News Article

TIGA Calls for Clarification on Download Sales Secrecy

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

The debate continues

In early January we reported that Icon Games broke its silence on WiiWare sales, breaching Nintendo's non-disclosure agreement in the process. It didn't take long for Nintendo to request that the figures be removed, prompting the developer to suggest that secretive Nintendo policies put jobs at risk.

TIGA, the trade body that represents UK game developers, has released its own statement on the issue:

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.

Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said:

"TIGA’s vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business. To achieve this we must enable indie developers and digital publishers to set up and grow strong, sustainable, and independent businesses. If indie developers are to build effective businesses then they need to be able to share sales and downloaded games data with a variety of third parties. This is necessary to facilitate business and financial planning, ease access to finance and aid recruitment.

"Many UK developers would like to understand why Nintendo will not allow independent developers to disclose information about their self-published games on WiiWare. Nintendo should issue a public response to the points raised by Icon Games in order to clarify their position.”

Richard Hill-Whittall, Director of Icon Games Entertainment Ltd, said:

"Icon Games simply want to report on the games that they have self-published on WiiWare. Nintendo’s policy makes life as difficult as possible for small studios. Global publishers need to understand that developers want to run their businesses in a professional manner. I welcome TIGA’s championing of the interests of indie developers.”

As yet there doesn't appear to have been an official response from Nintendo. Where do you stand in the debate so far?

[via tiga.org]

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User Comments (21)

V8_Ninja

#2

V8_Ninja said:

How in the world do you get "TIGA" out of "Independent Game Developers’ Association"?

Cipher

#3

Cipher said:

@V8_Ninja Put "The" on the front and ignore "Developers'". TIGA. :)

I think Nintendo's in a bit of a corner now and they have to respond somehow, even if it's only to clarify their position, but again I ask - does this only apply to WiiWare? I'm sure I've seen third-party sales figures for download software before, possibly for Nintendo DSiWare. We know Nintendo's improved their standards considerably for eShop so I'd be surprised if this policy still stood for 3DS Download Software.

eviLaTtenDant

#4

eviLaTtenDant said:

Since it seems to make it harder for devs and may even drive them away from Ninty's download services it would be good if Nintendo explained the situation. It could even make sense to reconsider If they haven't already.
(And yes. Developers who have signed the contracts with the big N must have known what they got themselves into. That still doesn't make future situations more satisfying for them.)

bezerker99

#5

bezerker99 said:

I'm tired of these cryin' matches between devs and Nintendo. No matter how much these ppl don't like it, they signed an agreement stating they wouldn't release the figures. It's that simple. Sounds to me like these devs all lost money on Nintendo's platform and are bitter.

Oregano

#6

Oregano said:

AFAIK isn't the policy just that you can't publish the data publically? I'm not sure how that would affect finance stuff because you'd be free to share the info with potential investors, banks, etc? It would be nice to get some clarification.

Also big LOL@ TIGA talking about sticking up for developers when they convinced the government not to give the industry a tax break, leading directly to the closure of several developers.

C-Olimar

#7

C-Olimar said:

I'm really not bothered if the policies stop shovelware like Icon's from being released on Nintendo consoles.

joevox316

#8

joevox316 said:

@Cipher I agree. They have to at least say something. When developers label you (in incidents like this as well as in polls) as the least desirable company to work with, it's time to change something.

Hawker

#9

Hawker said:

You notice it's companies that are making bad games doing the complaining & throwing blame at Nintendo? Keep in mind this same company states the same game sold more on the psp, but added the free downloads with those numbers.

Best advice I can give to game developers is: don't make garbage & you'll make money.

TrueWiiMaster

#10

TrueWiiMaster said:

Oy, how many times will Icon's ridiculous, self-inflicted problems be put up as news? They may have had problems from Nintendo's policy, but their failure came from their games' quality. It was low. I don't know much about TIGA, but I have little respect for them if they want to make life easier for shovelware developers. I'm all for great Indie games, but there's nothing great about Icon. From what I can tell, only the seriously lacking developers failed on WiiWare. The good devs didn't seem to have the same trouble Icon did. I wonder why...

TheChosen

#12

TheChosen said:

So you make bunch of bad games and they wont sell well. What do you do? You go breach the contract, get scolded some more and then you go get a bigger stick so you can stir up the whole beehive. Nice work.

brandonbwii

#13

brandonbwii said:

I'm actually more tired of people hating just because of Icon Games making bad games. Icon Games isn't the only company with Nintendo problems. There's DK Games, Romino, and whatever happened to 2D Boy and Frontier?

Nintendo is doing something wrong if so many different indie teams have moved on. Either closed or working on other platforms.

stompy

#15

stompy said:

This is a complicated argument which most people can't see both sides of (partly because of Nintendo's secrecy).
Nintendo are totally amazing in their support and belief in indie development. The tools are brilliant to use and the hardware is not too complex to understand. Devkits are really good value for money and tech support from Nintendo is top dollar.

The marketing of Wiiware is non-existent and the shopping experience is terrible. The lack of proper card transactions and the ability to transfer points from Wiiware to DSiware is embarrassing.

All game development market places follow the oldest law of business which is that supply will match demand. On iPhone there are 400,000 apps because lots of people want to buy apps and it is easy to do. On Nintendo's European service there was not a single Wiiware release this week. You do not need sales figures, good games or bad games to tell you what this means about European Wiiware sales.

Are Nintendo at fault? Yes kind of but actually Apple doesn't publish sales figures for individual titles. Developers should be allowed to share info and to be honest Nintendo are probably ashamed of the sales figures.

Is it all bad? Things might be getting better Nintendo have just brought all demos back online in the US. This for us at least tips the balance and we will be releasing more games for sure (but only in the US). I have this kind of idealistic hope that Wii will live on in its sunset years as more of a digital platform. I guess this was the last Christmas of 1st party Wii disc titles.

Knuckles

#16

Knuckles said:

@theblackdragon nice answer, as for me the only reason i see nintendo not letting companies release the info is that the majority of their sales are just down right terrible. And because of that, nintendo doesnt want sony, microsoft, apple etc to know. of course im excluding the good franchises but what if they were no "ware" near their rival counterparts?

joevox316

#17

joevox316 said:

Why does everyone keep shaking the finger at Icon games and other developers that make what they see as bad games? If find it hard to believe those polls with 3rd party developers naming Nintendo as their least favorite company to deal with solely consisted of "bad" developers. It's not just them.

@stompy All good points, stompy.

FJOJR

#18

FJOJR said:

I've given up on Wii downloads. Just gonna wait it out for the Wii U. I'm sure these developers should save up their 43 MBs and develop a real nice WiiWare title for launch of the new Wii U Shop. Like how excellent DSiWare is on 3DS

JimLad

#19

JimLad said:

@brandonbwii Agree, anything that shakes Nintendo up in this department has my blessing.
Downloadable games are the future, whether they like it or not. If they don't pull their weight now, they're going to slip back to third place and stay there.

ThumperUK

#20

ThumperUK said:

While I don't agree with Nintendo's policy of not making sales figures public, it was very clear in their T&C's when Icon signed up to them. No-one held a gun to Icon and forced them to develop for Nintendo - they chose to do so and also chose to agree to Nintendo's T&C's. Their figures did reveal very poor sales, maybe it was as much to do with the games being dismal as to Nintendo's policies. It seems some developers expect Nintendo to do their marketing for them if it is on WiiWare - they don't and if a developer wants a game to sell then they should do at least some marketing. Anyone in business must do anything they can to drive their sales, not just release and sit back expecting great sales. They could at leasr all make free demos available on WiiWare, although of course this would not have helped Icon sell their shovelware!!.

Sakura_Moonlight2421

#21

Sakura_Moonlight2421 said:

My freaking....leave Nintendo alone!! We couldn't have gone just one month in the new year without someone shaking a hornet's nest in this place.

As with most people who have already said it. Why'd you agree to the T&C's if you weren't going to be happy with selling your junkware.

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