Why Indie Developers are Praising the Nintendo Switch

One developer claims they feel Nintendo has treated indies like royalty.

9 months ago by Morgan Shaver

During this year’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, a variety of indie developers took the time to detail their recent relations with Nintendo. Namely, how smooth the overall process has been, and how well Nintendo has been treating them in regards to Switch development.

Of course, it’s no secret that Nintendo has continued their tradition of placing greater emphasis on third-party support; a mentality that dates all the way back to the original Nintendo Wii in 2012.

Speaking with GamesIndustry, Nintendo’s Head of Partner Management Damon Baker opened up about the importance of indies on the Switch:

“The way we’re looking at the Switch is this is a complementary platform. If it’s on Steam, then there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be on the Nintendo Switch as well. If you want to take that experience on the go, if you want to have a baked in multiplayer experience, this is the system to do it.”

Baker claims Nintendo has learned from the mistakes of the Wii U. As such, the company will not be releasing all 60 indie titles lined up for the Switch at once and will instead trickle them out slowly as the year progresses.

Later in the piece, GamesIndustry queried various developers who’re releasing their projects on the Nintendo Switch this year. According to Brjann Sigurgeirsson, CEO of Image and Form Games (SteamWorld Dig 2):

“We’ve been treated like royalty. And I would be saying that even if we weren’t sitting in this room. We’ve always felt special [with Nintendo]. If you can make everyone feel special, you’re definitely doing something right.”

“You’re [Nintendo] not treating an indie like something you can afford to miss out on. If you treat an indie studio the way you’d treat a bigger studio or publisher, that indie studio is going to love you and do stuff for you forever. And that’s exactly the feeling we’ve had with Nintendo the whole time,” Sigurgeirsson continued.

David Dino, designer at Sumo Digital (the team bringing Snake Pass to the Nintendo Switch) agreed with Sigurgeirsson:

“I think Nintendo understands what the indies can do to bring [a variety of content] to the Switch. They’ve been very welcoming, and almost hand-holding through whatever process we need to get our games on the platform.”

Even tinyBuild co-founder Luke Burtis added his thoughts to the mix, stating that he’s noticed Nintendo’s progress in the realm of indie support.

“Before, they’ve [Nintendo] kind of been a lot more closed off, and with the Switch, it seems like they’re opening up a lot more."

"They’re obviously taking a cautionary step—they’re only working with a couple handfuls of indies initially to see how the reception is from the consumer base—but I think it’s a great first step. We have Mr. Shifty coming out in April, and we’ll have a few other games coming out later in the year,” Burtis announced.

The interview goes on to chronicle each developer’s thoughts on Steam and even their feedback on how well the Nintendo Switch performs. It’s definitely a fascinating read, so we recommend heading over to GamesIndustry to check out the article in full.

Feedback like this buoys the feeling that Nintendo isn’t simply incorporating indies into their eShop; they’re moving to extend their third-party support to a growing number of developers. By making the process of publishing an indie title to the Nintendo Switch both easy and affordable, Nintendo continues to solidify the Switch as an indie-oriented platform.

For more in-depth features on indie game developers, be sure to check out these developers who traded their AAA titles for the indie scene, take an enchanting walk through Infinite Fall's charming indie Night in the Woods, and recap our recent interview with Evodant Interactive on their new indie Gyre: Maelstrom.