Nintendo: Trying to Change Image of Being Closed Off
Talks about initiatives with Unity and reaching out to developers.
For all its innovation, Nintendo hasn’t really had the best rapport with third party developers and publishers. This can be seen in the lackluster sales of the Wii U and utter lack of third party titles for the future. But it seems aware of the same and is trying to change that approach according to Dan Adelman and Damon Baker.
Speaking to GameSpot, Adelman responded to the company being compared to “Willy Wonka’s factory” and stated that, “I think that’s something we’re guilty of rather than something we want to boast about. And that’s something that we’re actually trying to change. We kind of historically have presented ourselves as very–what’s the right word–monolithic is probably not the vibe I’m going for. But it’s a very uniform company. Like ‘this is the company’s stance.’
“We have Mr. Iwata [and] Mr. Miyamoto explaining the company’s philosophy on issues. And I think more and more we’re realizing we need to make sure that everyone understands that there are actual people who work at Nintendo and we’re accessible and we can be reached and contacted. So I think we’re trying to do a better job at that outreach and breaking down this idea that there’s something behind those locked gates and no one can see what it is.”
Baker responded as to whether this creates challenges for discussions with other developers. “One thing that we’re addressing right now is expectations. Similar to what Dan was saying before, it’s a matter of doing a bit more education on our part of what those guidelines are and how it’s easier than ever before to be making games for Nintendo platforms.
“And just giving as much visibility to those initiatives as possible. So that, to me, is a barrier because I think some developers look at Nintendo and there is this iron gate in order to get content through and we just want people to know…that it’s really, we’re trying to make it as easy as possible and it’s easier than ever before to bring that content over.”
As for whether its efforts have been paying off, Adelman remarked that, “Developers seem to be overwhelmingly positive. Some of the major changes that we’ve made actually still haven’t been well communicated yet. We’ve put the message out there and I think we have to keep hammering home the message because we need to make sure that people hear about it.
“We used to have a lot of barriers on the way to releasing games on our platforms. One example would be, we used to require that developers work out of an office that’s separate from their home, and that was a big barrier for a lot of indie developers. And we got rid of that. And still, I talk to developers today who will say, “Yeah, I’d love to make a game for a Nintendo platform, but I work at home.” So I have to say “Actually, about six months ago, maybe it was nine months ago, we announced that we changed that policy.
“Or Unity is another good example. We did a deal with Unity where you don’t have to pay any platform fees or pay for the tools. And for people who haven’t heard of that, most people will go in under the assumption that in order to release their Unity game on console, you have to pay usually I think it’s tens of thousands of dollars per platform, and when I tell them ‘No, we’ve actually covered that for you’ they’re like ‘Oh, well, great.’
“Or there’s this expectation that dev kits are a lot more expensive than they are. In reality, they’re about the cost of a decent PC. So people are surprised at that. So I think as much as…we’ve already made all these announcements and people are aware of it, there’s still a lot more work that we need to do to make sure that everyone’s aware of how we operate.”
The question is: Will this help turn around Nintendo’s fortunes with the Wii U? The next few months will be the best indicator.