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Wii Games

Game Devs Migrating Toward iPhone, Away From Wii 143

Posted by Soulskill
from the paper-toss-2-the-revenge dept.
A new report by Game Developer Research reveals that the number of developers working on games for the iPhone continues to rise, roughly doubling in number from last year. At the same time, the amount of work done on games for Nintendo's Wii dropped significantly: "Just over 70 percent of developers said they were developing at least one game for PC or Mac (including browser and social games), rising slightly from last year; 41 percent reported working on console games. Within that latter group, Xbox 360 was the most popular system with 69 percent of console developers targeting it, followed by 61 percent for PlayStation 3. While those console figures stayed within a few percent of last year's results, the change in Wii adoption was much more significant: reported developer support for the system dropped from 42 percent to 30 percent of console developers, supporting numerous publishers' claims of a recent softening of the Wii market."
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Game Devs Migrating Toward iPhone, Away From Wii

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  • False assumption? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThoughtMonster (1602047) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @02:05PM (#31047160) Homepage

    The summary seems to create the assumption that the same developers which are abandoning the Wii are moving to the iPhone.

    I'm not even sure how something like this would work. The economics are different, the scale is different, hell, even the target consumers are probably different.

    • by tepples (727027) <<tepples> <at> <gmail.com>> on Saturday February 06, 2010 @02:12PM (#31047206) Homepage Journal

      The summary seems to create the assumption that the same developers which are abandoning the Wii are moving to the iPhone.

      You're likely right. I imagine the recession starting in 2008 has slowed major label video game development in general, and a different group of developers are doing things on the iPhone. Unlike Wii Shop Channel, which requires developers to have a dedicated office and a successful commercial title on another platform, Apple's App Store model (almost an exact copy of Microsoft's Xbox Live Indie Games) is much friendlier to 1- and 2-man shops.

    • Re:False assumption? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06, 2010 @02:42PM (#31047378)

      Well, it's not completely wrong.
      We did some video games on Nintendo DS, it was easier for us to get a Wii (because we didn't have to do all the paperwork again and Nintendo knew us already) so we tried that.
      But it didn't work so well. If you don't sell more than 2000 or 3000 games on WiiWare, you don't get any money (and... we got nothing yet :) ).
      We tried a game on DSi (DSiWare) and our engine was already cross-platform so we ported it on the iPhone.
      I don't know if every studio like us did the same thing, but the Wii is dead. We don't know yet if the iPhone will be a viable platform for us, our game isn't out yet.

      • I'm sure it will be much easier to pump out shit games on the iPhone and make a bit of money.

        From my experience most publishers/developers complaining about their performance on the Wii are release sub-par software and assuming it will sell because casual gamers are stupid.
      • If your game is high quality, you need to hit Steam.

        But steam users love to complain about unstable shit, so if it isn't high quality, stay away. :P

        • PC party games (Score:3, Interesting)

          by tepples (727027)

          If your game is high quality, you need to hit Steam.

          Top sellers on Wii include Carnival Games, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mario Kart, and similar party favorites. These video games allow up to four players to join in without having to own a separate console, monitor, and copy of the game per player. The PC app store Steam, on the other hand, is limited by the comparatively small median monitor of a PC, where it's difficult for four players holding gamepads to see the screen. True, it is fairly easy to connect a PC to the VGA or HDMI input on an HDTV, thereby f

          • What does console vs PC have to do with it?

            Steam is a market. If your game gets on steam, and it's good, you're guaranteed 5 digit sales. Those are sales you would not have if you stuck with console-only distribution - and apparently the amount of sales is far superior to the Wii Shop channel.

            Your arguments are poorly thought out. Most console ports support the same controllers - often they require them for the best experience.

            is limited by the comparatively small median monitor of a PC

            What is this? Are you a console fanboy?

            My PC is more than capable of powering gam

            • What does console vs PC have to do with it?

              Steam is a market. If your game gets on steam, and it's good, you're guaranteed 5 digit sales. Those are sales you would not have if you stuck with console-only distribution - and apparently the amount of sales is far superior to the Wii Shop channel.

              Your arguments are poorly thought out. Most console ports support the same controllers - often they require them for the best experience.

              is limited by the comparatively small median monitor of a PC

              What is this? Are you a console fanboy?

              My PC is more than capable of powering games across multiple monitors. It could do it with a combined res of 4096x1152 just fine, giving almost 50 inches of beautifully dense pixels.

              But no PC games that I know of support such a hotseat mode. The limitations are with the software - not the hardware. (which is way way way superior)

              Berate PC games as being buggy featureless pieces of crap if you must, but don't insult the hardware. The hardware is awesome.

              You've never met tepples before, I see. He's had a hardon for split-screen type play from PCs for years, since he doesn't like the console lock-in.

            • If your game gets on steam, and it's good, you're guaranteed 5 digit sales.

              On a 6 digit budget game?

              But no PC games that I know of support such a hotseat mode. The limitations are with the software - not the hardware.

              And why does this software have such a limitation? Based on everything I've read in other Slashdot comments, it's because there aren't enough customers in the PC gaming market who have the appropriate hardware. Major-label PC games aimed at the median PC gamer are designed for the median PC monitor, which is smaller than the median console monitor. This in turn is because the median PC gamer is less of a hardcore enthusiast than someone like you who runs dual head 1080p-class monito

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by BikeHelmet (1437881)

                If your game gets on steam, and it's good, you're guaranteed 5 digit sales.

                On a 6 digit budget game?

                Some steam games sell 6 or 7 digits.

                Guaranteed 5 digits is pretty good. The iPhone has a guaranteed 2 digits, and the Wii only ~4. :P

                And why does this software have such a limitation? Based on everything I've read in other Slashdot comments, it's because there aren't enough customers in the PC gaming market who have the appropriate hardware. Major-label PC games aimed at the median PC gamer are designed for the median PC monitor, which is smaller than the median console monitor. This in turn is because the median PC gamer is less of a hardcore enthusiast than someone like you who runs dual head 1080p-class monitors. One person does not a market make.

                There are plenty of customers out there. What publishers don't grasp, is we're not all on their schedule. People upgrade at different times. Although there's a big burst on release, you could get a steady stream of sales for years after release, especially if you drop the price every once and a while.

                I know people with computers that will only play older games like Far Cry. Wh

          • by brkello (642429)
            You make absolutely no sense in the context of this thread. The Wii sells some party games. Some of them sell very well. What does that have to do with developers abandoning the platform? No one but you really cares about your own pet peeve.

            "But I get an impression from other Slashdot users" You might not want to base your opinion on what a few people on Slashdot say.
      • You're generalizing from the Download-Only market. The thing is that WiiWare is a minority platform where only a tiny amount of money is made. Nintendo are certainly keen to get into this growing market, but don't think it's going to edge in on their traditional market anytime soon.

    • Good point, but... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nobodyman (90587) on Saturday February 06, 2010 @02:51PM (#31047422) Homepage

      I largely agree with your statement, but I would imagine that there is are least *some* developers jumping ship from Wii (or, more likely, DS/DSi) to iPhone/iPod. And they're probably making games for the older consumers that Nintendo has been courting in recent years.

      For all the talk of Apple's restrictive policies, Nintendo's stance towards developers is almost draconian by comparison. Development kits for Nintendo hardware run into the thousands of $$$ -- assuming Nintendo even sells you a devkit, which they won't unless you're an established developer or you're being published by someone with a known track record. And unlike Apple which takes 30% off the top, Nintendo's cut is largely determined on a case-by-case basis (EA probably gets a much more lucrative deal than a small publisher.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        That will be the same for any console developer. iPhone is different in the sense that is much cheaper and anyone can buy a licence but then you also have to deal with the fact you can't compete directly with Apple or that your app will disappear from the app store or stupid reasons like mentioning Android.

        I think you're under-estimating Apple's nazi-like control over the app store. At least Nintendo won't let you release a game and then yank it off the shelves after it has launched and they will allow y
        • by mdwh2 (535323)

          I agree that there are open systems like Symbian or Android, but:

          The trade-off is that you have to cater for multiple phone types rather than having one set of hardware like the iPhone or Wii.

          There have now been three different Iphones, with differing hardware, so I'm not sure why this is any different to developing for more than one Nokia phone?

        • by brkello (642429)
          No, it isn't the same for any console developer. It is cheap and much less restrictive to develop for the 360. Nintendo has always been overly careful with their developers. But they do it in strange ways because there is probably more shovelware on the Wii this generation than any other console.
          • Producing games for live is much different from producing 360 disc based games. Likewise Nintendo is more lenient if you want to develop Wiiware rather than disc based games.

            That and according to the developers invtered last year in Edge, it's very hard to make money on live because there's so much shit on it. That doesn't really sound attractive to me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nightspirit (846159)

      The majority of Wii games are shovelware. These developers don't care about quality games, they care about maximum profit via little investment and ignorance. They probably throw a couple of Collins College graduates at a title and if it turns on and doesn't crash in 5 minutes it is good to go. It wouldn't surprise me if some of them said "learn to code for the iphone in a week, have something we can ship in 8".

      • by Toonol (1057698)
        Exactly. The Wii had the largest number of incompetent developers, by far, attracted by the smell of a quick buck from shovelware... and it's probably a good thing that they're jumping ship to an even more exploitative, fad-driven device.

        Hell, if a bunch of Wii developers move to the iPhone, the average quality of developers on both will rise. I don't think any important developers are going to abandon the Wii.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cgenman (325138)

        It wouldn't surprise me if some of them said "learn to code for the iphone in a week, have something we can ship in 8".

        My college has decided to focus its game development program on the iPhone, because they think it's the hot salable property. Just wait for the flood in 3, 2, 1...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ^_^x (178540)

      Exactly... if you program something for the iPhone, and Apple approves it, it's on the store. On the big 3 consoles, even if you're an amateur studio who gets their game published on there, you're still semi-pro - I guess a bit less so on XBLA since they're pretty open.

      I wouldn't be surprised if the raw number of developers was even 10x higher on iPhone - it's somewhere between computer and console in terms of available software. Now if companies like Capcom, Konami, Square-Enix, Sega, Namco, etc started dr

      • by cgenman (325138)

        Big 3 console development on disk require basically millions in development dollars. If you're on there, you're clearly pro. There is no such thing as an amateur studio on disk.

        Xbox Live Arcade, PSN, and Steam all require platform approval and lots in the bank. If you make it to one of these, you're basically pro. There are indies that do it, but they're professional indies.

        Xbox Indies and iPhone are the third tier platforms that will basically approve anything that doesn't crash.

    • The summary seems to create the assumption that the same developers which are abandoning the Wii are moving to the iPhone

      It creates no such assumption. The summary never says that the same developers are migrating.

  • Of course it's easier to make a game for the iPhone than the Wii, so more casual developers and small teams are going to start working on them. So as they enter game development, the percentage of Wii developers will decrease. But what about the total number of Wii developers? I am willing to bet they actually increased, stayed the same or slightly decreased. And the two platforms are not really comprable so that all this is, is some meaningless fistclenching by fans of Apple.

  • wrong conclusion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fritzed (634646) <Fritzed@gUUUmail.com minus threevowels> on Saturday February 06, 2010 @02:23PM (#31047274) Homepage
    This isn't a change in game developer preference, it is a change in the definition of game developer.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Exactly. The barrier for entry to develop for the iPhone is extremely small. Does it matter if there are 100x more "game developers" for the iPhone if 99% of the games are crap?

      • by tepples (727027)

        Does it matter if there are 100x more "game developers" for the iPhone if 99% of the games are crap?

        True, barriers to entry like having a dedicated office and having a prior commercial title on another platform (source: warioworld.com) are ostensibly supposed to sort wheat from chaff. But they also increase the chance of falsely rejecting a viable work, which means games not really meant for a PC at all have to get released on PC because neither of the two console makers with reliable hardware (Nintendo and Sony) will give a micro-ISV a chance.

  • Four years is around the time it took for the 5th and 6th generations to lose steam. Difference is next-gen no longer impresses anyone.

    People just want smaller, quieter, lower power.

  • like it matters... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 06, 2010 @02:35PM (#31047340)

    mostly all of nintendo's biggest games for wii or any of their platforms are developed in-house anyways, so it'll mean the heaps of crap disguised as games being thrown at the wii daily will be slightly less frequent, while the titles with actual quality behind them (not quality ideas, just quality presentation and design) won't be bothered

    • mostly all of nintendo's biggest games for wii or any of their platforms are developed in-house anyways

      What is the Wii's most successful third-party game, anyway? And how does it compare to the success of first-party titles? Does anyone know?

  • ...was its very weak multiplayer capability. The Xbox 360 player puts on the headphone/mic headset and is instantly talking to his circle of friends over the internet while navigating through a virtual world with them. The Wii does not allow the two-way voice communication with other players. If the Wii players want to gather in the same room and play they will find that there are very few Wii games with split-screen multiplayer capability. Taken together, this means the Wii is by and large, a solitary

    • by tepples (727027)

      What hurt the Wii [...] was its very weak multiplayer capability.

      Wii supports four Wii Remotes and four GameCube controllers per console. Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart Wii allow for up to four players, and I've read about Wii games that allow for up to five.

      The Wii does not allow the two-way voice communication with other players.

      They're in the same room; turn your head and speak to them. If not, try Wii Speak.

      If the Wii players want to gather in the same room and play they will find that there are very few Wii games with split-screen multiplayer capability.

      That's because a lot of popular game designs, such as those of Bomberman series or Smash Bros. series or New Super Mario Bros. Wii or several scenes in Mario Party series, show all player characters within the confines of a sui

      • by Sparton (1358159)

        What hurt the Wii [...] was its very weak multiplayer capability.

        Wii supports four Wii Remotes and four GameCube controllers per console. Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart Wii allow for up to four players, and I've read about Wii games that allow for up to five.

        Amusingly, there is a game that actually has a mode which allows up to 8 people to play simultaneously: Bust-A-Move Bash! [wikipedia.org]

        That said, that mode is fucking terrible, but it exists.

    • The Xbox 360 player puts on the headphone/mic headset and is instantly talking to his circle of friends over the internet while navigating through a virtual world with them. The Wii does not allow the two-way voice communication with other players. If the Wii players want to gather in the same room and play they will find that there are very few Wii games with split-screen multiplayer capability. Taken together, this means the Wii is by and large, a solitary experience unless the players take turns watching

    • by Mr2001 (90979)

      If the Wii players want to gather in the same room and play they will find that there are very few Wii games with split-screen multiplayer capability.

      Mario Kart, Mario Party, Super Smash Bros, New Super Mario Bros Wii... there are still plenty of simultaneous multiplayer games. Even Super Mario Galaxy has a limited 2-player mode.

      Taken together, this means the Wii is by and large, a solitary experience unless the players take turns watching each other play.

      This is pretty much the opposite of my experience. Also, don't discount taking turns: playing something like WarioWare or Wii Sports is still a social, multiplayer activity.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by hibiki_r (649814)

      If anything, it's the 360 that has crap for local multiplayer: How often do multiplayer games require a second console, and a second copy of the $60 game to run? And how many of the few games that support local coop do it through a badly implemented split screen?

      The best selling games on the Wii are mainly multiplayer games, look it up.

      • by brkello (642429)
        Parent post was a bit misguided. The Wii is the king of local multiplayer...no doubt. The 360 does multiplayer over the Internet much better. It's good to have competition.

        The drawback for the Wii is that (at least with people I know) we don't have people over every day...so most people's Wii's are gather dust until they have a party every few months whereas people are always playing their 360. Also, the 360 tends to attract people who buy more games. Where the Wii hit a whole new market of people who
  • There were a great many terrible games that came out on the Wii that were made under the notion that 'those idiots will buy anything'. No matter how profitable the console, crappy games wont sell. They looked only at the install base, and made assumptions that did not hold up in reality. It also does not help that the Wii presents some interesting problems for developers; The marketing angle of 'this is not a typical game machine' worked a bit too well. This is why some companies (Ubisoft and EA) are n

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