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Topic: Why are there more NOE indie devs on the Switch compared to NOA?

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Vivianeat

There seem to be a lot of European indie devs/games on the Switch compared to the Americas. Is it harder for American indie devs to get a dev kit for some reason? Are there more indie devs there than here in the US? Just something I noticed.

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Kermit1

@Vivianeat In the USA (and everywhere for that matter) dev kits are very pricey. That could be one reason.

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Vivianeat

@Kermit1 I don't think its the price of a kit that matters. I assume once u get 1, u can make an infinite amount of games to release. My theory is Euro Switch devs don't have to go through a quality check or pitch to get it, all they need is money to buy 1. Here in the US I guess are a lot more strict on American devs buying their kits. NOA probably makes indie devs audition.

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StuTwo

I don't know (nor even know if it's really true) but I would just note one thing - the population of Europe is significantly greater than the population of North America (about double the population if you aren't including Mexico in "North America").

Europe is also more segmented by language and culture than the US and Canada. In film and TV we tend to have a lot of smaller little productions segmented off and kind of "protected" by their language and national cultural status - some countries give a high priority to fostering local cultural distinctiveness and target grant funding for this purpose. Even within the UK you see that Scotland gets far more cultural funding per capita than equivalently populated areas of England. It's possible the same sort of effect is at play with gaming development.

There is also a longer established cultural difference in terms of games development going back to the 80's. The US market was dominated from very early on by Atari and then Nintendo consoles. That happened later in Europe where micro-computers dominated in the 80's. A lot of British magazines - even into the early 90's had pages of BASIC code that you were expected to type in to play a game that someone had made and games for computers like the ZX Spectrum were distributed on audio cassette. A "bedroom coder" in the US would have next to no chance of turning a small experimental game into a NES cartridge but their equivalent in Europe could easily program their own game and copy it onto cassette themselves and sell it - those games ultimately dominated the market here in the 80's and that still has somewhat of an influence today (even though for the past 25-30 years our gaming scene has been broadly similar to that of the US).

StuTwo

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Vivianeat

@StuTwo Interesting. Thanks for the insight! Another thing I noticed browsing the Switch eShop past few days is that a lot of the shovelware games are from NOE or European devs. This just leaves me thinking, if you're an indie developer living in NOE areas, you're likely to develop on the Switch?

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RR529

I'm almost sure there was an article published about this on the main site at one point (or a similar topic), though I can't find it as the search terms are too vague (indie, NOA, etc.).

I even remember that there was a comment in the comment section that theorized that NOA may be slightly more picky than NOE after the Wii U era where RCMADIAX flooded the eShop with absolute garbage.

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Matt_Barber

RCMADIAX was a North American developer who single-handedly made about 5% of the entire Wii U library, releasing 36 games in a very short span of time. He tried to get a game published on the Switch, failed and quit the industry. NOA's reputation for setting the bar higher largely rests on that single incident though.

I can't find a breakdown of current eShop content by country of origin, but here's one from 2018 that also goes over all the previous Nintendo consoles.

https://spritecell.com/bp1-nintendo-15000/

There doesn't seem to be a huge disparity between the number of European and North American games as of then at least. Still, the library is much larger now, so I'm not sure how relevant that'd be to the present state of it.

Matt_Barber

Rambler

@StuTwo
Bearing in mind that Scotland is an actual country ;-p (Greece has a population of ~10m), It would be interesting to see if the home programming scene of the 80s and the 90s demo scene has had an effect like that. The 80s were definitely a fertile time for experimental game development, especially with the distribution methods you have mentioned.

It's a bit like tape-only record labels, which morphed into CD-r labels. You can bypass all the huge printing and distribution costs, but still reach your audience.

Consoles, as a closed system with one method of distributing games, kind of minimise that indie spirit, but that's how you got the Nintendo Seal of Quality

So yeah, I've mainly paraphrased your post but I agree that spirit lives on, and, as a byproduct, has given rise to shovelwear
(Or was that the Codemasters series of "... Simulator" games?)

Rambler

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