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Are you a hobbyist game developer with a great idea for the next big thing? Well, Nintendo isn’t interested.
“We are not looking to do business today with the garage developer,” Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime told Gamasutra at the recent Game Developers Conference.
This would seem to disqualify breakout hits like current No. 1 App Store game Tiny Wings, created and sold by Andreas Illiger, from appearing on Nintendo 3DS.
Nintendo’s lack of interest in working with DIY developers seems strange, considering the rise of indie hits like Minecraft and the tech industry’s long and intimate relationship with garages. But perhaps a finicky, Apple-style approach that keeps the great unwashed at bay will pay off for Nintendo in the long run, if its own games and those produced by its chosen partners consistently set the benchmark for outstanding gameplay.
It’s a gamble, but it’s one that fits with Nintendo’s historic desire to closely control its products.
“In our view, that’s not a business we want to pursue,” said Fils-Aime, who likened “hobbyist developers” to American Idol contestants.
“There are certainly highly talented people who work other jobs and have a passion to be in the music industry,” he said. “I love it when there’s a game that’s found that captures people’s imagination, just like that … singer toiling in a factory,” he told the game-development news site .
Although Fils-Aime did not give any more specifics as to what constitutes, in his words, a “true independent developer” versus a garage developer, his delineation seems to be between small companies creating games and individuals working on part-time projects out of their homes.
Nintendo will launch the $250 3DS, which has a glasses-free 3-D display, in the United States on March 27. But it will not make its online shop for downloadable games available until late May, a delay that might limit the potential audience for small, downloadable games.
The gamemaker has admitted that its DSiWare and WiiWare digital game shops were not up to par, but has yet to discuss precisely how it will handle downloadable titles in the future.