At GDC this year, Nintendo’s global president Satoru Iwata caused a bit of controversy after he made some comments in regards to indie developers. He was believed to have said that the increase of both mobile and social media games have decreased the value of games as a whole, and that the creators of these games would wind up discouraging the use of high-value software.
This certainly didn’t win Iwata any fans amongst independent developers, so Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime decided to take some time to clarify Iwata’s remarks.
He explained that Iwata and Nintendo didn’t want to discourage independent developers from doing what they’ve decided to do. It was that they were trying to direct those comments at what were called “garage developers,” or essentially hobbyists.
Fils-Aime explained that Nintendo does want to reach out to true indie developers who intend to pursue a full careers in game development, instead of those who just make a game because they felt like it one day. He compared the situation to the music industry, between those who create a band with the purpose of making it big and going on world tours and such, and those who just get together on weekends in a garage to play music.
“I would separate out the true independent developer vs. the hobbyist. We are absolutely reaching out to the independent developer.”
“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.”
After clarifying that Iwata’s comments were not directed at any one company in particular, he further explained Nintendo’s concern with the declining value of games. Because there are so many cheap (or free) games on the market right now, Nintendo believes that many gamers are starting to forget the value of games as a whole. He wants to move away from that, to remind gamers how valuable a game can be, and to have games keep that value over time.
“When we talk about the value of software, it could be a great $1 piece of content or a $50 piece of content. 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.”
He then began talking about the 3DS, saying that Nintendo is determined for the system to not suffer the constant sell-outs that the Wii did, and promised to meet the demands of every consumer once the system launched. He also revealed that the system will have 3D trailers for upcoming movies, as well as 3D music videos and comedy clips, via a channel that will launch in May of this year. He was unsure of the frequency of the updates, but explained that there were daily updates in Japan. It should be noted that these comments were made before the earthquake, so whether or not this is still happening is unknown.
Finally, Fils-Aime dismissed the rumors that a Wii 2 is on its way sometime soon. He said that the Wii still has a long shelf life ahead of it, and hinted at the possibility of an upcoming price drop.
What are your thoughts on this? Is Nintendo right to worry about the overabundance of games made by “garage developers”?