As Nintendo enjoys tremendous success a year after the Switch was initially released, the company is more open to indie developers now more than ever. Back in the days of the Wii, Nintendo had a pretty strict filtering system as to who was allowed to develop a game on their consoles, as the company stuck mostly to their games or titles from other giant developers. However, the company opened its doors a bit during the 3DS and Wii U eras, and with the popularity of the Switch, things are changing in regards to new developers, although strict guidelines are still in place.
In fact, just a few days ago, Nintendo hosted an event that showcased several indie-games in a short presentation called the Nindies Showcase 2018. In the 11-minute video presentation, Damon Baker and his colleague Kirk Scott revealed several indie titles that are headed to the hybrid console this year. You can check out all the games presented at the event here.
Now, Baker revealed in an interview with Kotaku on Nintendo's stance with indie developers. He said that the company has been evolving in the way they approach indie devs by treating them as more of a partner. Furthermore, he explained that rather than looking at how the actual game looks like, whether it brings in something new and exciting, Nintendo is more focused on scrutinizing the developer’s background and whether or not they have the knowledge and endurance that developers must possess in the complicated process of making a game.
“I can’t really disclose all of our guidelines, but I can tell you that those partners that are able to instill a level of trust and confidence in us that they’re going to be very capable of getting through the development process and are knowledgeable about bringing content out on consoles, those are the ones that are resonating in terms of bringing the content out and it doing well on the system,” Baker said to Kotaku.
“Some of those developers do have a negative reaction or are bummed because we haven’t opened up the door to hobbyists or students at this time. But one day, we may. We may be going towards that direction. But for now, we’re still staying the course in terms of a closed dev environment for Switch.”
Of course, given Nintendo’s position in the gaming industry, we can’t blame them for placing strict guidelines on who can develop games for their consoles. Given that the company has been exerting more effort now to feature indie-games in their systems than before, it's a good sign for aspiring developers who wish to put their games out on Nintendo's consoles. However, Nintendo made it clear that those developers have to be committed to their craft and prove to the company that they, and not just their games, will meet Nintendo’s high standards.