Nintendo Doesn't Want 'Garage Developers'

Sharpening a divide between the version of the games industry they like and the version in which they don't want to participate, Nintendo has stated that it doesn't want to work with "garage" developers.

The very people responsible for many of the good and many more of the godawful games on the iPhone and other amateur-friendly gaming platforms are not people Nintendo wants to work with to create and sell video games.

"I would separate out the true independent developer vs the hobbyist," Nintendo of America president Fils-Aime told Gamasutra's Chris Morris during a recently published interview. "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."

Fils-Aime's comments were an intentional echo of the remarks made by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata during his keynote address at the Game Developer's Conference earlier this month (a keynote against which and literally across the street from which Apple's Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad 2). In his address to developers, Iwata avoided mentioning Apple but lamented the influence of companies that make mobile platforms that run games but aren't built around games, saying "the value of video game software does not matter to them." He championed the craftsmanship of dedicated developers and lamented the supposed devaluing effect of free and one-dollar games.

To some developers in Iwata's audience, Nintendo's position was the needed counterattack to an Apple model that prices games so low that it's hard to make a profit, let alone a living, off of selling them. To others, it was a sign that Nintendo is afraid of Apple's encroachment on portable gaming that's long been dominated with Nintendo Game Boys and DSes.

It's not clear where the line does divide between Fils-Aime's hobbyists and indies, though in the Gamasutra piece he suggested there's a difference between people who make games for their day jobs and those who do them on the side. Is Nintendo really that dismissive of those people who have to clock in at something other than game-making? That's hard to say, but Iwata himself has seemed to be awfully fond of developers who bootstrapped themselves to greatness.

Surely, Nintendo doesn't want to leave game-making to the pros and to their fans?

If you're in a garage, though, go make your game for the iPhone. Or Windows Phone 7. Or Xbox Live Indie Games. Or the PC. Or Android. Leave Nintendo alone.


    Fantastic double standards today. Nintendo doesn't want the 'low value' crap that garage developers make, but they'll more than happily take mountains of the 'low value' crap big publishers make.

      Have to agree, the Wii and DS have the highest ratio of shovelware to good games than any other platform. That isn't including the iPhone, as I don't have one, but wouldn't be surprised if Nintendo still had more shovelware than it.

      If people are making enough money of these $1 games to get by, and they must be or they wouldn't be making them, then well done to them. If you're worried about the low cost making more expensive games seem off-putting, then make those games worth the money, otherwise these 'garage developers' will continue to put you to shame.

    This is at least the third article in two weeks about Nintendo crying about iOS gaming.
    Perhaps they think saying 'Those games are shit, buy our games' enough times people will listen.

    I'm sick to death of hearing this argument by Nintendo that $1 and free games "devalues" the industry. You can walk into and book or movie store and pick out a bargain bin special, and has that stopped the development of the book or movie industry? If a new release game is really worth the current rrp then surely you have nothing to worry about...or are they worried we will realise we are getting rorted paying $60 for a new copy of 'Ninterats'?

    In theory I see a relatively good point, in practice... what Snacuum said, their argument doesn't in the least line up with their actions.

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