News Article

Nintendo Not Accepting Independent Wii U Developers Based in Japan "At This Time"

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

GDC form rules studios out

Update:

Nintendo has issued the following statement to Eurogamer, which unfortunately says relatively little. Ultimately, it's the decision of each regional body of Nintendo to decide on licensing policies, so this is a decision squarely on the shoulders of the Japanese licensing department.

The policy in question is the decision of Nintendo's department responsible for licensing activities in each region," a company spokesperson confirmed. "The licensing department of Nintendo Co., Ltd is currently not accepting subject applications from individuals in Japan.

Original Article:

A little while ago we reported on a peculiar state of affairs that meant, over two months after the system launched, the Japanese Wii U eShop was still waiting for its first download-only game. This was due to a policy in Japan that means a title can't be available on Nintendo's download platforms in the country unless being published by a company with majority ownership based in the region. As a result, in that case Nano Assault Neo — developed by Shin'en Multimedia — was published by Arc System Works.

It's safe to say that if a policy like that was enforced in Western territories we wouldn't be reading positive comments from smaller developers about Nintendo being supportive and inclusive; it's also worth noting that the argument of the download 'indie' market being important to Wii U in the future would also go down in flames. From a Western perspective we do have those positives to enjoy, yet it's interesting to see that the same flexibility and openness doesn't apparently apply in the Japanese market.

Another example of restrictive policy in Nintendo's homeland has emerged, with Kotaku spotting a questionnaire from the recent GDC (Game Developers Conference) event in San Francisco that, while inviting applications from developers to become licensed on Wii U, explicitly rules out studios based in Japan.

This is slightly different from the Wii U eShop publishing rule, in that it suggests Nintendo isn't willing to register independent studios in Japan, even if they're owned in the country. Reasoning may be that Nintendo is dealing with different regulations, protecting its many local partners and attempting to drive business through them, or that it's simply planning an alternative policy for Japanese developers that isn't yet in place; as yet there's been no comment from Nintendo on the matter.

This has apparently been doing the rounds on Japanese social networks for a while, with obvious dissatisfaction at the policy. It seems odd that while being rightly praised for its accommodating, supportive policies in the West — which includes loaning small companies free Wii U dev kits — Nintendo isn't applying the same principles in its homeland. If Nintendo issues a statement or confirms updated policies to support Japanese independent developers, we'll post an update.

[via kotaku.com]

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User Comments (47)

Dambuster

#1

Dambuster said:

no one cares, no one in Japan reads this site, and its not news for those who live outside japan!

Haxonberik

#2

Haxonberik said:

@dambuster thats not true, there's a translator that lives in Japan that frequents this site, and in a world so connected, it's hard to see how this is not perrinent Nintendo news.

LordGeovanni

#5

LordGeovanni said:

I could come up with possible reasons for this, but I really don't want to spend the time on it today. It is still up to Nintendo. I hope that they change their mind soon or actually have a plan to include Japan Indie at some time. I mean, isn't that how we eventually got Cave Story?

DualWielding

#6

DualWielding said:

this is crazy, you cannot afford to have that kind of policies when you are doing so bad sales wise

Technosphile

#7

Technosphile said:

I, for one, am more interested in games that Japanese indies produce than those in the west. Bad form, Nintendo..

dumedum

#8

dumedum said:

Looks more like a misunderstanding of some sort or some plan that they're doing. Important there is that they're generally indie friendly.

Mk_II

#10

Mk_II said:

i seem to remember something being said before about specific legal requirements for the Japanese market.

SyntheticPerson

#11

SyntheticPerson said:

What? Is this commonplace in Japan, or is some crazy Nintendo thing?

I think the Wii U needs more indie titles, regardless or Western or Eastern origin.

Samurai_Goroh

#12

Samurai_Goroh said:

I fail to see the reasons why a Japanese games company would welcome western indie developers and give the proverbial middle finger to it's fellow countrymen. Is there something about the Japanese indie scene that I'm missing? My favourite games use to be made by Japanese studios much more than western, so I assume some more Japanese eShop games is something I would like.

micronean

#13

micronean said:

@SyntheticPerson
It might be a commonplace thing. the Japanese PSN store, for example, has nowhere near the amount of indie titles that the American PSN store has. Also, they are (or certainly were up to a year ago) classified by publisher name, rather than by alphabetical order...well...hiragana order.
I think it has changed now, though, when the PSN store was updated. I haven't checked it out recently, because the games aren't anywhere as good as the US store.

also, the word "independent" is a no-no in Japan. Their culture is all about collectivism and uniformity. They just do things in a different way.

banacheck

#15

banacheck said:

I don't think a large portion of Nintendo fans care, seeing as thay want to butcher Atlus.

ricklongo

#20

ricklongo said:

@ferthepoet So bad sales-wise? Nintendo is absolutely dominant in Japan. Yes, the Wii U is still struggling, but even that is bound to change in the near future, especially in that region.

I still think it's an unfortunate policy, though. I hope it changes in the near future into something more akin to their current policy in the West.

ultraraichu

#21

ultraraichu said:

On the bright side, Japan have publishers like Arc System Works and Atlus to help fund the project and especially bring them to the west even if they're people who take it for granted.

It's hard for me to fully grasp the law and bureaucracy of asia since I'm not an native but I'm sure there must be some logical reason for this even if it is silly to us.

@micronean Thumbs up on the last paragraph.

BATRA

#24

BATRA said:

Policy will destroy consoles look at Xbox One and now it change policy
One rule for all
Please turn off your Caps Lock if you can, Batra — TBD

unrandomsam

#25

unrandomsam said:

Maybe they think Japanese Indies only make explicit Hentai type stuff. Dunno if it is true.

I have only played those ones like An Item shop Tale / A Tale of Two Sisters / Fortune Summoners.

More interested in the old school style shoot'em ups (One hit kill not really bullet hell). Never realised Blast Works was based on a Japanese Indie game (And they never paid the developer).

Sega killed (Or tried to) the streets of rage remake that used none of their code whatsoever. (It has 96 levels for a 2D brawler there is no cost constraints imposed).

I am surprised Nintendo hasn't done anything about the Newer Mod for New Super Mario Bros wii because it is much better than anything they have done recently. (How it should be you find a secret exit and it is worth it you get a full extra world. I think about 50% of it is secret levels. Switch Palaces / Changes in Physics in various situations. It is like a true sequel to Super Mario World few rough edges but it is fun to play the whole time).

Square Enix didn't like the Chrono Trigger - Crimson Echoes Mod.

The Japanese parts of SNK, Sega and Square Enix (Maybe even Konami / Capcom) are still ok as far as I can tell. It is the international parts that are totally unnecessary all they do is try and milk old stuff for more money using as little effort as possible.

Ragnarok Battle Offline looks good.

Don't think Nintendo should blanket ban outright those dev's some of the stuff is pretty good. (Probably most of it is not but that is the same in the West).

Sleepingmudkip

#26

Sleepingmudkip said:

indie is more west because the west(north america,EU and Australia) have very independent way of life but in japan has a more cluster staying together way of life.

EarthboundBenjy

#27

EarthboundBenjy said:

If there aren't any Japanese indie titles, then how did Cave Story get released? Or am I missing some important detail?

Eien1239

#29

Eien1239 said:

We need to investigate these policy, less almost ignorant rants please. Not a day goes by.....

Rect_Pola

#31

Rect_Pola said:

Creativity can come from anywhere and so can the next HUGE hit. Excluding an entire region doesn't gel with me.

Eien1239

#32

Eien1239 said:

That indies are important to Nintendo was verbatim/PR for the west market. Stop acting like these markets are the same. The indie scene in Japan is not that big. I think the Japanese market doesn't like indie not just NOJ, or NOJ can't support indies without publishing them.

WaLzgiStaff

#33

WaLzgi said:

To be fair...I'm not really familiar with many Japanese titles aside from Cave Story :O

AlbertoC

#34

AlbertoC said:

@Dambuster With all due respect, i'd like to point that your comment is somewhat shortsighted, dear sir. This is not the United Kingdom, but the internet. Many computers WORLDWIDE connected between them. And the news pertains Nintendo: the company not being congruent with policies being applied in western regions on their own homeland without stating the reason. This news is certainly relevant.

Saying that nobody from Japan reads this site is very similar from saying nobody whose mother tongue isn't english or isn't located in the UK visits it. And that's FAR from true.

Tysamu

#35

Tysamu said:

Hm. That sucks for sure
I can only wonder what the reason for this is..

ramstrong

#37

ramstrong said:

I noticed that the examples in the form imply that there is, indeed, a person named "Mario Mario". ;)

Japan is a nice place to live with all the wonderful technological dreams coming true. But we must also remember that it is a country with long history of traditions, and bureaucratic regulations is heavy in that country. It somehow reminds me of California. :p

MrBlutzIII

#39

MrBlutzIII said:

Well just like Xbox One policies have changed maybe in the future Nintendo Policies will change.

TenEighty

#40

TenEighty said:

Doesn't seem like they are accepting any from the US either. I filled out the application and never got a response.

Savino

#41

Savino said:

Oh come on!!!
Japanese indie games must be ultra fun!! (and with a lot of non-sense)

DashDG

#42

DashDG said:

Because very, "very" few developers are INDIE in Japan, they are usually stablished studios, and If they cant publish their games then the regular "big" publishers do it without problems. Its always be same since NES days...

ECMIM

#45

ECMIM said:

Pro-tip: before acting like the Internet, perhaps most of you should wait for more information before doing the dance of doom? Just a thought!

Henmii

#47

Henmii said:

Hmm, strange! Since downloadable titles are the only third-party support for Nintendo on Wii u, this is a very bad situation for Nintendo!!

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