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It's Hard to Make a Game When Nintendo Doesn't Use Xbox Live, Says Dev

Illustration for article titled Its Hard to Make a Game When Nintendo Doesnt Use Xbox Live, Says Dev

An unidentified developer of a third-party game that launched with the Wii U—and man, that shouldn't be too hard to narrow down—has written for Eurogamer a thorough post-mortem of his studio's experience developing for the console. It touches familiar themes of the console's struggles, but in a more detailed, firsthand way.

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The money quote, though, comes from his team's dealings with Nintendo as they tried to build their game's online capabilities even though support for them would be coming very late in the console's development. His team would offer certain scenarios to Nintendo to ask how things might work, "all the time referencing how Xbox Live and PSN achieve the same thing.

"At some point in this conversation we were informed that it was no good referencing Live and PSN as nobody in their development teams used those systems (!) so could we provide more detailed explanations for them?"

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Nintendo's inexperience with online systems and features is the biggest shortcoming the writer outlines in his recap. Indeed, they're why the Wii U needed that crushing, 1GB mandatory day one patch: Basically, he says, Nintendo was still working on its network operating system as the console was being manufactured. (Indeed, Nintendo wouldn't start shipping consoles that didn't need the patch until well into 2013.)

Launch day came around and the answer became clear: Nintendo was late—very late—with its network systems. In fact, the only way to access their systems fully was to download a big patch on day one that added all these missing components. Without that patch a lot of the release titles would have been only semi-functional.

The remainder of the piece adds an informed, technical underpinning to the notion that, in terms of performance, the Wii U rests more in the spectrum of the previous console generation than the current one. Nintendo wanted it to consume less power so the machine would have a quiet living room aesthetic, he writes, thus its processor "might even struggle to do current-gen (PS3 and X360) titles."

All this raises a legitimate question about the console's future, if third-party studios are faced with developing a title that can sell better on two high-powered consoles, and the effort needed to port it onto a poorly selling platform. "The notion of next-gen titles being easily portable to the Wii U just doesn't work," he says. "The gulf in power is just too high," and other features are incompatible.

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"The first-party developers at Nintendo will make the hardware sing—they always do—but the situation looks grim for those of us in third-party development."

It's a long, warts-and-all read, definitely worth your time on a Sunday.

Secret Developers: Wii U—The Inside Story[Eurogamer]

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DISCUSSION

roninsakana
Demosthenes

As much as I'd like to jump on the "Nintendo is out of touch with hardware development" bandwagon, I'm looking over at my PS4 and Xbone collecting just as much dust. This "next gen" has been a huge disappointment.

There are a few games on the Wii-U I've enjoyed: Super Mario 3D World, Game & Wario, Nintendo Land, etc.

There is really only one game I've been enjoying on my Xbone: Killer Instinct.

There is nothing I've been enjoying on my PS4: We bought Battlefield 4 and that bug-ridden POS hasn't been played since the 5th time it lost all of my progress. Resogun was a nice distraction but has since been played out and is no longer fun for anyone in the house now.

Also, of note, the Wii-U is the ONLY one of these systems (besides my PC - Master Race, FTW!) that isn't demanding a monthly ransom to access its multiplayer components or other "services." It's also the only system on this list (other than my PC) that is backwards compatible.

If this is the direction gaming is going, I may just have to look for a job elsewhere and be comfortable knowing I already own what I'll be playing for the rest of my gaming days. F*** this industry and the feminists/social-justice warriors, short-sighted businessmen and dead weight cronies that have parasitically led to this.