I would like to ask a question about the development environment. I believe that it was wise to merge home console and handheld device development. The integration will lower the software development costs and possibly contribute to higher-quality software, and that will lead to higher profit levels. On the other hand, I assume that Nintendo’s support for third-party developers, especially the overseas developers, is still weak. For example, I would say Nintendo faces the challenge in retaining overseas software developers. Also, I heard that though Nintendo has put effort into the Nintendo Web Framework so that people can develop software using web technologies, I heard that it is difficult to get licensed in Japan. I know Nintendo is a very powerful company itself, still Nintendo will be able to achieve higher profit levels by retaining third-party developers. For it is vital to increase the sales of hardware, I believe you need to increase the hardware sales by having other software developers release attractive software. I would like to know your vision from this perspective.
The integration of development environments is quite technical, but in short, it is whether you use Nintendo’s original developing tool or a computer with readily available, standard developing tools when you develop video games for Nintendo platforms. Though we always try to create unique software content, we believe it would be efficient if we could integrate development tools. So, we are trying to gradually move toward the standard development tools from so-called “native” tools unique to Nintendo.
Susumu Tanaka (Director and General Manager of Licensing Division):
I would like to explain our approach toward the third-party software developers. As for the current numbers of software developers for our platforms, in the U.S. there are about 40 companies developing software for Nintendo 3DS, and about 20 companies for Wii U. The numbers of developers are almost the same in Europe. If we add companies that develop downloadable software to these numbers, in the U.S., there are about 130 companies for Nintendo 3DS and about 200 companies for Wii U. In Europe, there are about 160 companies for Nintendo 3DS and as for Wii U, about 115 companies. And in Japan, there are about 140 companies for Nintendo 3DS and about 35 companies for Wii U. I would say quite a few companies have interest in developing software for our platforms. Regarding Nintendo 3DS, since the end of last year, several titles developed by third-party software developers have sold more than one million units in Japan, and the number of titles is increasing. You may think there is a shortage of software titles overseas for there is no noticeable smash hit; however, the number of titles is greater than in Japan, even for packaged software.
With regard to Wii U, it is true that the number of titles is still limited and there is no huge hit from software developed by third-party publishers. For one reason, this is because the penetration of Wii U hardware has been slower than expected and this situation makes developers a bit wary of developing software for Wii U. We would like to continuously develop strong first-party software to drive hardware sales so that other developers feel confident to move into Wii U software development.
On the other hand, Nintendo 3DS has already shown significant penetration, with the Japanese market as the forerunner, and many companies are actively developing software for it. These days, applications originally for smart devices have been made for Nintendo 3DS and there are million-selling titles among them. App developers are more willing to develop software for Nintendo 3DS because of the situation, and we at Nintendo are also looking at the popular smart device applications with the prospect of expanding our line of Nintendo 3DS titles. I hope you keep looking forward to our upcoming titles. Thank you.
— The 74th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders
Source: Nintendo JP.
…Wanna play? Buy a Wii U.
And if you’ve already got yours, here are all the games already available on the platform. 😀