Nintendo of America Highlights Strengths of eShop Platforms, and Plans to Embrace New Ideas
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
Over 1000 developers have expressed interest in the Wii U
With much talk at the moment surrounding Nintendo's third-party prospects and its positioning to embrace new ideas and changes in the video game market, key figures within the company are taking every opportunity to highlight the positives of its approach. With that in mind, Nintendo of America's manager of business development Dan Adelman and senior marketing manager for licensing Damon Baker spoke to Gamespot at PAX Prime, to address questions about Nintendo's download content strategies.
As we've written about a great deal recently, Nintendo's eShop policies deserve praise and are in many ways much in line with other major platforms. The emphasis is clearly on communicating the message that these platforms are open, supportive environments, with vital tools such as Unity available for free.
Of course, the gaming landscape is constantly changing, with free-to-play and various models and ideas coming into play. Nintendo itself is working on free-to-play products, but is open to sitting down with developers to explore new ideas as they emerge, as Dan Adelman explained.
Oh, definitely open to ideas. And we've already got a long list of things we'd like to support and we're developing out the back-end to put those hooks in and make it more flexible. Nothing specific to announce right now. But there's a dedicated team in Japan right now that's working on building out the functionality, so as we hear about new ideas, new things that people want to do, we want to be able to respond very quickly to those opportunities.
It's not just about keeping up with new digital ideas, however, but also highlighting to developers what makes the eShop platforms different from others. As Adelman explained Miiverse is a big part of that difference on the Wii U, and no doubt will be when it eventually arrives on the 3DS, while easy access and the GamePad interface options are unique to Nintendo's home console.
Well really, first of all, [a] really low barrier to entry. Because of our deal with Unity, if they're making a game in Unity: easy. Also, the Wii U really has the best of both worlds in terms of traditional console and tablet gaming, so if you're making a game that requires a touch interface, we can do that. If you really would benefit from having dual thumbsticks, you can do that as well. There's also new avenues of gameplay even if you're really just taking a game and releasing it or releasing it on multiple platforms. Because of having two screens for example on the Wii U, there's a lot of ways you can just make the game better that you wouldn't be able to do on other system.
We were having dinner with Pwnee Studios, who did Cloudberry Kingdom the other day; one point that they mentioned that they didn't expect was how powerful the Miiverse community is. They found that by being able to engage their fans directly on the console, and enabling them to draw pictures and share screenshots, and just share their love of the game that has been really powerful in generating enthusiasm for the game. Gaijin Games has also done a really great job; they've done some drawing contests, they've done this build-a-story weird thing where they'll start one sentence and then everyone chimes in and adds; and then they read it on YouTube later and the story goes on for literally like an hour and I don't know who's watching that thing for an hour, but they're narrating it and the stories are just so incredibly [weird].
Finally, Adelman explained that a dedicated URL setup for prospective Wii U developers, https://wiiu-developers.nintendo.com, has attracted a huge amount of interest.
The URL is WiiU-developers.Nintendo.com. It's been overwhelming. We've gotten probably over 1,000, I don't know if we've hit 2,000, developers with really wide-ranging levels of experience. We've got some who have recently left their jobs in mainstream publishers and are starting a new company, or have been indies for a while. All the way to high school students who are thinking of getting into game development and want to know more about it. So one of the challenges is going through and it's ultimately a resource allocation issue at that point. We want to support everybody, so how do we do that in the most effective manner and how do we prioritize in just making sure that--our intent is to support everyone, really. The underlying philosophy is that if you can make a game on our systems, we want to find a way for you to be able to do that.
With Nintendo of Europe just recently joining its NoA compatriots in openly advertising and promoting these policies, here's hoping that more and more download developers are enticed to the system; the eShop could play a key role alongside key releases on the Wii U, specifically. Let us know what you think of these statements in the comments below.