Since Nintendo has loosened the restrictions on becoming an indie developer, we’ve seen a flood of people interesting in bringing their games to the console. This has worked wonders for Sony in reviving the PS Vita and the PS3/PS4 continue that trend. It’s not surprising to see Nintendo embracing indie games so heavily, but this just might be the first time Nintendo’s success has depended on indie support.
GamesBeat spoke with Nintendo’s senior manager of licensing marketing to discuss why Nintendo has focused so much on indie games and what that means for those developing them and for those purchasing them. Perhaps the most interesting reveal in the interview is that Baker is working hard to try and convince Nintendo that showcasing indie titles at major events like E3 is not only a benefit, but means more long-term exposure for the console with a steady stream of games being available instead of a few releases every few months.
I have to convince the powers that be about all of the great content and why we need to amplify those messages and put them in the same light with Mario. I think it is safe to say that E3 this year for Nintendo there is going to be every emphasis on Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8.
With the focus on allowing anyone and everyone to develop for the platform, many consumers have expressed concern that quality for the Nintendo eShop could drop. Baker addressed this as well, stating that Nintendo makes sure games are released without any game-breaking bugs, or weird left-over advertising monetization schemes from mobile products.
Yeah, it’s still kind of a gray area and that’s why it is better if there are things these developers might think is questionable … it’s better to just talk to us about it up front and see if there is going to be an issue or not, but for the most part we’re accepting absolutely anything and everything. The quality assurance all comes down to whether there are game-breaking bugs or if there are things busting our system, for the most part.
Beyond that, Baker says the biggest push for the indie gaming scene to arrive on Nintendo consoles has come from inside the licensing department itself, rather than Nintendo as a whole.
There is so much attention toward Nintendo’s first-party products and what they’re doing with Mario or Zelda or Donkey Kong … but we [the licensing department] have always been fighting since the very beginning to try to push third-party content and look for integration opportunities. …And on the developer’s side, you know, we’ve been supporting indie content for a really long time. It’s just … we haven’t shouted it from the mountaintop.
If you’re interested in reading the entire interview, you can find it here.