'The eShop has restored our faith in the potential of downloadable console games', says Frozenbyte's Joel Kinnunen
Indie developers have expressed their delight at the lack of restrictions and barriers to releasing content and patches on the Wii U eShop.
Frozenbyte VP Joel Kinnunen told Develop that devs could currently update their titles for free, and was combined with a relatively quick and easy certification process, similar to that of PC games.
He also said that certification was much faster than on Xbox 360 and PS3, which have had well-documented issues relating to lengthy approval processes and expensive update costs.
“There's still a certification process in most cases but it's much faster than on the other consoles, and the financial burden is basically non-existent,” said Kinnunen.
“At the moment it seems like it's combining the best of both worlds - the fast and free nature of PC updates, and the "it works like you expect and won't break your system' certification requirement of console updates. We could probably work with no certification at all, but it's easy to understand the need for it in the larger scale, and in that sense the eShop is a great combination.”
He added that Nintendo was also seemingly unconcerned with exclusivity rights to the eShop, which meant Frozenbyte was able to self-publish Trine 2 on the eShop, and said he would like to see more of this from other platform holders.
“Nintendo has been great to work with, so right now the eShop feels very accessible,” he said.
“Nintendo allows us to self-publish, which is a big thing and very important. We've also been relieved that Nintendo isn't that concerned about the ‘competitors’, they haven't given us any demands when it comes to other platforms, and that's the kind of attitude the industry could use a lot more of.”
Manfred Linzner of Nano Assault Neo developer Shin’en also praised the accessibility offered to developers on Wii U, stating his team was able to create a game for the platform within seven months with just a five-man team, even despite the console's unique hardware.
“We have gone from zero to our first Wii U eShop game in around seven months,” he said.
“Our game 'Nano Assault Neo' is a graphical and gameplay showcase title for the Wii U and gives a good idea what is possible on the hardware. It offers for instance TV to GamePad Play, online rankings, live camera streaming and a two player mode.
“All this stuff was only possible because the development hardware and software was very accessible from the start. All of this was only done with a five person team.”
Kinnunen stated that while the Wii U eShop wasn’t perfect, admitting some aspects of the certification process were a bit too complex currently, the store had restored Frozenbyte’s faith in the potential of downloadable games.
"The whole development has been a lot more positive than the aggravating process we've gone through on XBLA and PSN,” he said.
"In a way, the eShop has restored our faith in the potential of console downloadable games. We'll see how it goes in the next year.”
For more developer reaction on the Wii U and its accessibility for developers, you can read our full feature on the matter here.