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Nintendo isn't taking Wii U applications from Japanese devs
Nintendo isn't taking Wii U applications from Japanese devs
July 24, 2013 | By Mike Rose

July 24, 2013 | By Mike Rose
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    9 comments
More: Console/PC, Indie, Business/Marketing



Nintendo has confirmed that a statement regarding Japanese Wii U developers that has been passed around this week -- namely, that the company isn't taking applications from new Japanese developers for the console right now -- is correct.

The Japanese publisher has recently been pushing its new indie-friendly angle, offering numerous features in a bid to be more welcoming to developers. This includes free Unity licenses, self-publishing opportunities, and its Web Framework.

Which is why a Wii U development application form has been turning heads, as it features the statement "We are not accepting applications from developers located in Japan at this time" in both English and Japanese.

Today, Nintendo told Gamasutra that the statement is official, and still in force.

"The policy in question is the decision of Nintendo's department responsible for licensing activities in each region," a Nintendo spokesperson said, "and the licensing department of Nintendo Co., Ltd. [the official name of Nintendo's Japanese headquarters] is currently not accepting subject applications from individuals in Japan."

When pushed for additional comment, or a reasoning as to the move, the spokesperson said that there was "nothing else that I can to add to this at the moment."

However James Mielke, director for the Japanese indie game expo BitSummit, told Eurogamer that developers shouldn't read too much into the statement.

"It's not to say Nintendo won't eventually open things up," he noted. "When you've got franchises like Mario and Zelda, you have to maintain a certain quality control."

"Nintendo may simply still be tailoring their approach or legalese to Japanese indie developers," he continued. "But I do hope they have something in store, because indie development is the water that fills a game library's riverbank. You can be a giant rock sitting right in the center of it all, but that water will flow right around you down other channels if you don't open yourself up to it."


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Comments


Chris Lynn
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Disapointed to read that, even if I expect it to be a temporary move. The biggest surprises I had the last few years came from japanese studios, and the Wii U needs some surprises immediately.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Chris Lynn - "...and the Wii U needs some surprises immediately." Not just that, but the Japanese videogame market in general needs to help indie game developers from Japan get recognition outside of Japan. In the past and for the most part, countries outside of Japan (especially US and European countries) were the ones that were mostly known for the indie videogame market. At least, that's the sense that I got as I hardly even heard about a Japanese indie game company before, while I became familiar with Big Fish, PlayFirst, GameHouse, etc. in the US. That may have changed a little bit in the last few years, but the Japanese videogame market needs to be more aggressive on helping the indie game companies in Japan get recognition outside of Japan.

Christian Nutt
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With respect to James, my guess is that CERO (Japan's ESRB) plays some role in this. Nintendo's download games are all CERO-rated in Japan, and my understanding is that CERO's rules are structured in a way that means only publishers can really work with the organization.

I don't have time and my Japanese isn't good enough to easily dig enough into the CERO rules, but if somebody wants to, its site is here: http://www.cero.gr.jp/

I really don't think Nintendo wants to see just Bandai Namco and Arc System Works publishing downloadable games, which is the situation they've got now on the Wii U.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Christian Nutt - Thanks for the info!

Christian Nutt
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Even if this is not the reason, and I am not sure it is -- I have just seen a fair amount of WHAT COULD THE REASON BE without anyone seeming to stop and think that maybe there is a reason they can't actually understand.

Yes, this policy sucks, and it's counterproductive, but there's always a REASON for something, even if it can't be justified.

Tim Trzepacz
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This is very curious. Developers outside of Japan are not allowed to sell in Japan unless they actually have an office in Japan and are a Japanese company. Otherwise you have to partner with a Japanese company, which generally takes half the money. Not having any Japanese developers basically means no developers at all, as far as Nintendo of Japan is concerned. Curious.

Christian Nutt
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Hey, good point.

Mark Vigouroux
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We can see it as an unfair hit to japanese indie, which it is if the guys really consider publishing on the machine is vital (^_^), but moreover we could guess it is also a simple protecionist move, no foreign company or individual, even with a foot in the country, could publish their game in Japan by themselves.

Kyle McBain
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I am now a resident of Japan and I think it is safe to say that I am losing interest. In the States I loved Nintendo and it was the compliment to my PC. Pretty much the only two platforms I want to spend time with. I am starting to view Nintendo as prejudice. Not only are they turning down devs because of their location in the world which is ridiculous, but they refuse to lift region locks. Why would I buy a Wii-U when I know in a few years when I am back in the states I won't be able to play new games. Also, I want a diverse library to choose from. I can't do that if they are turning down devs. I know my situatuion is unique. It still bothers me though knowing they are closing doors to people who want to experience their product.


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