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.