Nintendo, once a name synonymous with video game innovation and dominance, has merged its developer programs into a single portal, suggesting that the company could be looking to include independent game developers in its comeback plans.
Thanks to the overnight success of its new augmented reality mobile game, Pokémon Go, Nintendo is back in the spotlight and has seen its market capitalization skyrocket by billions of dollars in little more than a week. Pokémon Go now has more daily active users than Twitter, and higher user engagement than Facebook. And while the long-term sustainability of Pokémon Go's popularity remains to be seen, with global expansion underway, it appears likely that the Pokémon Go phenomenon is still in its early phases.
With its brand now back in the spotlight, Nintendo appears to be preparing to rebuild its relationship with independent game developers. As Geek.com's Jordan Minor explained, Nintendo's relationship with independent developers has been tumultuous as it sought to maintain quality. That created openings for competitors like Microsoft and Sony.
Last week, Nintendo put all of its developer programs under a single developer portal in a move designed to make it easier for developers to register to build games for its consoles. Notably, the developer portal states that "everybody is welcome" and encourages even those with no development experience to join. "We're here to help you regardless of your level of experience in game development."
Nintendo is offering developers access to all of its current consoles, and providing resources for a number of development technologies, including HTML5, Unity and C++. Once completed, developers can sell their games in the Nintendo eShop, setting their own prices and release dates.
While the game development landscape is far more competitive today, if Nintendo follows through on a newfound commitment to independent developers and can capitalize on the Pokémon Go buzz, it has the potential to build a more vibrant developer ecosystem that positions it for more success going forward.