An anonymous developer claims nobody in Nintendo’s Wii U “development teams” have used PSN or Xbox Live.
If you ever wondered why Nintendo’s online infrastructure is nowhere near as robust as the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live, that’s because “nobody” in Nintendo’s development teams have used them. This was revealed in a detailed tell-all piece by Eurogamer, where an anonymous developer spills the beans on how Nintendo presented the Wii U initially to studios and what the process was like to develop a third-party title for the console.
The discussion started off well enough and covered off our experiences with the hardware and (slow) toolchain and then we steered them towards discussing when the online features might be available. We were told that the features, and the OS updates to support them, would be available before the hardware launch, but only just. There were apparently issues with setting up a large networking infrastructure to rival Sony and Microsoft that they hadn’t envisaged.
This was surprising to hear, as we would have thought that they had plenty of time to work on these features as it had been announced months before, so we probed a little deeper and asked how certain scenarios might work with the Mii friends and networking, all the time referencing how Xbox Live and PSN achieve the same thing. At some point in this conversation we were informed that it was no good referencing Live and PSN as nobody in their development teams used those systems (!) so could we provide more detailed explanations for them? My only thought after this call was that they were struggling – badly – with the networking side as it was far more complicated than they anticipated. They were trying to play catch-up with the rival systems, but without the years of experience to back it up.
It’s a rather revealing read where it also talks about the hardships in communicating with Nintendo’s Japanese headquarters, how he knew then that the Wii U would be under-powered, and even lists his reasons why most third-party games don’t see Wii U releases. Given it’s been a while since the Wii U’s conception and release, let’s hope Nintendo’s development teams have now started looking at what their competition does right. Otherwise, the next Nintendo console might see another third-party drought.
Is it surprising that Nintendo’s development teams aren’t familiar with PSN or Xbox Live? If you had to hazard a guess, which third-party studio is the anonymous dev from and at which publisher?