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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - SilkSong is coming to the Switch/Nintendo's relationship with indies

So SilkSong will be exclusive to the Switch and PC at launch, TeamCherry will self publish this title and it's already being localized in English, French, Japanese, Russian, German & Italian. 

It also follows the success of Hades, Among Us and Sakuna in the past 6 months and the overall boon for some indie developers on the system. 



This is why I wanted to revisit some comments from Nintendo's strategy in 2017, and examine why they've been able to make such a turn around in terms of building relationships with game makers since 2016, below is a great article from GameInformer in late 2017:

Falling Behind

The Wii U was notorious for its lack of third-party titles. Near the end of its lifecycle, players were provided with a barren wasteland, where months passed between major new releases. Due to poor sales, a difficult-to-develop-for infrastructure, and a form factor many viewed as a half-measure, the Wii U was not viewed as a destination platform by triple-A publishers or independent developers.

Making The Switch

Baker openly admits the Switch being a shiny, new platform is a good way to attract developers, he claims the way the team operates now isn’t too different from how it did near the Wii U’s final days. Late in the Wii U cycle, we saw some new approaches to court more third parties

While Refenes(Super Meat Boy) implies that Nintendo is eclipsing Microsoft in terms of developer-friendly framework, he also asserts that Nintendo is overtaking Sony in a completely different area of supporting its indie developers: promotion.

Spreading The Word

Many other developers who are releasing games on Switch shared the notion that Nintendo is going above and beyond from a promotional standpoint. “Over the past two years, I’ve seen how much Nintendo has been putting into getting the word out about indies and trying to help the indie community get more popular and get more support,” says Goichi Suda, CEO of Grasshopper Manufacture and director of Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes. “It’s really obvious to me that Nintendo has really started caring more about indies.”

Tuovinen agrees Nintendo’s approach to promoting indies is special. “The support from Nintendo for different events and promotions is overwhelming,” he says. “We really couldn’t be happier with how things are.”

Baker understands that Nintendo’s hardcore fan base outshines any promotional help his team can give or unique traits the Switch may possess. “As much marketing or PR support that any of us can possibly give to any particular game or any particular franchise, the strongest message out there is the word-of-mouth messaging,” he says. “That’s more powerful than anything we could do.”

Keeping Things Personal

Another key factor that was brought up repeatedly by various indie developers is how Nintendo delivers a more personal touch in its approach.

Suda says he feels that the team at Nintendo has shown that they really care about the No More Heroes series. He says that it culminated with an invitation to be included in the full reveal of the Switch system in January. “In my entire career as a video game creator, I’ve never had that chance before,” Suda says. “I’ve never had a platform or company really show that they care about my games or my series this much, and really offer this much support for it. I really appreciate that and it’s one of the reasons I’m really glad to be working with Nintendo. They show that they do care. That sort of care is something that I’m able to receive from Nintendo that I don’t really think I’d get from anywhere else.”

Part of establishing a long-standing relationship with independent developers is understanding what best serves the developer. Baker says that while Nintendo loves having third-party games from indies arrive exclusively on Switch, his team doesn’t force developers to go that route unless it makes sense for them. That holds true, as many of the developers featured in Nintendo’s indie lineup are also releasing on other platforms. “We know that every one of these independent developers needs to make business decisions that are right for them,” he says.

Going Worldwide

Nintendo hopes to further its attempts to make this initiative more globally focused by removing barriers for developers to get their games in additional regions. Previously, developers often needed an existing entity in Japan to release a game in the Japanese market, but through this new global approach, games like Shovel Knight, which are a good fit for the Japanese market, have been able to release on Nintendo platforms.

https://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2017/12/28/how-nintendo-is-changing-its-approach-to-indie-developers.aspx

Last edited by noshten - on 31 December 2020

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Actually, good relationships with indies started with the Wii U...



very true it even says so in the article, Wii U made them realize how important indies are for their future



I do like how Suda/Grasshopper Manufacture tries to promote and help independent developers despite his company being owned by GungHo Online. Gungho is the type of parent company that seems very hands off with it's subsidiaries, outside of the budget of course.

Nintendo pulled quality marketing in which they managed to sell a console with a tiny profit on each system and then sell tons of their own software. Then they actually invested in getting console exclusives from publishers like Marvelous (Sakuna, Daemon X Machina) and soon Capcom (Monster Hunter Rise) to help sell the system.

Early in the Switches life Nintendo was quite selective, with which independent developers it allowed on the the Switch and it even turned away 3DS and Wii U developers as Nintendo was focused on a complete reset to it's business rather than treating previous smaller independent developers well. Most of these companies eventually came to Switch. The reset either didn't come or now treat the Switch as just another platform like Xbox or Android. It's understandable but the marketing has been good from the start so the Switch and Nintendo will remain strong for many years to come.

(Wow I really rambled on there.)



It also helps to get some of these game an actual promoting platform such as Nintendo Direct or Nindies Direct (Like the recent ones). Also, Nintendo willingness to work in close quarter with some of them (or better lend them their IPs for unique opp. such as Cadence of Hyrule) certainly leads to a more trusted relationships with this whole side of the buisness.

Btb, having console exclusivity for Silksong is kind of a low-key big win for them. I'm honestly expecting a 1M-2M launch on both platform.



Switch Friend Code : 3905-6122-2909 

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Ok, but still no release date ?



Nintendo:

  • Tired of getting cuckolded by big publishers for decades, for myriad reasons (console ability, brand image, old grudges, moneyhatting)
  • Stopped competing in the power arms race a decade and a half ago
  • Still realizes that it can't sell consoles and gain marketshare solely on the strength of its own output
  • Finally has a console that can handle the same games as other consoles/platforms and give customers a reason to want to own those games on its console instead of others
  • Out of the big three, has the most reason to want to promote a healthy environment for indies and AA devs/pubs that don't have AAA budgets, don't have agendas to try to herd customers toward particular consoles, and don't have grudges  based on past decisions.

Indies:

  • Can't run with the big dawgs on the dedicated home consoles
  • Too large, too deep of an ocean on platforms like the App Store, Google Play and Steam, where the race-to-the-bottom and free-to-play models have become the hard standard
  • Even though many games release every week on the eShop, it's not to the extent of the previously mentioned platforms, where they immediately get buried if they don't make the top seller's list
  • On a console where customers and critics naturally accept less power for portability/flexibility, it's easier for smaller games and games with smaller budgets to shine
  • As stated in the article in the OP, Nintendo fosters an active relationship and promotion


Vodacixi said:

Actually, good relationships with indies started with the Wii U...

Or even with the Wii. To elaborate:

WiiWare was was pretty much the first console platform which was specifically tailored to Indies, though AAA publishers also joined in with some smaller games and spinoffs. And while WiiWare died with the Wii, it laid the groundworks for Nintendo's relationship with Indies.

When the Wii U came around and the big publishers jumped ship just a couple months later, the Indies stayed. Soon it became clear that they had the storefront practically for themselves and weren't drowned out by the bigger releases, and so they came in droves. And since they weren't drowned out and Wii U owners didn't have much else non-Nintendo stuff to play, they sold really well; better than on the more established competition despite the low install base. Nintendo realized this also and their loyalty to Nintendo and started actively pushing them, resulting in the Nindies moniker and program. And Nintendo thanks them to this day for keeping them alive by still coming with their Nindies Showcases (one probably comes this month btw, as there was always one either in December or January) even though they wouldn't really need them anymore to bolster their games catalogue, and even make regular mentions of them in other Nintendo Direct videos. 



burninmylight said:

Nintendo:

  • Tired of getting cuckolded by big publishers for decades, for myriad reasons (console ability, brand image, old grudges, moneyhatting)
  • Stopped competing in the power arms race a decade and a half ago
  • Still realizes that it can't sell consoles and gain marketshare solely on the strength of its own output
  • Finally has a console that can handle the same games as other consoles/platforms and give customers a reason to want to own those games on its console instead of others
  • Out of the big three, has the most reason to want to promote a healthy environment for indies and AA devs/pubs that don't have AAA budgets, don't have agendas to try to herd customers toward particular consoles, and don't have grudges  based on past decisions.

Indies:

  • Can't run with the big dawgs on the dedicated home consoles
  • Too large, too deep of an ocean on platforms like the App Store, Google Play and Steam, where the race-to-the-bottom and free-to-play models have become the hard standard
  • Even though many games release every week on the eShop, it's not to the extent of the previously mentioned platforms, where they immediately get buried if they don't make the top seller's list
  • On a console where customers and critics naturally accept less power for portability/flexibility, it's easier for smaller games and games with smaller budgets to shine
  • As stated in the article in the OP, Nintendo fosters an active relationship and promotion

The eShop would be just as much of a clusterfuck as Steam if it was 16 years old like Steam is. Or perhaps not. I bet Nintendo has some sort of quality control that sets the bare minimum standards. Meanwhile Steam allows pretty much anything on their platform, including ultra lazy asset flips.



Bofferbrauer2 said:
Vodacixi said:

Actually, good relationships with indies started with the Wii U...

Or even with the Wii. To elaborate:

WiiWare was was pretty much the first console platform which was specifically tailored to Indies, though AAA publishers also joined in with some smaller games and spinoffs. And while WiiWare died with the Wii, it laid the groundworks for Nintendo's relationship with Indies.

When the Wii U came around and the big publishers jumped ship just a couple months later, the Indies stayed. Soon it became clear that they had the storefront practically for themselves and weren't drowned out by the bigger releases, and so they came in droves. And since they weren't drowned out and Wii U owners didn't have much else non-Nintendo stuff to play, they sold really well; better than on the more established competition despite the low install base. Nintendo realized this also and their loyalty to Nintendo and started actively pushing them, resulting in the Nindies moniker and program. And Nintendo thanks them to this day for keeping them alive by still coming with their Nindies Showcases (one probably comes this month btw, as there was always one either in December or January) even though they wouldn't really need them anymore to bolster their games catalogue, and even make regular mentions of them in other Nintendo Direct videos. 

As far as I can tell, not really?

The Xbox Live Arcade was originally the name of just the entire Xbox marketplace in general, but was rebranded as a store for "smaller games" from indie developers (mainly) and big publishers (secondarily) as soon as the 360's release, just like the Wiiware except 2 and a half years earlier. In fact by the time Wiiware came out Microsoft was already doing special promotions with XBLA, they even had an equivalent of "Platinum Hits" for Arcade titles.