Nintendo Doesn't Want 'Garage Developers,' Drawing A Line That Puts Apple On The Other SideS

Sharpening a divide between the version of the games industry they like and the version in which they don't want to participate, Nintendo has stated that it doesn't want to work with "garage" developers.

The very people responsible for many of the good and many more of the godawful games on the iPhone and other amateur-friendly gaming platforms are not people Nintendo wants to work with to create and sell video games.

"I would separate out the true independent developer vs. the hobbyist," Nintendo of America president Fils-Aime told Gamasutra's Chris Morris during a recently published interview. "We are absolutely reaching out to the independent developer."

"Where we've drawn the line is we are not looking to do business today with the garage developer. In our view, that's not a business we want to pursue."

Fils-Aime's comments were an intentional echo of the remarks made by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata during his keynote address at the Game Developer's Conference earlier this month (a keynote against which and literally across the street from which Apple's Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad 2). In his address to developers, Iwata avoided mentioning Apple but lamented the influence of companies that make mobile platforms that run games but aren't built around games, saying "the value of video game software does not matter to them." He championed the craftsmanship of dedicated developers and lamented the supposed devaluing effect of free and one-dollar games.

To some developers in Iwata's audience, Nintendo's position was the needed counterattack to an Apple model that prices games so low that it's hard to make a profit, let alone a living, off of selling them. To others, it was a sign that Nintendo is afraid of Apple's encroachment on portable gaming that's long been dominated with Nintendo Game Boys and DSes.

It's not clear where the line does divide between Fils-Aime's hobbyists and indies, though in the Gamasutra piece he suggested there's a difference between people who make games for their day jobs and those who do them on the side. Is Nintendo really that dismissive of those people who have to clock in at something other than game-making? That's hard to say, but Iwata himself has seemed to be awfully fond of developers who bootstrapped themselves to greatness.

Surely, Nintendo doesn't want to leave game-making to the pros and to their fans?

If you're in a garage, though, go make your game for the iPhone. Or Windows Phone 7. Or Xbox Live Indie Games. Or the PC. Or Android. Leave Nintendo alone.

Interview: Reggie Fils-Aime On Garage Devs And The Value Of Software [Gamasutra]