Nintendo: We don't want garage developers

Nintendo: We don't want garage developers

By Rob Crossley

March 18th 2011 at 9:55AM

Some indies are more equal than others, says Reggie Fils-Aime

3DS and Wii platform holder Nintendo has said it will embrace the independent developer, but “draws the line” with less-established garage outfits.

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said he would “separate out the true independent developer versus the hobbyist".

“We are absolutely reaching out to the independent developer,” he said in an interview with Gamasutra.

“Where we've drawn the line is we are not looking to do business today with the garage developer. In our view, that’s not a business we want to pursue.”

The term ‘garage developer’ is ambiguous, but Fils-Aime appeared to characterize one as a games creator who holds down other jobs.

The issue, he said, is value of content.

Echoing Nintendo President Satoru Iwata at a recent speech to the industry, Fils-Aime said developers are heightening risk by delivering low-priced and free software.

Gamasutra paraphrased him as saying this tactic is subverting the $50 value of games in the consumer conscience.

“When we talk about the value of software, it could be a great $1 piece of content or a $50 piece of content," he said.

“The point is, does it maintain its value over time or is it such disposable content that the value quickly goes to zero?

“We want consumers to see value in the software, whatever that appropriate value is. And we want to see that value maintained over time."

Earlier in March, Mr Iwata delivered an extraordinary speech that carried a warning to the growing mobile game developer fellowship.

He said that “game development is downing”, with a mass off content being pushed to mobile formats at low prices. It was an unequivocal attack on Apple and Google’s booming smartphone platforms, though Fils-Aime disagreed.

Iwata's standout GDC speech has conjured a number of interpretations. Industry veteran Phil Harrison said he disagreed with Iwata’s view that the social games model will go away – despite Iwata not making such a claim.