Nintendo failed with the Wii Shop. The Wii Shop was an indie developer’s nightmare with odd rules, strict guidelines, and antiquated hardware. This is changing with the new Wii U eShop. Nintendo is taking indie development seriously this generation and it’s becoming increasingly obvious. Jump on to the eShop at this moment and you’ll see a decent amount of indie developed games.
One of the most impressive games is easily Frozenbyte’s Trine 2. A beautiful fantasy platforming adventure, Trine 2 Director’s Cut takes advantage of the GamePad’s features while also showing the Wii U’s graphical capabilities with what is easily one of the most gorgeous games to ever grace a Nintendo console. Guys, the game is beautiful.
Today, Frozenbyte had some things to say about the Wii U eShop, offering insight in to Nintendo’s changes and plans for the future. Speaking with IGN, Frozenbyte marketing manager Mikael Havari had nothing but sweet words for for the eShop, even comparing it to extremely refined, competitive services such as Steam and Apple’s App Store. Simply put, Nintendo has put a lot of the power in the hands of the indie developer which dramatically improves the experience and ease of development.
“That’s what we love about the new eShop. We have the power to price our products as we please, with just some basic guidelines from the big guys. The step to this is purely from Nintendos’s side and they clearly see that [their] previous installments have not been up to par. We can set our own pricing and actually continuing on that by setting our own sales whenever we want. It is very close to what Apple and Steam are doing at the moment, and very indie friendly.”
The importance of freedom to indie developers just can not be understated. It’s paramount. Restrictions partly killed the Wii’s chances of being indie friendly before the developers ever even had a chance to adapt to the old hardware. Even the Xbox Live Arcade, which is considered the most indie friendly online store among the 3 consoles, has problems with not allowing indie developers to dictate their own pricing. The lack of flexibility has brought some complaints against not only XBLA but also the PSN. What’s more, both XBLA and PSN charge an unreasonable amount of money to the indie teams to update their own games - Nintendo’s new eShop does not.
The Wii’s biggest problem was simply the fact that the majority of Wii systems were not connected to the Internet. There was really no need. That alone is enough to turn away any indie team who needs a constant connection to be able to provide continuous service to their games. Frozenbyte’s Haveri concedes that point:
“Nintendo messed up the worst last time around. Now they really know that they have to make a huge improvement to get back into the game. What I have seen and heard so far is amazing and it’s definitely going in the right direction as far as small developers are concerned.”
For now Nintendo is on the right track. The 3DS has, for a while now, been a great place for indie developers. The 3DS eShop has quality, critically acclaimed indie titles. Now with the launch of the Wii U, Nintendo is implementing the success they’ve had with their mobile iteration of the eShop to their new home console. Coupled with their new approach to indie development, the Wii U eShop may be the new haven for indie development.
What indie games are you most looking forward to? What are your thoughts on the new eShop? Sound off in the comments below and follow me at thebarstow for updates on how incredible Trine 2 really is.