/XBLA, ect.

Maybe that's why we're not seeing many good games on WW. Studios with their stuff together know better than to bother.

Rawk_Hawk

#18

Rawk_Hawk said:

I have no problem with the layout of the Wii Shop. Its easy to find Virtual Console games. I just think its too slow to navigate.

Tethers

#19

Tethers said:

@Token_Girl: "Just because there games weren't great doesn't mean they don't have a point. How well do GOOD games do on WW as opposed to Steam, App Store, PSN/XBLA, ect.

Maybe that's why we're not seeing many good games on WW. Studios with their stuff together know better than to bother."

So true...

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#20

Philip_J_Reed said:

He may indeed have a point, but so does Burning Spear. Nobody's obligated to publish through Nintendo's online stores, and if they agree to their conditions and then get burned by them, it's hard to have much sympathy.

Nintendo has a right to author its own contracts. They may seem unfair from the outside, but the fact remains that people enter into that bargain of their own free will, and are welcome to peddle their games through other services. Which it's often wise to do, I admit.

I do think it's worth discussing how Nintendo's policies could be improved, but "I willingly entered into this contract and then exactly what the contract said came to pass" isn't a very good reason to complain.

EDIT: Just saw this tweet from Icon. https://twitter.com/#!/IconGamesEnt/status/154310939649392640

I'll just leave that there.

Hardy83

#21

Hardy83 said:

People jumping to the defense of "Developers has to publish through Nintendo" or "They are the ones that signed the contract" aren't really helping the case on how bad Nintendo's digital service is.

Saying take it or leave it...Is basically what's going on right now with developers. And they are leaving.
Is that what you want? Or do you want to call Nintendo out on their flaws and yell at them to fix them so developers that make your so called good games are actually enticed TO make games for the service and not others.

Odnetnin

#22

Odnetnin said:

Icon's games put fun at risk.
but yeah seriously, nintendo's online sucks, go develop somewhere else instead of complaining about it

KaiserGX

#23

KaiserGX said:

Too lazy to @ but I recently made a PSN account for my cousin on his new PS3 and I couldn't find a thing on the PSN Store. Took me a while to find the DLC for Soul Calibur Yoda.

Magicpegasus

#25

Magicpegasus said:

wait, don't develop somewhere else! even if Icon's products are generally horrible, that's not the issue. the issue is that N is making it difficult for all indie devs, not just Icon.

jkshaz

#26

jkshaz said:

To be honest Nintendo doesn't have that great a track record of working with smaller developers. I'm sure some of you remember those surveys when they were asking developers about working with Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Steam etc...yeah Nintendo's feedback wasn't stellar. Having said that Icon is probably not someone I want championing that cause.

TrueWiiMaster

#27

TrueWiiMaster said:

Does anyone else find it strange that this guy is saying jobs created by Nintendo's WiiWare service are potentially in danger due to that same service not being good enough? Maybe it's just me but that seems a little odd, especially coming from a developer who hasn't made anything worth buying... Is he saying it's Nintendo's fault there weren't enough suckers out there to make his games successful?

This guy needs to realize that the games that do well on WiiWare are usually high quality, unique titles or entries in famous franchises. His company has produced nothing of high enough quality to warrant the support of consumers. If a developer does not make games worth buying, they should stop making games. Such is the harsh reality of business. Icon keeps blaming Nintendo for their lack of success, but if Nintendo had promoted these games well enough to make me want to buy them (which would probably have to be false advertising or dirt cheap prices, honestly; this is all assuming I wasn't checking external sources for reviews) I would have been mad at Nintendo for making out mediocre titles to be great. Nintendo shouldn't back, or even sell for that matter, games not worth playing.

Also, how do Icon's poor sales justify breaking a signed contract? Nintendo should come down on these guys.

komicturtle

#28

komicturtle said:

I don't see the point in sharing sales figures for WiiWare. As long as the developers themselves know, it's all good. They could have gone on the record and said that their sales were very unimpressive. I'm sure Pushmo and some other download titles on eShop are really doing well- by the looks of ratings and charts. Why does it matter about the "numbers" behind it? To criticize and compare? That's the only reason I see some non-developers (yes, readers on NL and other places) being hot-headed and hurt about it. I'm not trying to excuse Nintendo for this questionable act- I'm just looking at the big picture.

And for people to say lots of devs are "leaving Nintendo's digital service".. Link? Because from the looks of it, I see lots of developers actually embracing Nintendo's online infrastructure- particularly with eShop.

There's always room for improvement- even on PSN and Xbox Live even.

But that's just my take. And for ICON games to slag off Nintendo Life completely like some immature knob over the Soccer Up! review is really unprofessional and it's the last developer I'd want to work for when I do get into the gaming industry.

Rebel81

#30

Rebel81 said:

Deep respect to Icon Games.Nintendo gives WiiWare games zero support when compared to Apple. The current Nintendo policy reminds me of the forced NES-exclusive agreement in the 80's.

Oh and Tengen Tetris beats the official one by lightyears.

TikiTong

#32

TikiTong said:

I always wondered this, maybe the size file limit is keeping developers away, as well as the bad contract. I mean XBLA games and PSN games are pretty lengthy are leagues better.

Phantom5800

#33

Phantom5800 said:

Valve doesn't allow you to reveal sales numbers from Steam either, yet an awful lot of developers seem to like Steam for some reason. Nintendo's downloadable shops have way more problems than something like that.

NintendoMike

#35

NintendoMike said:

Let me see if I got my facts straight...

1) Nintendo Life reviews some of Icon Games', uh, games, and says why they suck.

2) Icon Games' president, owner, whatever, becomes upset and starts attacking Nintendo Life - on its own website - because of its reviews. So much so, in fact, that a company president has to be BANNED from a website covering games such as his.

3) For some odd reason, and despite this previous hatred of Nintendo Life, Icon Games then reaches out to Nintendo Life and asks them to do the company a favor by publishing confidential numbers that Icon Games isn't even supposed to release. In case anyone hasn't figured this out yet, this presents possible complications for Nintendo Life because Nintendo may become upset with the website and claim that they shouldn't be releasing the numbers either. But Nintendo Life posts the numbers any way.

4) Icon Games later posts the numbers itself via Gamasutra.com, and Nintendo tells Icon Games to take the numbers down. Icon Games takes the numbers down. However, the numbers are still available on Nintendo Life.

5) Icon Games then makes another post on Gamasutra.com and criticizes Nintendo for its policies, despite the fact that it willingly agreed to those policies.

6) Icon Games then makes a post on Twitter and insults Nintendo Life for a review of a game not made or published by Icon Games, despite the fact that Nintendo Life has apparently put its own ass on the line by recently publishing confidential numbers.

Is anyone seeing a pattern here? The pattern is that EVERYONE except Icon Games is to blame for the poor sales of their games. Why, it couldn't be that something is wrong with the games themselves. That would be too simple to understand! No, blame the reviewers. Blame the service. Hell, blame the gamers! Those lousy, ungrateful consumers! How dare they not buy our games!

I will note that there is one stunning problem in Icon Games' latest article about how Nintendo's policies put jobs at risk. And no, I'm not going to be a smartass and say that no bank would offer you a loan anyway based on those sales numbers. No, I'll take the higher ground.

Rich claims that he apparently can't disclose his sales numbers to lending institutions to secure a loan. But this doesn't seem correct. I haven't seen the contract, and I'll certainly retract this point if I'm wrong on it, but it would seem to me that this contract would only prohibit public disclosure of the sales numbers. After all, I'd like to think that Nintendo would have already thought of this and allowed companies to disclose their sales numbers in a confidential and secure manner so they could secure loans and publisher agreements. But again, I may be wrong.

Oh, and Linkstrikesback has the best comment.

Fuzzy

#36

Fuzzy said:

Yeah, was starting to feel for them until I read that tweet. You've gotta learn how to play the game.

joevox316

#37

joevox316 said:

I don't see what the big issue is: Icon games are acting childish. They breached contract and threw petty insults. Just ignore them.

But yes, Nintendo is far too strict to the point where other developers generally despise dealing with them. They shouldn't take that fact lightly. That doesn't excuse Icon Games ridiculous behavior mind you, but that doesn't change the fact that Nintendo is not doing right with their online marketplace or the people wanting to do business with them. The PSN store feels like a mall. It's fun! It's flashy! Indie and third party developers become stars! When you think about it like that, the Wii and eShops feel more like marketplaces under dictatorial rule. Somewhat cold, awkward, and not as fun as the mall. (but I have loved many games purchased behind that cold, metallic curtain)

Radixxs

#38

Radixxs said:

Sales information isn't going to help if you're games are s**t. But let me help: You didn't sell anything Icon. There is no sales information.

maC_N_Cheezer

#39

maC_N_Cheezer said:

As has been previously stated, if you aren't going to follow the rules of a contract you signed why sign it at all?

RichIconNew

#40

RichIconNew said:

Regarding the SoccerUp tweet - I was appalled when I read that review and was basically showing my support to the EnjoyUp guys. In hindsight the wording was indeed a little juvenile.

I realise many of you dislike our WiiWare games, although I would be interested to learn how many of you actually tried them, but as I've said before we made some mistakes and you move on and learn from those.

@NintendoMike - to clarify, we never asked or approached Nintendo Life in any way to cover the figures. I think the Tweet may have nudged them :)

I'm actually surprised how you managed to confuse the distinction between sharing our own numbers, and having access to store wide digital sales data.

I think it would be good to clarify this to avoid any further confusion.

I actually have first-hand experience of trying to obtain finance with no figures to show, and this highlights the point:

During 2010 we approached several banks to request some bridge finance to cover the gap between the release of the titles and the time when the sales thresholds were reached. On any other service this would not have been an issue as you earn revenue from sales straight away.

We showed them our own figures which showed promising early sales, but the thing is those figures are fairly meaningless - especially to a bank.

They wanted to get a view of the wider picture - how other games on the service had performed, how well games within specific genres perform, and so on. The sort of data any financial institution requires before providing funding - especially to a games company, as the games industry is perceived as being a high risk industry.

We couldn't show them any such numbers and their response was negative - in effect I was asking them to finance a business but providing them with none of the traditional market research data they expect.

It was impossible to secure the finance we needed and as a result we had to let one of the team go and were unable to pay wages to the rest of the team for a while. Fortunately the guys stood by us, and our Minis releases then turned things around a little.

I have spoken to other developers too who have very similar stories, and some of whom didn't make it through.

So, regardless of whether you like our WiiWare games or not - this is no way to deal with third parties, who at the end of the day generally try their hardest but are more often than not starved of finance and resources.

stromboli

#41

stromboli said:

Too much energy and time has been given to this story. This is a developer whose game , soccer bashi, scored a whopping 41 on metacritic. It's in the red. It's not a nintendolife issue - everybody thought it was the worst game in the world.

NintendoWorldReport: Soccer Bashi feels like a glorified flash game. It's the same game that people have been playing on their phones for years now.

Oh I wonder why people would pay for a flash game. Comon' be serious.

There is no reason to take grievances like this seriously. If the World of Goo developer said this, then it's interesting. Even if some of the complaints have merits, let's not forget stuff like this:

(1) Vicarious Visions CEO Karthik Bala has opened up with some info on just how receptive Nintendo is being with the channel. According to Bala, getting a game on the WiiWare channel is a lot easier than going for Xbox Live Arcade. Nintendo is even going out of there way to spread dev kits out there for indie teams.

or this:

(2) The creator of Cave Story, Daisuke “Pixel” Amaya, hasn't received any compensation for Cave Story, a very popular freeware PC game that has gained popularity over the years. Then one day developer Nicalis' Tyrone Rodriguez sent the creator an e-mail that was shown on his official website. He apparently told him who he was and his contributions to the video game industry. He then expressed his interest in moving the Cave Story franchise forward. After a few months and many e-mails, the two agreed on everything.
After this they had to choose which platform to release this classic on, and ultimately knew that it'd have to be through one of the big three's download services - WiiWare, PlayStation Network, or Xbox Live. They ended up choosing WiiWare, much to the delight of Nintendo fans. Rodriguez told MTV's Multiplayer blog how supportive Nintendo's WiiWare group was of the game, though at first had to convince them by explaining the new content that would be available.

Many developers always talk out about how supportive Nintendo is, They give out information, and they help with the development. They're open to different genres etc. RedLynx recently seemed to have a lot of fun working on Wiiware. Size limit didn't bother, Nintendo was helpful, and they were thrilled to do it. I'm sure the games sales well, because it's a fantastic game too.

stromboli

#42

stromboli said:

another great developer:
http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/nnooo-talks-about-developing-for-wiiware/084071

Nic Watt, creative director at Nnooo, told MCV: "WiiWare like all channels for an indie developer is a tough market to compete in. As a small independent developer we have learnt that it is not simply good enough to have a great, highly polished game and expect it to sell well just on word of mouth."

"With Nintendo there is no green light process, or arbitrary requirement to make 3 disc titles before you can make a digital title. If you believe in it and want to make it you can."

"A lot of people talk about the lack of support or lack of focus Nintendo put on their digital platforms and don't realise that for Nintendo it is about marketing the platform as a whole and allowing you, the developer, the room to develop and promote your title as you see fit."

Watt believes that this perceived focus that Nintendo has on its console integrity over its digital distribution channels actually forces indie studios to think harder about how to make their titles cut through.

He concludes: "For us it has taught us the importance of not only making great content but also working out the best ways to market our title to reach as many people as possible. We are happy to support Nintendo and their platforms and are excited about our future on Nintendo 3DS and Wii U."

Like many others have said, it is easier for indie developers to develop for Wiiware than other platforms.

dizzy_boy

#43

dizzy_boy said:

it`s not hard to figure out whether you`ll buy a game if most reviewers a giving good or bad scores to the games they review.
nobody wants to buy a game that gets slated by various different people. so it`s unfair to react in like a spiiled brat. get over it and use the critisims as a way to improve upon future games.
nobody really has that right to blame others if there`s something wrong with what you`ve done in the first place.
maybe some dev`s should take a road trip in malls and schools to get an opinion of there games from the poeople they`re aiming there games at. they can see for themselves on how people react to their games.

FantasiaWHT

#44

FantasiaWHT said:

For anybody deciding whether to make a game for WiiWare, or port a game to WiiWare, sales data for comparable games is absolutely vital.

accc

#45

accc said:

The people running Icon Games should try to find a new line of work. Preferably one that has as little to do with the entertainment industry and public relations as possible.

jkshaz

#46

jkshaz said:

@41
Well I suppose it wasn't what High Voltage pulled. Just remember twitter is not always your friend when you are agitated. Although I am in agreement that I don't like the non-disclosure pact for sales figures. Seems like a dishonest if not bad business practice.

RichIconNew

#47

RichIconNew said:

@stromboli - we are planning to start some form of open discussion on digital sales data shortly to get feedback from other developers/publishers. The subject and issues at hand are far bigger than us, and I think most studios would welcome a change on the current secretive sales data policies.

Neram

#48

Neram said:

They just want to talk about sales figures so they can say to the community "See? Don't develop for WiiWare or your games won't sell!" They're blaming it on Nintendo, but in reality their games don't sell because they are crap. Soccer Bashi was a joke.

dizzy_boy

#49

dizzy_boy said:

i`d love to see a list of WW sales figures next to an avarage review score.
it would be nice to see if one reflects the other.
if it did, then it would shut up a few people before they start moaning.

TrueWiiMaster

#50

TrueWiiMaster said:

@RichIconNew
Though I never played the other 3 games, I have played the Soccer Bashi demo. The thing about digital games is that you can't try them without buying them. You have to make a leap of faith or trust reviews to guide your purchases. Personally, I tend to do the latter, as I imagine many others on this site do as well. Seeing as how all 4 of your games garnered pretty low scores across the board, why would anyone in the know buy them (unless they were a reviewer, desperate for such a game, or just didn't care)? How then can you specifically blame Nintendo for the commercial failure of your games? If this came from someone like Gaijin, 2D boy, or Wayforward (dsi/3ds only developer I think, but they'd still be in the same boat) it would hold some weight, as they all have games above an 8/10 (pretty sure). If this situation is so much bigger than just you, why doesn't it apply to the companies who make great games? Why is it that Gaijin continued to make games for WiiWare and enjoyed working with Nintendo? Why does Wayforward continue to make Nintendo exclusives to this day if it's so hard to sell quality games on Nintendo's eshops?

RichIconNew

#51

RichIconNew said:

I never made any comment on whether I was disappointed or not with our WiiWare sales figures, and I have little doubt that the WiiWare success stories earned good money.

The point is that Nintendo's policies are unfair, whoever the developer/publisher is.

I think I'll leave it there though, there are only so many posts I can read slating us before it gets a bit too masochistic.

I realise we made mistakes with our games and they were not brilliant titles - we tried hard, and we've learnt a lot. I believe the reviews were too harsh but it is water under the bridge now and we have moved on.

I had no plans to ever really discuss Nintendo or WiiWare again until I received the messages from Nintendo.

The original sales numbers blog entry was something I put together as I was genuinely interested how many of our games were out there, and if you read the article you will see it is a very positive post and made no negative comments on WiiWare. I thought it would be good to share it with other developers.

LordTendoboy

#52

LordTendoboy said:

@stromboli

I notice that you and @RichIconNew have two opposing viewpoints on how Nintendo deals with indie developers. I'm not sure who to believe, but at least you provided plenty of sources to back up your statements.

chiwii

#53

chiwii said:

@truewiimaster - Playing a demo is "trying before you buy.". And, I don't know where you shop, but the stores where I shop don't let me return a disc game if I don't like it.

Radixxs

#54

Radixxs said:

I don't dislike the games. I would not spend my money on them. I dislike the "juvenile" tweet. I have no respect for this company.

koolkitties

#55

koolkitties said:

He developed a game for Wiiware. Of course developing for wiiware won't help you out if you're a small developer. THATS WHY NOBODY USES IT.

Guy really should've had the foresight not to bother.

M00se

#56

M00se said:

if the wii u has this kind of bs where they have extremely tight restrictions on games made available through online service ill be mad. like ive said before, they should just go with steam for their online needs and can even make it a special Nintendo version of steam that sells Nintendo games and you can use existing steam accounts and such.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#57

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Points have already made above: 1. They have a point ; 2. They enteres into the contract though, 3. Some other devs have done well for themselves on wiiware and are happy with Ninty, 4. Soccer Bashi was very average (I downloaded it btw)

Mattiator

#58

Mattiator said:

@RichIconNew I can't say I've played a single one of your titles, but I feel that every single developer for the WiiWare service has a perfect right to complain publicly about whatever conditions have been imposed on them by their contracts. While breaching said contract isn't acceptable, letting other developers and non-developers know about what you (and I'm sure others) feel are draconic policies is perfectly fine. All power to you.

Shworange

#59

Shworange said:

Both sides needs to move on this. Nintendo needs a better online shop. The 3DS eshop is a great start, but keep the development going! It can be better! Icon... Life's a bitch and then you die... Make good games. The previous numbers showed that you almost doubled your sales on PS3, but that included free titles... A little dishonest when blaming only Nintendo. Your games suck. You want more money, make your games not suck! That is how it goes.

Nintendi

#60

Nintendi said:

3DS needs a huge amount of apps. This once a week stuff with 1-3 games is too lame.

ecco6t9

#62

ecco6t9 said:

No one has to reveal sales figures, one can answer "Game A was a loss, Game B we broke even on, Game C made a profit."

Personally at the end of the day sales figures do not matter since it seems that a company can be shut down on Monday and most of it's team forms a new company on Friday.

Hawker

#63

Hawker said:

@ 7 My point as well, funny how the company complaining about this didn't have any games on the service that rated higher then a 4 on this site. Blame Nintendo all you want, if you make bad games they won't sale no matter what the company's policy is.

Ren

#64

Ren said:

I can kind of see both sides of this. On one hand it's true that if the games are good the numbers will get there and the experience will be just fine. I can see how some brilliant developers or reimaginings of classic games could have great support with getting their games up there but it doesn't mean that it isn't generally an uphill battle for small developers with little chance for exposure otherwise.
If a game is only so-so to begin with or the internal development is scraping by financially, transparent sales numbers and bigger file sizes, promotions, etc would help get some of those games going and they may end up being better down the road for it. It's a big gamble and will shut down the house if the slightest slip is made (cough:: icon games).
but I do think if Nintendo offered lots more Marketing and support to their Wiiware service as a whole, ALL of the numbers would be a lot higher and smaller (and even not so great) games would actually have a fighting chance to keep at it in the long run. As it is a game has to be mindblowing to get any exposure on Wiiware. There are 'rags to riches' stories of design genius' and lone basement programmers who hit it big after years of solo work but this is not the standard that we can hold every small indie developer to. Most of them actually have a real staff who need a living wage for their work that has to be done on a reasonably tight schedule by a normal business model. It's pretty rough for us to sit here playing Mario Galaxy and post that these guys just didn't work hard enough to make cool games. Maybe some of their games suck, sure.
But so do lots of games on Xbox live and other venues, but they have massive file limits (if any) and the sales numbers are generally so much higher that just putting a game on there doesn't mean gambling with your future. nintendo has a bigger install base than anyone but they don't have specials, don't advertise the service, don't mention it anywhere. I've had to argue with friends and relatives to convince them that there are even downloadable games on the Wii at all! People have no idea it exists after, what, 5 years? It's pathetic.
But here we are bashing the developer for not making cool enough games. Sure these guys have made some big missteps but Nintendo has sent a clear message in so many ways that they are not interested in increasing sales on WiiWare at all. I say to those developers just don't use Nintendo at all, it's clear they only pamper the developers that they favor and new blood has to have a tested gem or stick to free online games. Nintendo just isn't profitable for the small timers (for better or worse). I hope this changes at least a little with the WiiU.
These missteps I think are just the developers frustrated backlash about Nintendos bad online services in general. It doesn't mean that it was the right thing for them to do, but I can understand the frustration.

FOREST_RANGER

#65

FOREST_RANGER said:

Poor developers that have to deal with Nintendo's tough sales policies. I suppose Nintendo implemented the minimum sales policy as a measure of ensuring high quality games, but it backfired because there are still useless or unfinished games on the service. The severe file limit for developers? Nintendo is obviously saving money and resources for the Wii U instead of reserving more server bandwidth, but went too far with cutting resources for the shop channel and left sour tastes. I just don't get why they didn't update the Wii Shop Channel interface.

stromboli

#66

stromboli said:

Maybe there's less quality competition in the other consoles, since they don't necessarily have the 400 Virtual Console games with all the great platformers, SNES RPG's and the great classics of Shooters etc. So the download service of the Wii is the best even without any beautifying efforts from Nintendo. It's just there.

Tethers

#67

Tethers said:

@Hawker & "if you make bad games they won't sale no matter what the company's policy is"

Maybe, but on other services you get at least your money from the games you've sold...

Also: The problem with WiiWare is, that sometimes even good games doesn't sell well, for example because it is hard to get a Demo online...

eviLaTtenDant

#68

eviLaTtenDant said:

Wouldn't a service be more attractive if you'd knew what you're getting yourself into ?
I'd say the easiest way to attract as many devs as possible is to make the informations available to the whole public. But i am not working in the videogame business so i can only guess here.

MegaAdam

#69

MegaAdam said:

There are plenty of comments here about how Nintendo set the conditions, and if indie developers don't like the deal, they shouldn't sign up for it.

And that's fine.

But seeing as how we are commenting on a site dedicated to Nintendo's downloadable services, I would think we would all want Nintendo to do well in the digital space. Having unfair and unprofitable conditions on their digital stores drives away 3rd party and indie developers, and that's bad for Nintendo overall.

RichIconNew

#70

RichIconNew said:

http://www.tiga.org/news/press-releases/tiga-calls-on-nintendo-to-explain-its-position-on-publishing-games-data

TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, today called on Nintendo to explain why it does not allow developers to publish the sales numbers of their self-published titles. TIGA made the comments following the news that Nintendo had refused to allow Icon Games Ltd to publish figures on the sales and free units downloaded for their WiiWare games.

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