Just recently we spoke to Trent Oster of Beamdog to learn about WiiWare from a developer's perspective, though his experience had ultimately been negative. Something that we touched upon was that the eShop on 3DS seems to be a better download platform that shows improvements over the Wii Shop, though specific details are of course locked behind non-disclosure agreements. Despite this, Official Nintendo Magazine has spoken to three developers to learn about the process of launching a game on the eShop, with some interesting details emerging.
When discussing the initial starting point for a project, Nic Watt from developer Nnooo outlined how Nintendo structures its support.
The prototypes can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, depending on how used to the hardware we are and how much experience we have of the technology behind the game.
Once we are happy with the direction in which the game is heading, we apply to Nintendo for a product code - a kind of ID that is unique to the game - and describe it a little bit further. Nintendo then asks for some more information, or gives us the product code, at which point we can start developing.
We are provided with tools and technology, as well as information on all the tests that will be run on the game. There are teams we can ask super-technical questions about how the hardware works, or how we can achieve a particular result.
Manfred Linzner from Shin'en Multimedia and then Nic Watt explain what happens next.
The so-called 'Nintendo lotcheck' is basically an approval of technical requirements; Nintendo doesn't approve gameplay features. Nintendo has a very high quality approval process and makes sure that games are really playable when they come to the customer.
Once we pass (Nic Watt, Nnooo), we then speak to the eShop teams in the EU and US about what date and price we release the product on or with. Finally we provide them with videos and screenshots so the eShop and the various Nintendo websites have all the info about our game.
It's good to hear that Nintendo does offer technical support and that the well known issue of pricing appears to involve dialogue with developers. The experience for these developers seems to be positive, which will hopefully encourage more companies to join the eShop platform.