The Nintendo Switch has been a runaway success, smashing sales records and bringing Nintendo back from the brink after the Wii U. Even so, the argument of AAA game releases vs. indies is still ongoing, with some saying that the Switch has too many indies and not enough AAA games to be considered competitive with the Xbox and PlayStation.
Speaking more about this matter, two Japanese Nintendo employees that work with indies—Yusuke Soejima and Park Masashi—recently sat down with Entertainment Station to talk about Indies. Here’s what Masashi had to say about the distinction between indies and AAA games, courtesy of a ResetEra translator:
On Nintendo platforms, we don’t really differentiate between AAA titles from established firms and indie games. In actuality, they’re lined up as equals in the Nintendo eShop. We don’t specially promote indie games just because they are indie games, and conversely we don’t prioritize them below AAA titles either.
Speaking about the future of indie games on Nintendo platforms, the pair had this to say:
Soejima: First of all, we just want to get developers on board with developing for our platform when they decide what to develop games for. It’s not really a ‘goal’ per se, but before the Switch really got going, when we would see trailers or posters at events, the platforms that would always be shown at the end were almost always other companies’ machines. There was really nowhere where you would see the 3DS or Wii U supported… It was absolutely a situation where we weren’t even seen as a practical option. It was here that we thought we’d like to have the Switch’s logo up there with the other companies’.
Park: Fortunately, Nintendo Switch has seen international success, and I think the opportunities for us to be a viable platform have increased. Going forward, we’d like to maintain our momentum, and become a platform developers make content for, from the beginning of development and as a matter of course, alongside the others.
Park: Looking at more long-term ideas, it’s not something just the two of us can do on our own, but there’s a cycle we would like to see the entire industry work to support, of indie developers being able to easily produce titles, get a real ROI from them, and then easily move on to the next title, with other (new) developers following their example to enter the industry.
Soejima: If a given title sells really well, then it can be recognised as its own IP, and it would be great if such an IP can go on to last in the industry and be accepted by consumers. The entire game industry, not just Nintendo, needs to think about how to increase the number of titles born from the indie game scene. Lastly, I just want to say that while indie games tend to be associated with the digital world, we’ve learned that as a ‘community’, it is actually incredibly analogue. It’s a scene that emphasises connections between people, and that’s something we want to place importance on as well.
What do you think? Are indies becoming more important than AAA releases? Do you agree with Nintendo’s stance on the matter? Share your thoughts in the comments below.