Jan 6, 2012

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Nintendo Tells Dev Not To Publish WiiWare Sales Data

Nintendo Tells Dev Not To Publish WiiWare Sales Data

Indie developer Icon Games Entertainment recently published an end-of-year round-up post on their blog about their games’ sales figures. The post included how many units sold or were downloaded for all their paid and free games they self-published on various platforms, including WiiWare. On January 4, Nintendo contacted Icon to request that they remove their sales information for their WiiWare titles, stating that they “don’t allow developers to publish the sales numbers of their self-published titles.”

Apparently, Nintendo didn’t give any reason for why they have this policy.  Are they worried that the figures might make their downloadable services look bad? Or do they simply want to keep more control over their developers? It isn’t clear. What is clear, however, is how damaging this policy is for indie developers.

“[This policy] projects all of the risk back to the developer, stops them gaining access to funding to help grow their business and essentially makes self-publishing on Nintendo platforms a huge gamble.”

All this is added to the fact that Nintendo already limits what developers can do with their titles. You can’t change the price once it’s set, you can’t offer demos or run any kind of promotions – all tools that developers traditionally use to create interest and increase sales.

“Nintendo’s policy actively makes life as difficult as possible for the smaller studios, putting jobs and livelihoods at risk.”

I have long had issues with Nintendo’s resistance to promotions and demos, and this seeming censorship of sales data seems like a way to hide the fact that their digital platforms are a joke. When will they learn from their mistakes, and stop punishing the developers who try to support them?

[Source: Icon Games Entertainment]