Things are changing at Nintendo. It’s been fairly quiet 2016, minus the gaming phenomenon that has taken over our lives, that is Pokemon Go. Moves behind-the-scenes however, suggest that the House of Mario is preparing for a big comeback in 2017.
Nintendo is making its development program much friendlier for indie developers. By merging its development program intro one global system. The new streamlined portal makes it much simpler for anyone anywhere in the world to get a Nintendo Developer ID. And to start making and publishing games “regardless of your level of experience in game development.”
Nintendo has always had a tense relationship with developers that aren’t Nintendo. After a glut of garbage games, climaxing with E.T. Nintendo wanted to make sure only the best games appeared on the NES. However they placed harsh restrictions on the kinds of games third parties could make and how many games they could release.
Konami had to resort to creating shell companies like Ultra Games to publish more NES games. Meanwhile, Tengen Tetris didn’t even bother seeking Nintendo’s approval and launched anyway in an unofficial black cartridge.
Since the NES was so dominant, third parties had no choice but to put up with Nintendo’s draconian quirks. However, the friction remained across later hardware generations, and now third parties have friendlier companies like Sony and Microsoft to flock to.
Nintendo’s first-party games are excellent enough to make the consoles worth buying all by themselves. But it sure would be nice to play Doom or Overwatch on my Wii U in-between Splatoon and Super Smash Bros. Hopefully this accessible new development portal is just one part of Nintendo’s larger plan to get back on top. After all, courting indie devs is essential for success. Just look at the hype for games like No Man’s Sky and We Happy Few, some of the most anticipated games of the year.
Other recent Nintendo changes hint that an even bigger shift is happening. Nintendo is making mobile apps along with unified user accounts. The company merged its handheld and console divisions. And, of course, there’s a new Nintendo console releasing next March along with a promising Legend of Zelda game.
I love Nintendo, and I hope that its commitment to crafting creative, innovative, and immensely enjoyable games never changes. But the company is far from perfect, so here’s hoping the NX kicks off an all-new, better Nintendo.
Check out the registration portal here.