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Nintendo: 'We Embrace The Independent Spirit'

Nintendo: 'We Embrace The Independent Spirit'

March 27, 2011 | By Cassandra Khaw, Kris Graft

March 27, 2011 | By Cassandra Khaw, Kris Graft
More: Smartphone/Tablet, Business/Marketing

Weeks after Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said "we are not looking to do business today with the garage developer" on the new 3DS, the company's director of PR Marc Franklin told Gamasutra that Nintendo is actually looking everywhere for innovative content.

Asked about the company's stance on "garage developers," Franklin replied, "Nintendo always appreciates good quality content regardless of whether that's coming from an indie developer or a more established publisher."

"For example, we've worked with 2D Boy, the people behind World of Goo for WiiWare," he said. "This is a group of guys who don't even have an office. So we embrace that kind of independent spirit and it's ultimately the most innovative content that will rise to the top."

Nintendo has appeared at odds with smaller developers in recent weeks. Before Fils-Aime's comments on "garage developers," Nintendo president and CEO Satoru Iwata stated at this year's Game Developers Conference that the value of game software is in danger of sinking due to low-priced (and often free) offerings from emerging mobile and social markets.

"The value of video game software does not matter to [mobile and social game distributors]. The fact is, what we produce has value, and we should protect that value," Iwata said at the time.

Games like Angry Birds from 50-person studio Rovio can sell with a price tag of just 99 cents, and -- in extreme cases -- eventually generate millions of dollars in revenue (Angry Birds goes for free on Android). That 99 cent price point makes a $40 3DS game look pricey.

In less extreme cases, smaller mobile and social developers can at least make some semblance of a living off of a successful low-priced game.

Nintendo will roll out the 3DS' digital storefront, the eShop, in May this year, providing a venue for lower-priced, smaller-sized games.

While these games will be less expensive compared to packaged releases, don't expect to see 99 cent games on Nintendo's digital storefront. Nintendo 3DS project lead Hideki Konno recently told Gamasutra that the company does not plan on competing with mobile games' ultra-low prices.

"I'm not trying to say that I think games on cell phones are a bad thing; I'm not trying to say that they're worthless, or have no value at all," Konno said. "I'm just saying that they're just different."

The Nintendo 3DS launched in Europe on Friday, and in the U.S. on Sunday. Eager fans awaited the device's midnight launch in front of a New York City Best Buy last night at Nintendo's official launch event, which Gamasutra attended.

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