Rumour: Nintendo Helping Developers to Convert Smartphone Games to Wii U
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
A smart idea, or a bit phoned in?
As a new financial year picks up steam, and with Nintendo no doubt co-ordinating efforts ahead of a major Wii U marketing push in the coming months, we're likely to see a variety of initiatives to assist the home console. One that's being reported by the media in Japan is that Nintendo's providing developers with tools that'll allow quick, easy conversions of smartphone titles to the system.
In one sense this isn't surprising, as there have been repeated noises from Nintendo about not only supporting smaller developers, but providing the infrastructure and pricing freedom for a variety of projects. Satoru Iwata has spoken about new offerings in free-to-play and subscription models being on the agenda, while there's been a lot of positive noise about Unity engine and Web Framework support, all with the intention of welcoming any and all developers interested in working on the system. We've also seen one former smartphone game on the Wii U eShop, with Neko Entertainment doing a rather good job of sprucing up and enhancing Kung Fu Rabbit.
These fresh comments, attributed to "company sources" by The Japan Times, refer to "professional-use conversion software" for moving smartphone games onto Wii U, potentially taking down development barriers of catering a game engine for the system's infrastructure. If a number of smartphone developers did take this on it could lead to a greater momentum for the eShop, and potentially bring quickly ported games more naturally suited to the GamePad and its touch screen, rather than the TV. That latter part is speculation, but we wouldn't rule out Nintendo looking to utilise the controller as a more stand-alone device in the home, to diversify content and help attract gamers more familiar with phones and tablets.
It may be that this new tool, if it's as reported, could simply speed up development of some kinds of games that would find their way to the eShop naturally. If smartphone developers do get attracted to quick and easy ports to another platform, however, it could see a shift in the eShop's dynamic.
We'd love to know what you think of this report, and its potential impact on the Wii U eShop in particular, in the comments below.