News Article

Every Wii U eShop Developer Gets A Free Unity Licence And Can Self-Publish

Posted by Damien McFerran

According to Retro City Rampage developer

Back in the bad old days of WiiWare, developers constantly complained about how hard it was to turn a profit on Nintendo's download service, largely because you had to reach a certain quota of sales before you saw any cash. This — combined with Nintendo's apparent indifference to indie developers — made it almost impossible for the service to compete with the likes of XBLA, PSN and the iOS App Store.

However, Nintendo seems have to learned its lesson since then and is pulling out all of the stops to make the Wii U eShop as indie-friendly as possible. As a result, we've seen an influx of new developers and a flood of confirmed games.

This sudden upsurge of interest can surely be attributed to the fact that Nintendo offers developers a free Unity licence and allows them to self-publish — as confirmed by Retro City Rampage developer Brian Provinciano:

That's a pretty impressive showing from Nintendo, and illustrates just how keenly the company is chasing indie developers. Hopefully as the year progresses and we see more indie games on the Wii U eShop, the console will reap the benefit in terms of sales.

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User Comments (30)



cornishlee said:

"This sudden upsurge of interest can surely be contributed to the fact"




BeeZeroOne1 said:

Yeah, this has been known for quite some time. If you look at his Twitter feed in context, he was referencing it as an example for why the positive media spin on the recent news that Microsoft offers free Unity licenses to people who develop games published by Microsoft Studios is unwarranted.



allav866 said:

I just hope Hat in Time's eShop release won't be too far from the Steam version's.



Dyltheman said:

thats awesome! this means microsoft are in trouble unless they change their attitude with indies.



baba_944 said:

I want to be an exclusive developer for NINTENDO, and this just sweetens the deal.



Pod said:

We're working on a couple things that might appear on Wii U sometime later this year.
Nothing big at first, but it'd be exciting to release something on a Nintendo platform.

"Keeping all revenue & no pitching and no negotiation"
Well, nintendo still takes a cut at the door as it is their platform, of course. And you do have to submit the game to their quality control, before it is released which is still a little bit on the strict side compared for instance to Android.



Kirk said:

Man, I'd love to become a Wii U indie developer but I know they'll only be giving that to developers that are already pretty successful or that they know are going to make games that sell lots of copies. My company wouldn't even get accepted as an official developer in the first place.



Pod said:

Never say never. They've loosened up CONSIDERABLY on the terms for who they accept as a developer, and they're willing to loan out development kits free of charge until you actually release something with them.



Kirk said:

Well how do I even get in touch with them in the first place regarding this?

I can't see any obvious developer contacts or a developer registration page on their site or anything like that...



BeeZeroOne1 said:

@allav866 A Hat in Time doesn't have a confirmed eShop release. That game's built in Unreal Development Kit (UDK) rather than Unity, which is not free to eShop developers. It's inexpensive to develop for PC with UDK (with the basic engine being free and a fee required to start selling), but apparently a lot less so on consoles. They're still looking for a publisher who can provide the UDK license necessary for an eShop release.

And on another note, it doesn't have a confirmed Steam release yet either, mostly because Steam Greenlight is a terrible system.



Foxxen said:

I'd heard of the site, and was planning to apply there in order to get a Dev kit, but hadn't heard of the Wii-developers.nintendo.

Is the dev kit hardware the main difference?



Shambo said:

@Dyltheman unless...? I think they're in trouble anyway, in the gaming market. Wouldn't know how their latest Windows is doing... still using XP since I rarely need it anyway.



smashbrolink said:

It's good to see indies showing an interest in the console.
Can't wait to see good things from all of you on the Wii U.^_^



Captain_Toad said:

Heh-ha! This is pretty amazing. Unity support on the WiiU has been overwhelmingly positive so far. This just sweetens the deal.



yenly said:

i'm gonna put myself to game programming soon then I too will put up a game on eshop



Pod said:

The difference is that the Wiiu-developers site has a shorter application form, and they will get back to you more quickly. You will then be asked to fill out the application afterwards, but they will secure you a shorter processing time for your application (down to under a week from 4-6 weeks.)

In the end the result is the same, and the development kits are something you order from, but the processing time is shorter, and your first application can be sent without having all the informations they ask about in the long form.



ToastyYogurt said:

I wonder if this free Unity license can be used to push games to other platforms including Wii U.

@BeeZeroOne1: Huh, I was just wondering today why I saw so many Microsoft Studios published indie games on Steam lately.

I hope the news of this gets spread to the ears of other developers. Why constrain your game to PC and 360 (and in the future, XBone) because it's in the hands of Microsoft when you can get an SDK liscense from Nintendo and keep your publishing rights, allowing you to port to other consoles?



StraTTtheRipper said:

If that's the case, and we've known about this for a year now, it begs the question why he only released Retro City Rampage on the Wii, and not the Wii U.



Foxxen said:


Thanks Pod! I'll start at and see where it takes me!

My only concern is Game Development experience(havent released any commercial titles), however im a senior at a University learning modeling, rigging, animation, and design hopefully that will be enough to qualify.



TenEighty said:

Thanks! I've been writing software for 11 years now for Windows, OS X and a little on Linux. Would love to get something on the WiiU. I wonder if you can still publish for Wii too?



BlackStar9000 said:

@Pod but how many of those untested games are fuil of adware, viruses and constantly crash? A lot of them, and it makes sense they have to pass muster as no one wants to pay for a crap game, just look at the War Z on Steam, absolutely a terrible game with a cash grab mindframe worse than any other Ive ever seen.



TenEighty said:

Hmm... how long does it take to get a response from Nintendo? I already filled out the developer form about a week ago.



Pod said:

Oh I'm certainly not sad in any way that Nintendo still enforces quality control, even on self-published titles.

I'm just notifying people that it may seem somewhat strict compared to OUYA and Google Play, where anything goes, and things become available the moment you submit them. I'm not saying it's a bad thing. Nobody likes rubbing shoulders with broken garbage.

But you do have to wait up to a few weeks from submitting a game until it's available, is what I hear.

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