News Article

The Nintendo eShop Is Like Paradise, Says Image & Form's Brjann Sigurgeirsson

Posted by Damien McFerran

"The gamers are REAL gamers who pay for quality"

As we're all well aware, the Nintendo eShop isn't the only digital marketplace out there right now. Sony and Microsoft have their own storefronts for downloadable titles, and the iOS App Store and Google Play market offer developers to chance to reach millions of potential customers.

However, for Image & Form's Brjann Sigurgeirsson, Nintendo's offering is currently the best. Speaking to Nintendo Everything, Sigurgeirsson was gushing in his praise of the platform:

This may sound strange, but the Nintendo eShop is like El Dorado in more senses than one. There are nuggets everywhere, the (customer) people who hang out there are laidback, knowledgeable and friendly, and it hasn't been invaded by greedy, cheapskate (developer) conquistadores who insist on trading glass beads for gold, making shallow games with a minimum of effort and yearning to race us to the bottom.

Sure, we weren't the first ones on the scene. But other studios we’ve talked to that develop for the eShop feel the same: “Let’s hope the others don’t come here, let them slug it out on mobile or Steam. This is Paradise: most everything here is good, the gamers are REAL gamers who pay for quality, and when you shout out there’s an echo. I'm never leaving this place.” You can venture out, but you know you’ll be back. And on that steep hill in the middle of this city of gold stands the huge Nintendo totem. All ye other gods, never mind entering here; these people shan't be swayed.

Even so, Sigurgeirsson explains that supporting the 3DS was a risk at the time, but one that paid off handsomely:

In October 2012 we decided to take SteamWorld Dig to the eShop, after having been successful on the App Store with our very clever trail-defense hit Anthill, but we simply didn't have the nerves to bet the farm on the mobile-game lottery again. At that time we knew no one at Sony or Microsoft. We didn't really know anyone at Nintendo either, but we HAD made a Nintendo game before, and thought we could do it again. Now, this is about 18 months ago – the Stone Age, in gaming chronology. Things were very different back then: the jury was still out on the 3DS, and no one could tell for sure if it was going to be a hit, or if it had already failed.

But we’d been betting on the right horse: Last spring, Animal Crossing: New Leaf turned out to be a system seller, and paved the way for us. Suddenly the 3DS was a great device, also in terms of units sold. By the time we released SteamWorld Dig in August 2013, sales of Animal Crossing had started to slow down, which opened up for us. SteamWorld Dig became the game that dethroned the kaiser; within a couple of weeks we were #1 in Europe, North America and Australia. And just as suddenly, we were one of the most interesting developers in the world. All thanks to Nintendo, the eShop and the remarkable community.

The eShop has a tendency to be unfairly overlooked by non-Nintendo players, but as Sigurgeirsson so elegantly puts it, the storefront is packed with quality games on both the Wii U and 3DS, and there are many more on the way. Do you feel his positive view is valid, or are there areas where you'd like to see some improvement? Sound off by leaving a comment below.


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User Comments (64)



Silent said:

This may convince me to buy some games from the eshop. On a side note, I'm downloading Mario Kart 8 from the Eshop the minute it comes out.



Dragoon04 said:

There is a solid selection of games on the eshop although not very many. I am looking forward to Child of Light, and Unepic is still on my wishlist.



Emblem said:

I think the best and worse thing about the eshop from a business viewpoint is the fact you can't buy ad space or get special treatment by spending money. Great for indies but not so great for AAA wanting to hog the store front.



erv said:

Lol, anthill stood out as a game of far superior quality than I was used to on my ipad at the time. Funny to see how that quality can't thrive in the mass ecosystem that is not tailored to the specific needs of the developers.

This is a developer that makes it sound like dedicated gaming devices are here to stay more than anything.



GougeMan said:

If Nintendo would give away 100 free NES/SNES downloads with every Wii U purchase, Wii U sales would go through the roof. This would cost big N absolutely nothing because they are just sitting on all the Rom files, and the Wii U would be saved!



Shworange said:

Steamworld Dig was an absolutely fabulous game. It was inventive and hooked me from its opening. I played straight through the game and will go back for 100% orbs. It incorporated some of the best things about Meteoid and added its own unique flavor, elements and design. Any success they garner from it is well deserved. I'm very much looking forward to the company's next endevour.



Spoony_Tech said:

Great read! Now where Steamworld Dig 2? It also goes to prove that price isn't an issue as long as your game is good. Word travels fast these days especially when Nintendo fans are doing the talking!



ruthlesspanda said:

@GougeMan @GougeMan it would take a lot of manpower (not trying to sexist) and money to port that many NES and SNES games to wii u but I understand what you're saying and it could work but would be risky. Although nintendo has done way riskier things in the past and its paid off. Just look at wii



Einherjar said:

Nah, he must be lying, all the "big devs" are saying that everything Nintendo is awfull to work with.
Jokes aside, really glad to hear that



Nintenjoe64 said:

If only other publishers could see the benefit in Wii U's captive audience and the fact that Wii U owners are pretty much the gaming elite.



bizcuthammer said:

I love Image & Form. SteamWorld Dig is one of the best games on the eshop. I can't wait to play whatever they're making next.



Zombie_Barioth said:

Unfortunately thats because most companies have found it to be much more productive to churn out free pay to win money-leeches than actual games. I wouldn't be surprised if the reason $5 is the limit is because of the flood of those games, not because people aren't willing to pay e-shop prices.

Both handheld are getting plenty of praise for their digital stores actually, which is nice. Its the same sort of praise too, plenty of loyal customers and such.



Shambo said:

This seems very true to me, since the eshop really IS quality over quantity. Allthough I'd like some more physical game releases on my Wii U, both current gen Nintendo systems are my current favourite systems.



Tops said:

Awesome! I love Steamworld Dig and love Image & Form! Whatever they do next will be highly anticipated



AVahne said:

As a Nintendo gamer... I still overlook the eShop. Give me an account system like the ones I have on PSN, Android, and Steam, and I'll likely support the indies much more. For now the only game I look forward to is FAST Neo, but other than that I'm not prepared to take the risk of buying anything from eShop again.



IRNBRU115 said:

Yeah, the e-shop is so much better quality to the likes of Steam, Mac app store, IOS app store, google play and Playstation store (Vita's is a bit better than PS3's) don't know about the stores on Microsofts consoles and PS4, as I haven't used them, I use all the others often, cuz I have an apple computer, I-pad, android phone, and used to have a vita, and PS3. Although an account system would be nice!!!! Anyway we know for definite that'll happen next-gen. (Because of what Iwata said at that shareholder meeting about making both consoles around the same OS, much like I-Phone/I-Pad.)



IRNBRU115 said:

Although I seem to remember reading that developing for Wii U is harder than developing for say, Xbox one or PS4, purely because they're processor's are similar to the intel ones, commonly used in PC's... But again this is the thing with all closed source computers (As i am a fan of, u might have guessed because i have an I-Pad and a Mac) Open-Source is like a buffet. You may not like everything, or anything, but there is a variety, some of which can give u food poisoning. Whereas with closed source, its like a set-menu and you know what you are going to get.... Which is why I always like apple and Nintendo...



Klinny said:

I'm looking forward to the next Steamworld game, I really loved Steamworld Dig Glad to hear that Image & Form had such a positive experience with the eShop as well!



Ketchupcat said:

I agree, SteamWorld Dig is a really great game that everyone should get. The only thing I didn't like about it was that it had to end.



audiobrainiac said:

I LOVE SteamWorld Dig. For the most part the guy is right, high quality stuff on Wii U's eShop and mostly high quality stuff on 3DS's eShop. I think with the Wii U though, the best is yet to come (like Oddworld games). And i'm gonna be there for all of it



Ryo_Hazuki-san said:

@Silent i was going to go digital with mk8 but that case artwork is so damn nice i must have the physical game for this one! who knows i can download it at a later date



Ninhau said:

really? maybe old games are important to you, but to the average gamer theyre not. and id be disgusted if the wiiu were "saved" by old games. Thats hardly why i bought a wiiu. theyre nice to play inbetween good wiiu games, but theyre certainly not system sellers.

Im sure a couple of gamers would be tempted to get a wiiu because of those 100 free games... but wouldnt certainly turn the fate around. and you saying that it would cost nintendo nothing to give away roms, is the same like saying nintendo wouldnt lose money by giving away MK8 etc for free on the eShop (because its "digital" and doesnt exist in the "real" world)

dont be fooled by what is said around this website. over here everybody is a huge nintendo fan and we love anything nintendo does... but we're definitely in the minority and other people would not be as easily convinced to buy a WiiU just based on 100 free retro games.



ledreppe said:

It's goodto hear positive news about the 3DS & Wii U download platforms. I've only played a couple of iOS games, I find the eShop games better quality and worth the extra cost.



GougeMan said:

@Ninhau I can see a few of your points, however, "the other people" are the 30 and 40 year olds that grew up spending a lot of time on those old games and would love to have the nostalgia back if they saw a few commercials promoting this idea. They can be introduced to the newer games by being "roped in" by the old ones. I think there is a huge market that Nintendo can capitalize on with this age group by giving away some of their old Roms that are 30 years old. This pushes the Wii U which in turn would be better for all of us.



brooks83 said:

@Gougeman - As someone who bought over 100 VC games on the Wii, I'd be pretty upset if they started giving them out for free



8bitforever said:

This article is a joke! Until there is an account system it doesn't matter. There is no way I am risking losing money on purchases that Nintendo won't replace if my hardware fails. You cannot have the best online shop without an account system! Nintendo doesn't care because they won't establish one, while Sony and Microsoft have had them for years.



Ninhau said:

im 34 and would love such an offer, but had i been on the fence about getting a WiiU, free roms would not have convinced me to get the machine. Dont think such an offer would turn the WiiU's fortunes around and have a decisive impact in sales



GougeMan said:

@Ninhau Just trying to think about how to give this machine a shot in the arm. Zelda or SSBB has got to save this machine. It is an awesome system....



gatorboi352 said:

@Nintenjoe64 and the fact that Wii U owners are pretty much the gaming elite."

Ugh, just... no. This line of thinking needs to stop. And is the reason behind Nintendo being a distant 3rd in the perception of the industry at the moment.



Ninhau said:

shot in the arm? easy! F-Zero U, Zelda U, WaveRace U, Metroid U, Blast Corps U, new original IP's... along those lines



Daz-brum said:

I buy games from the eshop even if i have the original from the stoneage because Nintendo know the games we want and they are at a reasonable price but i wish if you bought a game at full price then a few weeks later it is discounted Nintendo gave a small credit to all those guys who bought the game previously i know a headache to do etc just a thought Nintendo...



Action51 said:

I have to laugh at all the negativity here.

First @8bitforever : If you link your account to you Nintendo network ID, Nintendo has been noted for being really great at recovering all your paid for and downloaded purchases in the case of hardware failure. I think the only thing you lose are your Street Pass tags.

Okay, now really what Brjann Sigurgeirsson is saying here is exactly why I defend Nintendo and get annoyed at people taking cheap shots or obsessing over sales data. It really is a shame our instant-gratification culture doesn't recognize how sometimes less can be more, and quality trumps quantity.

This man works on QUALITY titles, and he should be rewarded by gamers who enjoy his games on platforms that deliver a true gaming experience. I know there can be shovel and bloatware on Nintendo platforms, but they've been doing a better job of filtering it lately.

The other thing he says is true also, Nintendo gamers...while we may not be the majority...appreciate good games and are willing to pay for them. We don't put up with buggy, glitchy, microtransaction hellscapes.

Now don't get me wrong, I love the convenience of STEAM, but I've been burned a number of times on incomplete, buggy, games that weren't even worth the $1-$5 paid for them during big sales...these are games that often go for much more. I don't regret a single e-shop purchase sitting on my 3DS or Wii U.

So yeah...great article. Brjann Sigurgeirsson is right on!



CanisWolfred said:

"The gamers are REAL gamers who pay for quality"

...that doesn't really sound like a compliment...



Action51 said:

@CanisWolfred No, it makes perfect sense.

Such's a wonder the gaming industry hasn't had a full blown collapse.

He's talking about how Nintendo e-shop isn't bloated with "free2play" and crappy 99 cent apps that compete directly with the works of dedicated and talented designers like Mr. Sigurgeirsson.

I'll pay a few bucks for a solid game created by skilled artists and coders. It's the convenience of the internet age, crybaby entitled gamers, and the ease of piracy that lead us to the sorry state of the video games industry and the rise of mobile/f2p.



JaxonH said:

He's right. The eShop is quality over quantity. I like PSN for the PSone and PSP classics, but when it comes to finding good indie games you'd have better luck panning for gold with a Dixie plate. So much garbage to sort through.

People rarely give the eShop credit, but they should. For all the complaints about $5 NES games and $7-8 GBA and SNES games, that's actually cheap compared to the $10 PSone games and $20 PSP games you'll find on PSN. And there's some really good indie and digital-only games as well. TONS more on the way though. I think I spend just as much money in the eShop and PSN as I do on retail titles. Well, ok I take that back. But I do spend quite alot.



JaxonH said:


I have actual confirmation that you can recover digital purchases via a phone call to Nintendo. I visited a Nintendo help forum and was reading some of the posts for an unrelated matter, and happened upon a post by a gentleman who returned his broken Wii U to Wal-Mart and got a different one. He was asking for help on the forum on whether or not he could recover his content. A member responded and told him to call Nintendo. His next reply stated he had called Nintendo, who activated his NNID on his new console for him and he was able to access all his content through his download history.

This should not even be a debate anymore. This is not the first account I've heard of NNID being activated on a new console. Spread the word, because there is no point in this lingering ignorance. It's official: YOU CAN NOW RECOVER DIGITAL PURCHASES IF YOUR CONSOLE IS LOST/STOLEN. They deactivate your NNID, and activate it on the new console via phone. Thing is, Nintendo doesn't announce stuff like this, so no one really noticed the change in policy take place.



Dpishere said:

@JaxonH Actually I didn't know that, and even though I already purchased some games from the E-shop I thank you for giving me the heads up! Helps take it off of my mind.



JaxonH said:


Yeah, I mean sure it's not as convenient as just signing in like you can do on Playstation or Xbox, granted, but this is still HUGE for those who worry about losing content. Yeah, it's a little inconvenient to have to call Nintendo but hey, I can live with that.

One important thing though. The one consistent thing you'll need if you ever end up calling to have your NNID switched to a new console is the serial number for both the old and new console. So if I were you, write it down or store it in a notepad on your phone or something. That way if something ever happens, you've got the serial number for the Wii U that has the NNID tied to it. Also, I'd recommend linking to Club Nintendo just to be safe, although your download history should now have all your purchases tied to your NNID separate from Club Nintendo. Still, better to be on the safe side.



TwilightAngel said:

I love what this guy said the gamers are real gamers who pay for quality. That quote made my day besides the fatal frame announcement for the wiiu.



8bitforever said:

@Action51 Funny, because when I tried to get my stuff back after having to buy a new 3DS XL they said tough Sh@t! That was before the Nintendo ID but it shouldn't have mattered. I lost $75 worth of games and I won't buy again because of my experience. I will play their old games on emulators before giving Nintendo another hard earned dollar of mine!



Dpishere said:

@JaxonH Ah I am already linked to Club Nintendo so I am good there. As you suggested I will write down my serial number just in case, since you never know what can happen, thanks for all of your help!



Windy said:

I love the Eshop and downloaded my share of great games. But these past few months haven't been anywhere near as good as what we were getting last year. Also that Race for the Line game should just be removed from the market. Aweful just aweful. I still pick up carts for retail games and I download the Eshop only exclusives. Here is hoping it gets back on track and piles up the gems for the rest of the year.



Vader_MIB said:

There is definititely a lot of crap also in 3DS eshop, this guy seems to forget it. If I had not Nintendo Life warning me sometime with good reviews of poopoodoodoocacapoopledoople games, i would have spend money on those and left the eshop at once from angriness...



unrandomsam said:

@JaxonH I don't think the eshop is particularly high quality. Wii U has ports of second rate PC indie games. 3DS has loads of absolute garbage.

Steamworld Dig is a cut about the rest at around the same price point though on 3DS. I don't like Metroidvania usually (I did like La Mulana) but its loads better than many of the eshop games rated 9 and 10 on here.

On Steam however it is nowhere near as clear cut. The competition includes :
Nights into Dreams / Ikaruga / Jet Set Radio / Sonic CD / Double Dragon Neon / Sonic Adventure 2 / Bionic Commando : Rearmed

(Ignoring Sale prices just RRP and only stuff that is properly ported not emulated).



Nintenjoe64 said:

@gatorboi352 I was joking about the gaming elite. I think the reason Nintendo are behind is that they want to appeal to children but don't realise that children of 2014 don't want to play games that are designed for children, they want to murder each other or look at officially branded stuff. It's nothing to do with the fanboys thinking Nintendo are somehow special and whining, embarrassingly throughout the internet. The captive audience is definitely paying off for some indies but Ubisoft and Activision will definitely have a different opinion of Wii U owners.



Action51 said:

@unrandomsam - I've been burned on several really crappy, over-hyped indies on Steam. Just because I paid 99 cents or $2.50 for them doesn't mean that 99 cents wasn't wasted. Some games just flat out don't work as intended, or are actually not finished.

Can't say I'm disappointed in any of my purchases on Wii U. Sure the selection isn't nearly as wide, but it's a different animal, and I like them both for what they are...I've gotten some really amazing deals and great games on STEAM too.



Gashole said:

"The Nintendo eShop Is Like Paradise."

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