News Article

Dahku Creations Announces Departure From Game Development

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Two Wii U eShop releases didn't sell enough

While the Wii U eShop has been the home of some success stories in recent times, there have also been releases and developers that have struggled to make an impact. An example that has emerged recently is Dahku Creations, which has stated that it is leaving game development; the studio recently brought Chubbins and Soon Shine to the home console's online store in North America.

In a blog post the studio has explained events that have led to its decision to cease development, summarising that after failing to generate notable sales on iOS the Wii U eShop brought some improvement, but not to the degree required.

...Soon Shine on Wii U was a success. Again we got great community coverage, reviews were generally more positive than they were for Chubbins, and the sales have been infinitely better than they were on iOS. And in fact, Soon Shine sold as many Wii U copies in four days as Chubbins did Wii U copies in four weeks. Of course that isn't saying much, and sadly, it still isn't enough. Nowhere near it, in fact.

So that's it. The window of opportunity has closed. Our dev equipment has been returned to Nintendo. If our games turn out to be sleeper hits, or if we eventually have money to burn from some other source of income, maybe we'll be back to take another stab at game development someday. For now, this chapter comes to an end.

Community interest and support, news and review site coverage, feedback and appreciation from people playing our games, sales (modest though they may be)--we got little to none of any of these on iOS. So, even though things haven't worked out with Nintendo, it's definitely been a more positive experience and we want to thank all of you who've been a part of it! Oh, and for the record, Nintendo's employees have been absolutely top-notch to work with every step of the way!

Dahku Creations also tackled the issue of the Wii U eShop library, including the debate on quality control and the influx of inexpensive downloads.

Poor quality overcrowding is what made the App Store suck, and then when there were so many $0.99 games that people had to be selective, free-to-play with ads and/or in-app-purchases became the only way to go. These days it's practically impossible to make money if you're charging up front, and even free-to-play games are having a hard time because people have become selective about those as well.

Sadly, this is where we see the eShop heading. It may take a while and it probably won't ever be as bad as the App Store, but developers are already taking advantage of the lack of quality control on Wii U to whip games up as fast as they can and make a quick buck. One Wii U developer out there has stated that he made his latest rip-off game in two days, and he intends to charge a dollar or two. Maybe it will succeed, maybe it won't, but if it does he'll make a bundle on practically no investment, and if it doesn't then he won't have lost much by trying. Based on his track record, it looks like he intends to keep making these poor quality games indefinitely. It's hard to fault such people for good business sense, but they're already causing long-term damage to the eShop, and it will probably hurt them in the end.

As for Dahku, we put a lot of thought and poured months of hard work into our $2 game, and when it didn't succeed we had to give up the dream of ever creating something better. Maybe it's for the best. If Chubbins and Soon Shine had earned us enough that we could have scraped by and tried again, the market indicates to us that we'd be fools to aim higher when it's so much easier and smarter to pump out junk. But that's just not our style. We aren't a 5-Star dining experience, but neither are we a fast food joint; we're more like a little local restaurant, working hard to make good food for those who come, but failing to attract enough customers to stay in business. There just doesn't seem to be a place for us.

We may have brought two iOS games to Wii U, but they're not what's making the eShop into the App Store. Despite what a few people with short tempers, short attention spans, or iOS-hatred have said, we know we brought some solid games to the Wii U, and for that at least we can walk away with some pride.

It seems a pity that Dahku Creations is leaving development, especially as its two Wii U releases so far had both been competent, relatively enjoyable games. It's evidence that, like any other download platform, the Wii U will have its share of disappointments along with high profile triumphs.

Let us know what you think of this news in the comments below, and whether you've picked up either Chubbins or Soon Shine on the Wii U eShop.


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User Comments (43)



outburst said:

Good luck guys! Too bad it didn't work out.

I wonder which dev they are referring and what game.



Tops said:

That's a shame and hopefully they can do well for themselves with whatever they pursue next. At least they spoke eloquently about their experience instead of being bitter and for that they have my respect.



C-Olimar said:

@RCMADIAX I got that impression and I think it's unfair. Your games are perfect cheap experiences. They're not going to win any awards but for the price they are fun.

The poor quality line was bitter and rude. A European, Blok Drop U is the only game of yours I've played, and it was sleek, simple and quick to load. I don't get what kind of quality he'd expect for £1.29.

I also feel like Spikey Walls was a cash in. But if people want to play Flappy Bird on Wii U, what's the problem? I would have released a Flappy Clone on the eShop if I was a Wii U developer.



Kaze_Memaryu said:

While the games aren't my thing, the Dahku team certainly has a great sense of development (I know, bad comforting). I really like their view on digital releases and their own practices - too bad this honest and upright approach didn't make the difference in the end. I wish all of Dahku's team members the best of luck for the future!

@RCMADIAX It's their view, nothing to do about it except for proving them wrong. Maybe they didn't actually talk about you, though.



Phantom_R said:

These closing comments highlight some very real issues on the eShop. The people running Nintendo still don't understand the digital market--we're getting a lot more downloadable titles than we used to, but they're almost all garbage. It really is turning into the App Store.



justlink said:

I buy games i can see and have explained. Developers who actually talk on Miiverse help me decide if their game is what I want



Jayvir said:

Sadly, their games just were good enough it seems. They didn't really seem like they were worth the cash IMO. At least they gave it an honest shot



sinalefa said:

I can proudly say that I bought both games. I still believe Chubbins should have had a save option after each level and not after each world. Soon Shine is more enjoyable, although sessions start slow and it has some strategy. Best of luck to you guys.


I also bought all of your three games, with my favorite being Blok Drop U. The quality is there, although the other two are very simple, luck based experiences.



ikki5 said:

lol, sorry to say but would any of these games do well on any other system that was not a phone?



ricklongo said:

That's always sad to hear. I gotta say, however, that Chubbins and Soon Shine both felt too smartphone-y from the trailers I've seen, and as a result I wasn't compelled to buy them. They're just not the kind of experience I want from my Wii U, I guess.



DefHalan said:

I understand what they are saying but I feel people want a meaty experience on consoles. What I mean by meaty is the length of the experience. The amount of time it takes for the consumer to get the "full experience" RPGs do this by having a long story. Shooters do this by having online multiplayer. Puzzle games do it by having random-ization.Soon Shine looked like it didn't offer much gameplay. I watched the Trailer and felt they showed everything in it.Just my opinion

EDIT: Just to add on, it doesn't have to be a long experience, Steamworld Dig does a good job of having a meaty short experience.

EDIT2: Can't believe I didn't say this before. Sorry to hear you are leaving the industry, I hope the best for you



Minotaurgamer said:

I am sorry but seriously, those games are not million sellers in the last bit. I'm sorry about their decision but they were delusional if they thought that quirky silly games will be blockbusters.

There's nothing interesting on those games that warranty sales, only the overrated word of "creativity" and all the darn "indie" cliches and tropes all "indie" developers keep saying and doing.

And they are complaining that there mediocre games on the eshop?! they complained about their restriction guides and now they lift them , they are complaining too?!

Seriously, for Nintendo is never a win situation with these manchildren.

Go get a real job instead of searching blames and pointing fingers when you fail.



gage_wolf said:

It's a bummer these guys' dream of being a successful game dev didn't work out, but I can't say I'm suprised. Chubbins looked absolutely horrid from an art direction standpoint, and Soon Shine looked like a free browser game. I'm not looking for cheap experiences on my console. I want substantial, thoughtful games.

Sorry dudes but there is a reason people pour years and money into making games. You can't expect to pump out some cheap looking crap every few months and expect to get rich, and I'm glad that's the case. I don't want to see the eShop go the way of the App store, and the first step is simply decreasing the flow of this cheap crap.



gage_wolf said:


"I'm pretty sure they are referring to me and my upcoming Spikey Walls game."

We're all well aware of who and what they are referring to. You won't see any of my money.



hylian-pudding said:

It sucks that their dreams got crushed but as some people said, games like those can't be blockbusters, and the eShop should be a place fore more robust games, with more time, thought and money put into them.



Morpheel said:

@RCMADIAX they could very well be talking about the upcoming game from the creator of The Letter. Unless you actually made that one in two days and announced it as a ripoff.



jakysnakydx said:

I admire Dahku and their attempt. I often wonder however if those were games they had dreamt of building or quick shots of creativity when they found themselves in need of ideas. Neither Chubbins nor soon shine ever appealed to me as I dont boot up a home entertainment center for a 30 second experience. Both lacked the level of polish and depth they were in need of.
I just agree with many of the opinions that have been shared: Dahku marketed their games wrong - they targeted the wrong market with the wrong idea with the wrong features and not enough raw power nor presence to force it through



jakysnakydx said:

There are so many areas where the whole process can go wrong just within the realm of marketing: Product development, idea generating, product placement, advertising, etc



TingLz said:

@onery So they can tell a developer that their game is crap and throw it back on them? I really don't think it's Nintendo's job to do quality control like that. That's why we have review sites.



BoltedArc said:

Lets be honest you bring an ios game to console and hope it sells, No, I don't think so! If you believe your game won't sell well in an already saturated market where anything can end up becoming the latest craze like flappy bird then why bring it to console hoping to do better, a select few devs for ios do console quality but they already make hand over fist so they don't have to come to eshop, my advice would be taking your ios game alittle further to turn it into console quality!



mike_intv said:

If you followed the whole conversation of @RCMADIAX regarding Spikey Walls, there was a strong thread of satire that went through the whole announcement process. Unfortunately, note everyone picked up on this, so some have picked on this developer whose other experiences have been simple but complete and playable and fun..



WinterWarm said:

Aww too bad, it's a shame some developers can't find success on such a unique console.



JaxonH said:

Sucks to see any dev out of business, but when you play the game, that's how it goes (no pun intended). A lot of developers competing for our money, and while I do tend to be more charitable and liberal with my eShop dollar than I probably should (already filled the entire Wii U menu, working on 7th page now) not every game is going to interest me. Or the next guy.

It's a cut throat business- capitalism at its' finest I dare say. Not everyone is going to thrive, in fact, more won't than will. But I do wish these guys well. I know it must be tough, and hey, if they ever decide to give it another go, all I can say is give it your best, and if it's good people will buy it. Though they'll probably need to elevate their aspirations just a wee bit before they flag my radar.



gage_wolf said:


So is he not releasing a flappy bird clone on Wii U? Because last I heard he was, and regardless of how satirical his intentions are I will not support turning home consoles into iOS dumping grounds.



SKTTR said:

As long as there is enough content and polish I'm open to simpler games on WiiU as I'm from the 80ies. Chubbins had a neat idea, reminded me of an addicting C64 platformer gameplay-wise. This one had potential. There aren't any auto-jumper platformers on the system! Gameplay, content, and challenge seemed to be there! Graphics and final polish unfortunately not. A little more time in development and it could've gained better scores, more fans, and more sales.
iOs isn't my thing but I understand that good iOs games are also good WiiU games.

It's all about selling quality if you're aiming the core.
And it's all about marketing if you're aiming the casuals.

For me personally RCMADIAX games are too barebones. A game as easy to develop as Blok Drop U should have 100 stages minimum. And the rest of their catalog? Poker Dice, Shut the Box, Spikes? Uninspired games, sterile and extremely basic, devoid of any charm or creativity, not even on the same level as comparable mobile games. If I'd develop games based on such simple ideas I'd bloat them up with graphics, hours of music, silly features, bonus content, and options, to make sure gamers feel I cared at least a bit.
The Letter should have been rejected infinitely for sure. Looks like a kids first 3D demo. While other crappy games can be updated to have better value, no amount of updating can help this game. Because the story is preschool garbage that needs to be scrapped. If you want to see a good example of firstperson horror adventure on Wii U then check out Master Reboot!



noctowl said:

So they realease ios games on eshop then complain about eshop becoming like ios? Lol. Maybe if Nintendo had quality control their games wouldn't of made it anyway.



NodesforNoids said:

The Letter. It's the 49 cent 'experience' that has actually sold well enough to fund other, possibly worse, titles by a developer who genuinely thought what he created was a 'full game'.
If I were Slender Man's creator, I'd have been extremely embarassed by any comparisons made towards his game.
I never played either or Dahku's games. And I don't feel that bad about it. Sometimes, it just doesn't come together. Sierra, makers of the King's Quest series, has gone under. THQ. And let's not forget the buyouts and conglomerates to save floundering companies. Sega and Atlus, Bandai and Namco, Koei and Tecmo, Square and Enix, Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics. It's a fact of business: not every competitor will survive.
Video games, now a billion dollar industry, is even more cut throat than before.
If there are enough stupid gamers out there to support garbage like the Letter, it's on those gamers' hands that the blood should fall.



NodesforNoids said:

If you read more than the first line of post, you'd realize the idiocy of your response. They released the game on eShop, after realizing the kinds of experiences most iOS games strive to provide. The shot is obviously at the Letter, offering nothing for 50 cents then promising to 'patch' the game, as if it could be fixed with a patch.
Before Chubbins and Soon Shine, we had games like Nano Assault Neo, Little Inferno, Mighty Switch Force HD, Ducktales, and Trine 2. Dahku was trying to provide a quality experience for less money, while not churning out free crap and selling it at big gains. I don't know alot of people that hated, disliked or straight up regretted Chubbins or Soon Shine the way they felt about stuff like Gaiabreaker and the Letter. There's tons of fundamentally broken trash on the eShop. I don't think either one of Dahku's games fall into that category.



WiiLovePeace said:

Darn, I was hoping to play Dahku's games but they never reached Europe. Oh well, it was fun hearing about your games I guess. Best of luck for the future.

@RCMADIAX unless they specifically say that comment was about RCMADIAX, I don't think you should think it is. Personally I think they're talking about the letter developer but we may never know.



Pod said:

These guys gave it a good shot. I wish their games had had that final finish that would have made more people notice them, as they're pretty interesting games, the visuals just lack a bit of coherency, and while I don't consider myself a graphics whore on the technical level, I do appreciate good color schemes and apparent mastery of the tools at work.

I'm absolutely certain that they're right about cheap, poor, rushed games eventually damaging their own and everybody else's sales potential. But this development is to be expected when self publishing is allowed, and no lower sales threshold is set. In this scenario, some people will release anything. And just like on Deviant Art, the loudest and the ones who copy what's popular will get lots of attention. At least we're not drowning in zombie games like Steam Greenlight.

The eShop on Wii U is already home to quite a few games that look too unfinished for me to give them a second glance, and I find it disheartening. I don't know if Nintendo is planning to do anything about this, or if they have already decided that if the Wii U is to sell poorly, they might as well experiment as much as possible with it.



LunaticPandora said:

Good to see a dev calling Nintendo out on their lack of quality control, NOW GET UP OFF YOUR BACKSIDE AND FIX IT, NINTENDO.



jariw said:

I think the bad quality thing is mainly a U.S. eShop issue. In Europe, we sometimes get to wait forever to get games like Ittle Dew and Shovel Knight, but on the other hand we don't get the really quick-developed budget stuff.



Airola said:

It's sad for Dahku and I kinda feel sorry for them, but then again I really can't understand the way they put the blame on others.

I'm quite sure they were talking about RCMADIAX. Anyone who names his game POKER DICE SOLITAIRE FUTURE is very much ok in my book
(too bad his other games aren't yet in Europe)

In my opinion one of the differences between Dahku and rcmadiax is that Dahku's games look like they tried to make their games not look cheap but failed, and rcmadiax's games don't try to be anything more than what they are. There isn't any "false pretence" found in his games. They are like some old PC Windows95 games on some shareware CD that are fun to try out for short bursts.

Today there are "too many" games that try to be aesthetically cute and "nintendo-like" but the cuteness just ends up being more tasteless than anything else. They try to create some sort of a mix between Nintendo-cute, Ubisoft's Rabbids and Angry Birds, and the end result is just very unappealing.

Well, Dahku is far away from being the worst offender in that style, and had the Dahku's games come to Europe I probably would've bought them too, as I've bought tons of other games I initially feel are very unappealing. I'm quite sure though that the initial feeling people get from looking at the pictures of Dahku's games is that they are cheap flash / iOS games, and as not everyone read reviews at all, they make their buying decision purely based on those initial feelings.

Now, rcmadiax's games might look cheap too, but they look cheap in a "non-pretentious" way, which I think helps keeping the appeal, if not positive, at least neutral instead of negative.



mike_intv said:


I can see why you would feel that way. I am just pointing out that the reason RCMADIAX is doing Spikey Walls is to point out the absurdity of it all. The other current games from the developer are quick/fun experiences. There is a bigger, more robust game planned (Super Robo Mouse) as well.

Ironically, this entire discussion is about a developer who fled the AppStore for the WiiU eShop — and whose first release for the eShop was a remake of an iOS game.



Yomerodes said:

ANd then I think on the legions of decent enough developers that got sucked dry with Wiiware bombs and nowadays struggle to pay the bills with anything that doesn't involve game programming.



vonseux said:

Too bad things didn't worked out for them. It was na honest try, but future devs should work harder on giving players a better presentation. Both games just didn't had na acceptable look to me



TTGlider said:

I like the way Dan Adleman put it, and that was that every game has an audience, even if that audience is the programmer's friends and family. I think that's a good attitude. Nevertheless, smaller games like Guacamelee, Steamworld Dig, Stealth Inc, Fez, etc, have set an extremely high bar for what a small team can do. I think many of the 'indie' games we see here on Nintendolife are more like 'hobbyist' games. For me and my money, the world has moved way past where I will pay even a couple dollars for a hobby project that's anything less than brilliant.



Henmii said:

A pity that they couldn't keep their head above water. But there is ios hate for a reason: Many times we saw ios games on a Nintendo-device AT A MUCH HIGHER PRICE! That's what annoys people! If a game is 99 cent on ios, it should cost 99 cent on a Nintendo device!

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