Nintendo thinks that “hobbyists” and “garage developers” are hurting the videogame industry.
In Nintendo president and CEO Satoru Iwata’s keynote at GDC 2011, he talked about the flood of smaller games hitting the market that he believes are leading the industry astray. Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime recently clarified that Nintendo has a lot of respect for the true independent developer, but has no desire to work with those making “garage” games.
“I would separate out the true independent developer vs. the hobbyist,” Fils-Aime told Gamasutra. “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 worries that the flood of low-priced, low-quality software on various services today will disparage the value of games in general. “When we talk about the value of software, it could be a great $1 piece of content or a $50 piece of content,” he added. “The point is: Does it maintain its value over time or is it such disposable content that the value quickly goes to zero?”
One could argue that the metric ton of shovelware on the Wii that tends to come in at around $20-$40 on average devalues gaming more than a crappy $1 iPhone game. I’d much rather play Try Not to Fart than Chicken Shoot. Still, in a fair business environment, it might be impossible to prevent these kinds of games from being released.
Microsoft and Apple have embraced the “garage developer” to some degree with Xbox Live Indie Games and the iOS App Store. While these services have a ton of games that nobody should spend even $1 on, they’ve also given so-called “hobbyists” the opportunity to become real developers and put out great products. Fils-Aime says that he loves when there’s a “game that’s found that captures people’s imagination” from a totally unknown studio, but evidently doesn’t believe it’s worthwhile to focus on this type of happening from a business point of view.