Mobile Mavens

Are indie developers interested in releasing games on the Nintendo Switch?

Are indie developers interested in releasing games on the Nintendo Switch?

The Nintendo Switch has been the talk of the town lately, as with anything Nintendo announces.

And while some are excited about the prospect of taking their big games to a portable place, others remain skeptical about the console's performance power and global appeal.

But we wanted to find out what our Indie Mavens thought about the console's reveal, and whether or not they'd be interested in getting their games on it.

More specifically, we asked:

  • What do you think about the Nintendo Switch?
  • Will you be looking to develop for it in the future?
Ben Murch Co-Founder Perchang

I was THE Nintendo fan in my younger years. Saved up my pennies, bought a NES, then later a SNES. They shaped my engagement and love for video games during my teenage years.

Mario, Metroid, Contra, Star Fox, Donkey Kong. Nintendo, seemingly, could do no wrong.

The last few years have dampened that spirit.

The Wii was fun for an afternoon. The Wii U, less so. They felt gimmicky and light on content that appealed to me. So, I went into the Switch announcement with trepidation and caution.

I loved it.

It's refreshing to see Nintendo not buckle after the Wii U disaster, and remain the quirky outsider.
Ben Murch

The Switch feels like the response of a company that has listened to its critics, but also its fans. It's a proper gaming console for the home. You plug it in, grab a controller, and you're off. That's good.

However, you can then grab the console and go on holiday, or over to a friend's house, or on a commute (that one's going to be hilarious. Playing Mario Kart in amongst the bankers). I like that thought-out approach to versatility that was sorely missing from the Wii U.

I also love that it's not directly competing with the PS4 or Xbox One. They seem to be all about power. Who has the most power. Feel my power! The Switch seems to be quite delicate in comparison. A different approach to gaming.

You can almost hear them saying, "we just want to give you a different experience". In this terabyte-processor obsessed world, it's refreshing to see Nintendo not buckle after the Wii U disaster, and remain the quirky outsider.

Of course, we don't know about the most important part yet. Games. Once again, Reggie from Nintendo of America stated that they need to have a better launch line-up.

They need the life blood of the console. That heartbeat. The reasons to get excited and pick up that controller. Let's hope for some experiences that are as unique as the system and deliver gameplay we've not experienced before.

On developing for Switch. I can't see us doing that anytime soon. We have a pretty full plate right now, plus the system needs to sell quite a few units before the dev cost numbers will add up.

However, if Nintendo are reading this and want to send over a free dev kit... well, I wouldn't say no to my childhood buddy ;)

Pierre-Luc Vettier CEO Zero Games Studios

I'm honestly pretty excited! Since Sega is no longer making consoles, Nintendo is now my first choice.

Playing Zelda on the move will be just awesome! I love the concept, but I'm waiting for information about crucial points.

What will be the power of the Switch? Nintendo needs a console which could be as powerful as their rivals or they will again lose third party developers as the average player will not find it fun to play FIFA, Call of Duty, or other famous licences with worse graphics/framerate than the competition.

If the console is as powerful as PS4 or Xbox One, I doubt (the battery) will last very long.
Pierre-Luc Vettier

This time, Nintendo needs a console which can match with Sony and Microsoft and offer great games in their original quality.

Yes, Nintendo games are important, but since the Wii U failure, Nintendo need to understand that their players, even if they really love the big N licences, also want to play more mainstream games and not buy a second console to play Battlefield or PES (or FIFA, NBA, CoD, GTA, etc ...)

I also have some doubts about the handheld mode of the console. When on battery, is the console capable of delivering its full power? How long will the battery last when playing big games? That will be crucial. And if the console is as powerful as PS4 or Xbox One, I doubt it will last very long.

I saw that multiplayer could need two consoles to play Mario Kart with 4 players. I don't know if it's true, but I think that it could also be a big problem. I'm sure that I am not the only one who loves Mario Party or Mario Kart night sessions with friends who don't own Nintendo consoles.

So I'm waiting for more information from Nintendo in the following months, hoping that they will deliver the ultimate console we are all waiting for!

Will you be looking to develop for it in the future? Definitely yes!

We are mostly working as a third-party developer, so I hope we will have the opportunity to work on Switch games in the future. But we are also planning to create more "personal" games, and releasing it on Switch could be an awesome opportunity.

Tanya Short Creative Director Kitfox Games

My team and I are into it, but I'm not surprised -- that Switch trailer was so clearly targeting hardcore gamers... and who's more hardcore than developers?

Historically, despite some movement forward, Nintendo has not been particularly friendly to small third-party developers.
Tanya Short

Compared to marketing materials for the Wii and Wii U, this is so much more clearly targeted at us that I think we can't help but want to reciprocate Nintendo's affection... especially if you've been a long-time fan and have felt neglected in recent years.

It's easy to get excited about something you think you will enjoy using, not just enjoy convincing your grandparents to use.

I would love to develop for the Switch... if it's not a constant uphill battle. Historically, despite some movement forward, Nintendo has not been particularly friendly to small third-party developers, compared to other consoles.

However, I can doggedly hope that they will make things easier. If they do, Kitfox will leap on Switch in a flash, and have a great time doing it.

We love local multiplayer games, and that appears to be a big segment of Switch's appeal... so if anyone at Nintendo is reading this... please let us make awesome games for your platform!

Nathan Fouts Founder Mommy's Best Games

I think the only thing that got me excited about it was Mario and Zelda, which I guess is par for the course for a Nintendo machine.

If only they'd court indies like it's 2016, then we'd be happy.
Nathan Fouts

To me there wasn't enough of the other games shown to suggest that they are new and exciting versions.

The machine looks promising but doesn't bowl me over. The portability aspect of it seems fine, but not something I needed or think a lot of people will care about. It's like Nintendo took a fifth-tier bullet point and blew it up into an entire console.

We've talked to Nintendo about our upcoming game Pig Eat Ball and we'd love to work with them. At E3, Nintendo reps were still not allowed to talk about the new console, and still suggesting we "think" about Wii U development.

Since the Switch is revealed, yes, we'd very much like to see our next game on the Switch! The games shown looked like they had plenty of power and with a Nintendo first-party line-up, then I think it could be a fun machine.

If only they'd court indies like it's 2016, then we'd be happy.

Aaron Fothergill Co-founder Strange Flavour

It's Nintendo, so like Super Mario Run, it's really big news for gamers.

It's not the perfect mobile device or the perfect home console, but we've all seen that the outright power in modern phones is plenty enough for great games.
Aaron Fothergill

As a console, it's good to see that Nintendo are sticking to their guns and designing hardware specifically for the sort of games they want, and not just slapping generic PC components in a branded box (I'm starting to get annoyed with my Xbox One needing to update itself, having PC-style connectivity issues and games that stop working when they can't phone home when I just want to play a game.)

I'm not 100% convinced the hardware design is ideal. The controller looks pretty huge and lumpy (reminds me of the Jaguar controller ;)) and there's bound to be a trade-off having the mobile gubbins of screen etc. built into the console box.

It's not the perfect mobile device or the perfect home console, but we've all seen that the outright power in modern phones is plenty enough for great games, so I suspect there's enough overkill to negate that trade off.

From the developer side, it's Nintendo, so we'll be an afterthought. Hopefully it'll be one that develops to be good for developers despite that. :)

Dan Menard CEO Double Stallion

It reminds me of the response people had to the original iPad. The first impression was 'who would want this?'
Dan Menard

I saw the announcement for the Switch last week and at Double Stallion it got a universally positive response.

I've been considering purchasing a 3DS for a while now but it seems like, with the Switch, that ecosystem will merge with the Wii U ecosystem, and that only makes the proposition sweeter.

My favorite thing about it is that it doesn't directly compete with consoles or PCs for attention. I would use the Switch in bed or on the plane, in situations where a console is impractical.

The announcement hasn't made huge waves but I feel like it will grow on people. It's a console aimed at the next generation of consumers who don't care to own TVs and tend to be way more mobile.

It's very forward thinking of Nintendo and it reminds me of the response people had to the original iPad. The first impression was "who would want this?" and over time the brilliance of it sinks in.

It's not revolutionary, but it is an interesting step forward and I'm eager to see what Nintendo will do with it.

Getting the software right for launch is absolutely critical, and I think Nintendo will face an uphill battle convincing third parties to get on board after the Wii U.

As for Double Stallion, we'd absolutely like to develop for the Switch. It aligns perfectly with the types of games we produce and our mobile / console.

If there is an opportunity for us to get on the platform we will certainly take it.

Matthew Annal MD Nitrome

I thought the design of the new system was surprisingly lovely and easily the best-looking device that Nintendo has put out.

Though I was initially underwhelmed, I'm slowly coming round to a much rosier outlook for the system.
Mat Annal

That's important, because if I'm to carry this thing about in the outside world, I don't want to look like I'm playing on a kids toy!

The portability also appeals to me. At this point in my life, with two young kids, getting time to play a game in front of the TV is sparse, but that doesn't mean I went off those sorts of games, so a device that lets me play them on the go appeals. I finally get time to finish a Zelda game again!

The reveal wasn't all great though. They built up the Switch to be something totally revolutionary, which for Nintendo makes you think back to when they introduced motions controls to the world with the Wii.

The Switch's initial proposition falls well short of that – a console that is also a handheld but that is presumably underpowered to accomplish this does not seem like a revolution!

I'm a Nintendo fanboy, so if their new console was somehow less powerful than the last, I'd still probably end up picking it up.

I'm not sure others would feel the same, but I think it's clear that Nintendo haven't shown everything there is to know about the system yet.

With motion controls and haptic feedback on the controllers, and a multi-touch screen heavily rumoured, I would be much more excited for a system that seems to unify everything they have been doing thus far.

VR also seems to be a possibility, and with Nintendo you never really know what else they might have hidden. Though I was initially underwhelmed, I'm slowly coming round to a much rosier outlook for the system, and I am now excited for it and will probably pick it up in March.

Whether Nitrome would develop games for it is a more difficult question.

If indeed it does have a multi-touch screen, then it is more likely we would consider versions of what we're making on mobile.

The mobile industry is limited to two main stores to make your revenue. If Nintendo could offer a complimentary space for mobile devs to put their games, they could become the next logical format to support before even PC.

It will be interesting to see if Nintendo try to capitalise on this and offer any ways to smooth that transition. Getting a game approved on a console platform is a lot more work than on mobile still and the monetisation models are very different.

Of course the biggest thing stopping this will be if Nintendo once again fail to grow a sizeable audience.

Travis Ryan Studio Head Dumpling Design

In direct response to my excitement on Switch, Dumpling will absolutely make something for it.

It's just a question of what and when really; while a multiplayer Dashy Crashy TURBO would thrive on its myriad control configurations, Game #2 is 100% touch, so we might be facing a rethink :)

Nintendo fanboy and creator admirer aside - I love what Nintendo is doing with Switch!

Unlike the confused messaging of the Wii U - many of us left that initial presentation convinced it was a tablet add-on - the concept of Switch clicks (those sounds!) immediately; your games are with you.

We're essentially looking at the 'Nintendo Box' we've longed dreamed of, and that is the killer app of the Switch.
Travis Ryan

The branding is slick and the console finally looks like it's been designed by/for big kids. And while it's always great to see more Zelda, Mario and a bunch of 'Special Edition' Wii-releases, it's those fleeting glimpses of Skyrim that is the key message for the masses - you’ve never done 'this' before.

The platform is a killer app for any massive open world games, if ever there was a shot for my beloved Monster Hunter finally going global, Switch is it!

It marks a fundamental shift in design philosophy for Nintendo too; while recent hardware iterations have doubled-down on innovating how we play, Switch is perhaps their most conventional console since the SNES.

Its innovation is how gaming fits into your life - there are no gimmicks to design for, outside of configs.

There's a shift in messaging too, targeting ‘big kids’ – there's not a single kid throughout that entire trailer. As a parent who uses Nintendo as the 'safe place' for my kids to play games, here's hoping it's just an initial appeal to early adopters.

It's a perfect bit of school playground kit too, it's also a bit pricey looking, far removed from the TONKA industrial design of past handhelds with plenty of bits-and-bobs to lose.

There's myriad unanswered questions of course; how effortless is the transition from home to on-the-go is, is upscaling limited to power-supply (akin to laptops), what's going to happen to Mario Maker?! (I struggle to see Nintendo offering touch just for undocked play).

But none that really matters, because by unifying all of Nintendo's console focus and output into one place, we're essentially looking at the 'Nintendo Box' we've longed dreamed of, and that is the killer app of the Switch.

Deputy Editor

Ric has written for PocketGamer.biz for as long as he can remember, and is now Deputy Editor. He likes trains.

Comments

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Jak Marshall Games Analyst
I can see gamers in their late 20s - early 40s who don't have the time for their binge gaming habits of old wanting to bring the Switch to work with them for lunchtime gaming.

I know that it's perhaps not as appealing as going to a skate park or chatting to strange women at airports, but it's certainly the more likely scenario.

But yes, those units have got to shift off those shelves for any of this to become a reality at all.
Magnus S CEO at Triolith Entertainment
Why buy that thing when you have your smart phone. It's big and clunky, uses cartridges (to my knowledge) while my phone is most likely smaller, I have it with me anyway and all my games are already pre-loaded on it. Also if i for example have a chromecast i can get the games on my tv as well.
James Coote
"Why buy a Switch when you have your smart phone?"

In theory, Nintendo will get people excited about their games/IP on mobile, then upsell them on the Switch. Enjoyed Pokemon Go? Why not buy the full game on Switch and carry across your existing collection of Pokemon!

However, no AAA publishers are going to be interested in doing that. For the latest FIFA, CoD etc, they just want to stick the same game on as many platforms as is economic. Whilst indies don't have the resources to make multi-device-spanning gaming experiences.

So I'm not sure how powerful a draw it'll be to play the bigger, better version of the odd two or three mobile games you enjoyed for a while. I reckon it'll be more lapsed Nintendo fans who are looking for the premium on-the-go experiences, but which don't seem to come up often enough on mobile.
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