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3DS

Reggie Fils-Aime Explains the Garage Developer Once More

by Pedro Hernandez - March 29, 2011, 11:08 pm PDT
Total comments: 32 Source: (Gamasutra), http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/33733/Nintendo_...

Reggie Fils-Aime explains once more the difference between indie and garage developers.

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime believes that the difference between a garage developer and an independent developer is talent and experience.

In an interview with Joystiq at the launch of the 3DS last Sunday, Fils-Aime elaborated on his comments regarding the independent developer and the difference between them and the garage developer. "We've been clear that we want to work with independent developers who understand this business, who have experience in this business,". Fils-Aime uses 2D Boy, the creators of World of Goo, and Gaijin Games, the developers of the BIT.TRIP series, as examples of the kind of content they want to get from independent developers. "These are people who spent time working with larger publishers and larger developers, but had that idea in the back of their head that they needed to bring to life ... and so that's the type of entity that we want to work with." 

He further elaborated to Joystiq that the difference between an independent developer and a garage developer was experience in the industry and game development. "These are talented developers. That's different from the person who envisions themselves as a developer, but actually hasn't necessarily created anything, who doesn't necessarily understand what it takes in this business to create compelling content. That's where we draw the line."

He concludes his statement on the matter between indie and garage developers that "I'll tell you, if someone calls us tomorrow who has no experience in the gaming industry, but has a passion and has a great idea, our perspective would be, 'Great, but get some experience. Understand your craft, and then come back to us,'" .

In an interview with Gamasutra, Nintendo's Director of PR Marc Franklin explained that Nintendo is still interesting in finding innovative content for their systems. "Nintendo always appreciates good quality content regardless of whether that's coming from an indie developer or a more established publisher."

"For example, we've worked with 2D Boy, the people behind World of Goo for WiiWare," he said. "This is a group of guys who don't even have an office. So we embrace that kind of independent spirit and it's ultimately the most innovative content that will rise to the top."

Talkback

broodwarsMarch 29, 2011

I really don't understand how this "clarification" makes Nintendo's stance seem any better.  Wanting "experienced developers" is fine, but when those developers have "experience" making total crap on WiiWare, it doesn't make Nintendo's gated community worldview look any better.  Everyone who enters the industry starts out with little experience, and it would be in Nintendo's best interest to encourage the growth and development of these newcomers to the industry by working with them to create new content for the Nintendo download service.  It's not like WiiWare/DSiWare is so overflowing with quality content that Nintendo is in a moral position to turn people away who might have great ideas.  There's more to gain with trying to foster great new Nintendo-exclusive games from these newcomers than turning them away and watching them take their ideas to services where they make money for other companies.  Sure, services like the Indie section of XBLA and the App Store are overflowing with crap and cheap cash-ins, but it gives young talent experience and sometimes you get a genuinely good product.  Give those people a foot in the door, Nintendo, and you could very well be developing future Nintendo employees and software development partners.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterMarch 29, 2011

I agree, broodwars. This is Nintendo yet again sending mixed signals.


It's true that in order to grow as a developer, companies need experience in the field. But what happens when companies deny indie developments the rights to experience? Not everyone can be as lucky as 2D Boy and Gaijin Games and have tons of experience and an office to work with, and there are many talented developers that deserve the chance to learn and grow.


It's understandable why Nintendo wants to trim down the fat so to speak on bad indie games, but outright blocking them isn't helping either. I think what Nintendo should do is set up a section of the eShop dedicated to these smaller indie games, much like XBLA does. And if a game happens to be good and receives great praise from fans and the media Nintendo can highlight them and maybe even offer them the chance to work on a game.


Again, this is all mixed signals. They realize that with each passing day the games that are getting the most attention are from small developers. But they also want to keep quality content so they don't quite know how to handle this. I think this is an intimidated Nintendo, one facing a strong challenge in an area they don't quite understand yet.

EnnerMarch 29, 2011

No fair bringing in poor WiiWare in to this! Nintendo needs money from publishers and developers paying for development kits and licensing fees. They can't turn down more money.

Kidding aside, I don't think it's a moral position as it is a business position.
Also, Nintendo seems to be very, very picky when it comes to picking up a fledgling project under its wings. I last example I can think of is Fluidity and that worked out well. Nintendo rarely does any favors for big third party publishers and developers, so it is to be expected that support worsens as you go down the pecking order.


EDIT:
I think this is a sending a clear signal that Nintendo doesn't want to deal with amateur/hobbyist developers that don't even have an office address.
A regrettable position for Nintendo to have. At least such developers always have the PC to demo their wares.


EDIT, EDIT: Oh, didn't know 2D Boy was/are in such a "no office" situation. Actually, I did know since I watched some behind-the-scenes stuff from Game Trailers. D'OH!


EDIT, EDIT, EDIT:

Quote from: NWR_pap64

...
I think what Nintendo should do is set up a section of the eShop dedicated to these smaller indie games, much like XBLA does. And if a game happens to be good and receives great praise from fans and the media Nintendo can highlight them and maybe even offer them the chance to work on a game.

Again, this is all mixed signals. They realize that with each passing day the games that are getting the most attention are from small developers. But they also want to keep quality content so they don't quite know how to handle this. I think this is an intimidated Nintendo, one facing a strong challenge in an area they don't quite understand yet.

I'm thinking Nintendo understand it to their own ends in that they don't want small games and software that go for a buck a pop. They want games that meet some sort of minimum level of content that they can charge $3-5+ for. Then again, if that's the message Nintendo wants to send, than they shouldn't let stuff like a DSiWare flashlight out.


Perhaps Nintendo really don't know what the hell to do with small, low-priced games. I'm sure that they are stubborn to embrace them. (If Iwata's GDC 2011 keynote of his industry concerns is any indication.)

Retro DeckadesMarch 30, 2011

Thank goodness for developers like Nicalis who pay more attention to quality rather than experience. Apparently Nintendo doesn't.

KDR_11kMarch 30, 2011

Check XBox Live Indie Games. That's what Nintendo is trying to avoid.

broodwarsMarch 30, 2011

Quote from: KDR_11k

Check XBox Live Indie Games. That's what Nintendo is trying to avoid.

Sorry, I must have overlooked all the weeks where Giant Bomb had podcast comedy segments where they laughed at the list of the week's latest XBox Live Indie Games.  ;)

Ian SaneMarch 30, 2011

How can you be an indie developer if you already have experience with larger publishers and developers?  If some musicians left their major label band and all formed a new band that wouldn't be an "indie" band in the traditional sense.  If you have those qualifications then you've got the connections to get publishers to pay attention to you.  What Reggie means by an "indie" dev is realistically a major dev that bypasses the need for a publisher.

When I think of an indie dev I'm thinking of DIY team that is trying to break in.  Nintendo is not offering a way to get your foot in the door.

I've written 4-5 games for the TI-82 calculator and sold one of them to my friends for a dollar a pop. Does that make me experienced enough for Reggie?

BlackNMild2k1March 30, 2011

Or maybe he means some people that have worked for major publishers on games that have actually shipped and have now split off for various reasons (i.e. layoff & studio closings) and formed their own studios working independently of funding from a major publisher.

He just doesn't want to waste time on people that have a twinkle in their eye and idea but have no idea how much work it really is to see a game from concept to completion.
How many garage devs do you think are out there and have started several game concepts and then never seen a single one through to release? how many times do you think these devs would call the support line for the dev kits asking for help and tips on coding and getting the most out of the hardware only to never see a title finished therefore wasting Nintendo's precious time and resources.

They ask that you have a registered business with actual office space, which states that you are taking this seriously.
They also ask that you have some experience in the field, which means that you not only know how to make a game, but actually see it through to release.
I don't really think it's too much for Nintendo to be sure that they don't have 20 million would-be devs wasting too much of their time and resources that could be spent catering to the needs of those with actual projects that have a higher likleyhood of actually seeing release. I don't think it's to much for Nintendo to make sure that the people they are spending time and resources on are actual worth the time and resources that are being spent. This is Nintendo's business and they take it seriously, so whats the harm in making sure the company they keep takes it just as seriously?

This makes it sound like Nintendo's taking Apple's old App Store approach, giving vague and almost contradictory terms and then doing whatever it feels like doing in any given scenario.

BlackNMild2k1March 30, 2011

It's also Reggie talking so you have to take some of it with spoonfuls of sugar and the rest with a few grains of salt.

StogiMarch 30, 2011

I don't agree with this at all. It is extremely hypocritical to what Iwata said when he started Wiiware.

I think Nintendo needs to reaccess their values and either develop a new branch of Nintendo that solely deals with small time developers, and thus gives them the credibility to go on, or simply drop their philosophy for a new one.

If I were Nintendo, I would use this opportunity to find the needles in the haystack and give those developers more outstanding positions inside Nintendo.

KDR_11kMarch 30, 2011

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: KDR_11k

Check XBox Live Indie Games. That's what Nintendo is trying to avoid.

Sorry, I must have overlooked all the weeks where Giant Bomb had podcast comedy segments where they laughed at the list of the week's latest XBox Live Indie Games.  ;)

Just because they don't come with a press release. Seriously, look through this list.

EnnerMarch 30, 2011

Quote from: The

I don't agree with this at all. It is extremely hypocritical to what Iwata said when he started Wiiware.

I think Nintendo needs to reaccess their values and either develop a new branch of Nintendo that solely deals with small time developers, and thus gives them the credibility to go on, or simply drop their philosophy for a new one.

If I were Nintendo, I would use this opportunity to find the needles in the haystack and give those developers more outstanding positions inside Nintendo.

It would be nice if you can point me to what Iwata said. All I can find at the moment is:

Quote from: http://www.qj.net/qjnet/wii/satoru-iwata-interview-on-2007-wiiware-and-hardcore-wii-titles.html]

And:

Quote from: http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/news/14591]

How I interpret the words above is that WiiWare is an avenue for smaller games from big developers and small developers.
I think Reggie is saying that Nintendo doesn't want to deal with one person teams or small groups that only have micro-sized prototypes banged out in a few weeks or months and haven't made anything that comes close to resemble a complete game.
Considering the above, ABA Games (http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~cs8k-cyu/index_e.html) or Yosshin (http://www2.tky.3web.ne.jp/~yosshin/my_works/download.html) might not get a time and date from Nintendo.


EDIT: Actually, ABA Game sort of got a time and date when TUMIKI Fighters got picked up and was expanded in to Blast Works: Build, Trade, Destroy.

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: KDR_11k

Check XBox Live Indie Games. That's what Nintendo is trying to avoid.

Sorry, I must have overlooked all the weeks where Giant Bomb had podcast comedy segments where they laughed at the list of the week's latest XBox Live Indie Games.  ;)

If Live Indie games sent out a weekly press release, maybe they would. And then after a few weeks the laughs will degrade to groans.

broodwarsMarch 30, 2011

Quote from: http://www.qj.net/qjnet/wii/satoru-iwata-interview-on-2007-wiiware-and-hardcore-wii-titles.html]

In retrospect, this quote is hilarious considering the extremely inflexible nature of WiiWare pricing, where Nintendo tells developers how much they can charge for a given product and then tells them they will so no profit from that product until they sell a certain amount.

StogiMarch 30, 2011

I can't find it at the moment, but I'm pretty sure it was during a press conference way back when before the Wii released.

If I remember it correctly, paraphrased "We want small developers with that big idea to have an avenue in which they can avoid the pressures and procedures of becoming published through conventional means."

But that's not important. My opinion of it being hypocritical is moot. And even the fact that this may not be philosophically different from what they've said is moot. My point is Nintendo has an opportunity to build an inspiring infrastructure where they can weed out the shit from the gold. This division could become huge if only Nintendo is willing to put forth the effort into creating and sustaining it.

BlackNMild2k1March 30, 2011

A channel through which garage and indie devs can submit content (partially completed projects at minimum) which will be weeded through by Nintendo to see who is eligible to receive either funding or applications towards dev kit approvals?

That sounds like a lot of garbage for Nintendo to filter through to maybe find a game or 3 or a studio or 2 capable of actually making something truly unique and amazing enough to make some money. Approval process would be at best maybe a year just from the sheer volume of submissions that they would have to sift through. Sounds like a bunch of limited resources that could be put to better use to me. Like localizing games already made, making more games for all audiences & courting more 3rd parties so that the current drought of games worth my attention doesn't continue.

StogiMarch 30, 2011

Ehh maybe your right. They can take their approach of only dealing with the best of the rest, but I think it might bite them in the ass sooner or later.

Ian SaneMarch 30, 2011

I actually really don't care if Nintendo dedicates any effort to promoting indie games.  But I don't like them being hypocrites either.  You can't claim to support indie games and then make your policies so restrictive that true indie devs are excluded.

Since Nintendo has not supported WiiWare very much I'm not sure exactly what their purpose for it was.  From a non-Nintendo perspective it makes sense.  Having an online store for download-only titles became standard this gen and that is what WiiWare is.  But I find it hard to imagine Nintendo offering something like this when they themselves don't care about it.  Throwing in a feature they don't care about entirely because it's the expected industry standard?  That is like the exact opposite of everything else involving the Wii.

If Nintendo just wants WiiWare to be the Wii's online store for downloadable titles then that's fine.  Just don't act like you're all into indie games when you're not or that you want to uphold certain standards of quality when you're not.

Chozo GhostMarch 30, 2011

Nintendo should hire the small time developers who have talent and then create new development studios with these developers which would be put to work alleviating the perpetual game drought on Nintendo consoles. This would be beneficial to Nintendo, to consumers, and of course to the small time developers who would have a great job. So it would be a win for everyone.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorMarch 30, 2011

http://www.mcvuk.com/features/903/The-success-of-Angry-Birds

Quote:

But the biggest attack came from gaming’s most cherished name – Nintendo. President Satoru Iwata took the keynote stage during March’s GDC to say the smartphone business model and its cheap apps were destroying the value of games. Iconoclastic shots fired by a threatened gaming giant.

“It’s interesting to see people like Nintendo saying smartphones are destroying the games industry,” Vesterbacka mulls. “Of course, if I was trying to sell a $49 pieces of plastic to people then yes, I’d be worried too. But I think it’s a good sign that people are concerned – because from my point of view we’re doing something right.”

broodwarsMarch 30, 2011

Quote from: UncleBob

http://www.mcvuk.com/features/903/The-success-of-Angry-Birds

Quote:

But the biggest attack came from gaming’s most cherished name – Nintendo. President Satoru Iwata took the keynote stage during March’s GDC to say the smartphone business model and its cheap apps were destroying the value of games. Iconoclastic shots fired by a threatened gaming giant.

“It’s interesting to see people like Nintendo saying smartphones are destroying the games industry,” Vesterbacka mulls. “Of course, if I was trying to sell a $49 pieces of plastic to people then yes, I’d be worried too. But I think it’s a good sign that people are concerned – because from my point of view we’re doing something right.”

You know, I don't entirely disagree with Vesterbacka, but he really shouldn't be bragging about "taking it to the MAN" and all that until he's made more than 1 successful game.

StogiMarch 30, 2011

Or a billion dollars.

ThePermMarch 30, 2011

its not in the interest of large companies to have smaller developers compete with them for nothing.

KDR_11kMarch 31, 2011

Quote from: UncleBob

http://www.mcvuk.com/features/903/The-success-of-Angry-Birds

Quote:

But the biggest attack came from gaming’s most cherished name – Nintendo. President Satoru Iwata took the keynote stage during March’s GDC to say the smartphone business model and its cheap apps were destroying the value of games. Iconoclastic shots fired by a threatened gaming giant.

“It’s interesting to see people like Nintendo saying smartphones are destroying the games industry,” Vesterbacka mulls. “Of course, if I was trying to sell a $49 pieces of plastic to people then yes, I’d be worried too. But I think it’s a good sign that people are concerned – because from my point of view we’re doing something right.”

I don't know the sales of Angry Birds but I think Cut the Rope just bragged about 10 million sales. Nintendo's biggest hits (Mario Kart, NSMB, etc) sell twice that at 50$ a piece. And there aren't many games on the app store that sell 10 million, probably less than there are in console retail.

BlackNMild2k1March 31, 2011

Are they really "selling" 10 Million or just getting downloaded 10 million times?

And there is a HUGE difference between "selling" 10 million that include millions of free copies and $0.99 add ons (which you could also probably find for $0.99) for holiday editions vs really selling 10million+ copies at retail for $50 each.

ShyGuyMarch 31, 2011

If this keeps up we will have a market that only supports AAA Blockbusters and Five minute casual games. Bye bye games like No More Heroes. Bye bye games like De Blob.

KDR_11kMarch 31, 2011

That's what Cliffy B wants you to believe. Fact is that making a console game on a reduced budget allows you to profit even from low sales. Not everybody has to blow 50 million on a game. People just "avoid risks" by trying to compete in the most expensive genre (setpiece-driven action game) against heavily entrenched incumbents. Meanwhile many cheaper genres are completely ignored. Publishers just seem to assume that making something expensive is the only way to go while the whole Wii concept has proven that idea wrong.

I was browsing WarioWorld, and came across the real reason for the office requirement:

Quote:

We require that companies are working from a secure business location. A secure business location has security systems for the building. The office space is secured from other offices in the same building. The office space is not shared with any other company. Sub-leases will need to be reviewed. The office space is not located within a personal residence.

They just don't want their hardware getting stolen.

The more relevant point is this:

Quote:

Nintendo looks for companies that are established game developers, or individuals with game industry experience. Authorization will be based upon your relevant game industry experience.

EnnerApril 15, 2011

Understandable that they don't want their SDKs stolen. Getting one would probably be a master key to a system.

CericApril 15, 2011

I'll finish reading all comments at a PC but you have to see Nintendo's position and realize that's a good long term stance.  If you went to Nintendo with a PC concept demo, a team, and a plan that would probably get you considered.  Does Sony have much of an Indie scene I'll bet their stance is the same.  For better or worse MS has always been pretty open on who they let develop for their platforms.

Quote from: Enner

Understandable that they don't want their SDKs stolen. Getting one would probably be a master key to a system.

Devs don't get the master encryption key -- their hardware is different from retail hardware. They have to send their game to Nintendo first, who encrypts it for retail.

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