Chris Satchell of Microsoft has found Nintendo’s WiiWare service “confusing”.
When Nintendo’s original games download service WiiWare was released, Nintendo challenged Microsoft and its XNA program for the adoration of indie developers looking for help publishing small titles to wide audiences.
Microsoft’s game development group general manager Chris Satchell says that, even if this is Nintendo’s intention, it isn’t achieving it.
“I’ve been a little confused by WiiWare… The more I look at it, the more I’m confused, because it sort of doesn’t really look like something for independents,” he remarked at the GameHorizon conference. “At best it’s what we would call a registered developer programme.”
He expounded on the concept of the WiiWare as a developer program rather than independent games house.
“It’s really a way for you to get hold of dev kits and the normal development environment when you’re not signed to a big publisher. Which is very different than what we’re doing with XNA, which is you can just go and download the tools and we’re going to give you a distribution [platform] and the community will manage it,” said Satchell.
Satchell insists that at Microsoft, “We’re going to completely enable you, versus ‘well, if you kind of work with us we can possibly kind of, back door or grandfather you into some kind of developer programme which is a lot like our professional developer programme’.”
One small studio, Xiotex, seems to agree with him. After being rejected by Nintendo, the developer ranted on its site against the WiiWare program:
A couple of months ago I was invited to the WiiWare summit in London. It was a great event and as a small developer I was greatly inspired from the talk given by Takao Yamane who is head of Nintendo Europe. I can’t give too many details because of NDA but the gist of the talk was how great WiiWare was and how it was great for the small developer and that we can make games that don’t require big businesses and it was a fantastic opportunity. I fell for that and ironically some months before had put in a registration request form with Nintendo. Today I got the response:
We have completed our evaluation of your application and are unable to offer your company Authorized Developer status at the present time. In evaluating developers, Nintendo looks for relevant game development experience.
So, not as good an opportunity as Takao Yamane claimed then – good to know. Best bit is – when I made the application I was already working as a contractor on a Wii title and before that I had worked on GameCube titles – apparently that doesn’t count as relevant experience. Perhaps they only want people who have never worked on Nintendo hardware.