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Nintendo Developer Portal (nintendo.com)
399 points by aseipp on July 13, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 162 comments



I previously worked with the Nintendo Web Framework to bring one of my HTML5 games to the Wii U[1].

NWF itself is quite polished and very easy to work with. You get all the dev tools you know from Chrome – the debugger connects directly to the console. "Porting" my game was very straight forward for the most part.

However, the hardware setup was clunky. You're swapping out SD cards to install images with the system software and the account setup is really tedious.

The worst part was the whole paperwork you have to wade through. The game submission process is as manual as it gets. There's no nice web interface to tie it all together - instead you're writing emails, filling out PDFs and Excel Sheets(!). Hundreds of emails.

I can only hope that they improved the paperwork part. This was all about 2 years ago.

[1] http://phoboslab.org/log/2014/07/xtype-plus-an-html5-game-fo...


Having lived in Japan on and off for the past decade, this is just par for the course for a Japanese company. If you wanted to get anything done, it's done via fax. God knows why, that's just how it is. Everywhere.

edit: I'm referring specifically to the need for lots of paperwork


Was it worth the trouble?


Financially? Not really. I made about $30k from the game in total. It's a very simple game, though. Nothing you'd expect big sales numbers from.


I guess that depends on how quickly you made the game and how many games you could make like that. Would the paperwork be the same amount for your second game? If not, it sounds like it'd be worthwhile to try to churn out simple games this way in the evenings/weekends (think: flappy bird, 2048, etc) and make a decent profit on the side.


Did it take you less than about 8 full time months to make the game? If so you just made the median salary in the US for full time work.


I think the real question is whether he made more money than he would have otherwise in the same time, not where his earnings compare to the median employer.


Median salary in general is a meaningless comparison. You'd need to compare it to someone in their field.


Would WebGL games be compatible do you know?


If I'm reading this right, it'll cost at least $2,285.00 to get the minimum setup needed for development. Said that I can't use my existing Nintendo 3DS, 3DS XL, or new 3DS. Thanks, Nintendo! :/


That is about half the common cost for a devkit. Plus the 3DS and WiiU devkits are not just regular devices with a swapped ROM. They are special hardware run. If you have a publisher you could ask to borrow theirs. My last company was using one borrowed from the client.

Sadly Nintendo less connections oriented. Sony lends devkits for free pretty often if you can convince them your game is going to be good.


Well, if you need to run flashed carts, then yes, they are custom hardware. Downloadable titles can be debugged and run on normal 2DS/3DS hardware with the IS-SNAKE according to the site, which still costs over $2K. The dev units themselves are fairly reasonably priced considering they'll have additional memory for debug builds, etc, and cost a reasonable amount - the problem is the flash card writer and debugger hardware that is needed to actually use them.


couldnt they just do some sort of dev signing?


Actually, I was wrong, the IS-SNAKE is a complete "New 3DS" dev kit. These devices are resource constrained, so you need more memory, CPU, etc to be able to properly debug anything on these devices.


I remember writing games for a gameboy in an assembly class in college. We had to use an unofficial emulator because Nintendo wouldn't even give an official dev kit to schools. That should be an obvious opportunity to gain some new Nintendo game developers...


I liked writing PowerPC assembly to turn LEDs on but your class sounds way more fun.


Playstation is more or less expensive depending how you go. XBOX is way cheaper, almost free (to start development). I would explicitly say but there are a ton of scary documents you have to sign.


This isn't too big of a cost if you're looking to actually publish on the platform, but it is a pretty big fixed cost if you're just looking to goof around on the platform.

Maybe someone can clarify if this is the starting cost. From my reading, at minimum you need one of the CTR devices or (EDIT)IS-SNAKE devices to do anything.

Would have loved if I could just buy one of the dev-only Pandas 3DSs for $200 even if it meant not being allowed to use carts (since I didn't have a writer).

Given how dirt-cheap DS flash carts are, us hobbyists are probably better sticking to that for now...


3DS: Cheapest/minimum option for small teams with download-only titles

    *IS-SNAKE-BOX
*Note: A single IS-SNAKE-BOX unit is enough hardware for developing a download-only title. Card title development requires a CTR flash card for guideline checks.

==== WiiU:

Engineers

Each engineer will need a CAT-DEV kit for development.

Testing

For testing, CAT-R kits will need to be used. They closely emulate a retail Wii U. CAT-R kits can run games that have been burned to CAT-R discs, and they can also run images installed to the system via SD card. They cannot run retail Wii U games.

And you can run your soft on CFW'd 3DS or WiiU, but don't tell N about that.


You can purchase an IS-SNAKE and develop download-only titles with normal 2DS/3DS hardware according to the site.


10 years ago our studio (indie in pre-indie times) tried to purchase the NDS dev kit and it costs something like 50k USD (if I still remember it correctly) and tons of due diligence for a chance to play with it as having game actually published involved another process.


Hopefully that's a good thing though. It's not a completely inaccessible price but hopefully it should be enough to stall an Apple Store type race to the bottom of flappy birds and other clones.


Quite cheap given how developer programs are usually set up on the games industry.


Not really, considering that PC development requires no special licenses or hardware, beyond what the average consumer already has.


I was thinking about the console developer programs.

The PCs are just a part of the games industry.


That's not true. My gaming PC costs about that much, and normal consumers don't have something like that.


Would you have been able to develop for it on a budget rig?

Of course a nicer computer always helps, but honestly, even nano and gcc on a Pi can get you pretty far. There's a huge difference between "download this free software on your existing computer" and "beg us to sell you this $2k+ machine that will ONLY work for this one task".


I would not develop software meant to run on specialized hardware like a modern gaming computer on something less powerful than the target platform. That's just asking for trouble.


Actually seems pretty reasonable.


Is unofficial homebrew on consumer hardware an option?


3DS homebrew scene is thriving right now. Do not ever attempt to use these docs or toolchains to create HB. Or have your ass litigated, your choice.

https://www.3dbrew.org/wiki/Main_Page http://wiki.gbatemp.net/wiki/List_of_3DS_homebrew https://www.reddit.com/r/3dshacks


I meant you could do the development on inexpensive consumer hardware, without even a developer license. Then, when you have something worthwile to show a publisher, you could arrange a devkit.


I think low level system libraries (homebrew FLOSS libctru vs whatever is inside the NDA'd sdk) must differ a lot. So much porting would not be feasible.


Looks like there is some slight activity[1], but the old Wii had a pretty active scene[2].

[1]: http://wiiubrew.org/wiki/Main_Page

[2]: http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Main_Page


Well, if you are a business in Europe, that cost will be tax deductible anyway.


Working in the japanese game industry it feels like Nintendo is ramping up in a big way for the NX.So I assume this revamp is more in prep for the NX than it is for the WiiU.


"We don't care about these platforms anymore, so let's open it for indy crapware"


More like 'let's bring in some new blood, since nobody gives a fuck about a next gen Mario platform anymore'. Their titles have been skinned so many times, they no longer carry the weight of a platform. I think they are looking to get developers on their platform before pushing new hardware, so that they have a baseline of titles and people working in their ecosystem already.

This is a necessity when pushing new hardware these days. Remember the Vita? Neither do I...


I remember the Vita, but only because I'm surrounded by the things.

Open a drawer? There's probably 8 of them lying around.


Um... why?


I work at Sony R&D


More like 'let's bring in some new blood, nevermind it will be indy crapware'.

http://www.iplaypsvita.com/upcoming-ps-vita-games-2016/


Seriously, Nintendo needs some new IP, Mario and Zelda are played out.

I wonder if anybody under 25 has any idea who half the characters in Super Smash Bros are?


>Mario and Zelda are played out.

The last 4 Mario games of this generation (New SMB, 3D world, 3D land, Mario Maker) have all been amazing, unique titles.

Zelda is a little bit harder, because the IP is a bit more restrictive. I honestly haven't played one since Twilight Princess (which I thought was great). The upcoming Breath of the Wild looks incredible though.

I hope they never stop making Mario and Zelda games, as long as they stay consistent with their innovation and creativity. To me, saying that they should stop, is like suggesting that they should stop making Bond movies.


New SMB U was practically a level pack.

Super Mario 3D Land/World feel manufactured to me. They have good ideas but it's just a bare series of levels. Barely any secrets. Nothing new other than the cat suit. Just feels like a dumbed-down version of 64/Sunshine/Galaxy with a SMB3 world map.

Mario Maker is a simpler version of Lunar Magic, and far less powerful; but far easier to use. Unique? No.

I've been playing Mario forever, and the games are consistently polished, but they need new ideas, not just rehashes of older ones. They're getting old.


I'm not so sure. My nieces and nephews all under 13 don't talk about nintendo, the way kids in the 90's did.

They talk about call of duty, minecraft,playstation 4 and various ios android games. I asked them if they wanted me to buy them a wii u, and they said no. They wanted a steam gift card instead.

Personally I think Nintendo is losing relevance with the new generation.


Could you say more about this? I'm interested in your perspective.


The PoGo game must be giving Nintendo believers a big morale boost.


I think you're right, because of halo effect. I'm really not a gamer, but I've been playing Pokémon Go a lot this week - the news today reminded me about the Nintendo NX, and I'd now consider getting one, where previously I wouldn't even think about it. Pokémon Go might be bringing new customers into the market (Blue Ocean Strategy style), much like the original Wii did.


Yes and no. Moving games to mobile platforms is a downward spiral, eating the future of Nintendo consoles.


I disagree, as long as the experience is right.

Nintendo have been hesitant because they don't want to dilute and diminish their IP, but if the experience is nailed (PoGo is close enough to nailing it, and should only get better) then the IP should only be bolstered by the mobile version.

On the flipside, a traditional Mario / DK / whatever title on mobile for example would eat away at their console market, which is what they're aiming to avoid.


The problem is nobody is willing to pay $30 - $40 for a mobile game. Even in the top 100 paid apps the most expensive game is minecraft which is priced at 6.99€. The only way a true pokemon mobile game can happen is with in-app purchases which results in bad incentives for the developers.


For an example of this, see "Pocket Mortys", which is an Adult Swim app based on Cartoon Network's "Rick and Morty" show.

It is easy to imagine that someone could just re-skin the game engine with the official Pokemon licensed IP and put in a Pokemon-world map to connect all the levels together.


> The problem is nobody is willing to pay $30 - $40 for a mobile game.

Good Nintendo games could be very profitable at $5 to $10 per title on iOS and Android because of the volume.


>The problem is nobody is willing to pay $30 - $40 for a mobile game

People spend way more than that on subscription models and micro-transactions. Look at Fallout Shelter, Crossy Road, Fallen London (really niche, but still has a strong active base of around 30k MAU).


But that's not a bulk $30-$40 up front. If I buy a game for $30 and play it for 5 hours over 1 month before calling it quits, I'm out $30. No way around that. If I download a free game with a $4.99 subscription model and spend the same amount of time over the course of 1 month, I'm out $4.99.

$30 is a hard sell on mobile games, because most people understand that app store is full of incomplete, unpolished, dishonest, over-hyped or some combination thereof apps. There are terrible Pac-Man clones where the AI is too dumb to even touch you [citation needed]. Conversely, there are ported popular franchises where your game play is severely limited by micro-transactions or artificial time limits.

Ignoring bad control schemes, mobile is damn near the perfect platform for gaming. Everyone carries a phone or tablet. Even kids carry phones. Too bad it remains somewhat tainted by bad developers and greedy companies alike.


> Ignoring bad control schemes

That's the whole point. Mobile devices aren't the perfect platforms for gaming. They have the worst control scheme, which makes it all but impossible to pull off great games in "traditional" genres (platformers, shooters; in fact, now that I think about it, anything with a movable camera). So we get new things that don't require a decent controller, but have the gameplay dumbed down to compensate.

This is why the 3DS still sells. It's incredibly difficult to put out a good AAA game on a phone (and forget about selling it for a reasonable price).


Hence why I said near. Touch will never replace traditional controls in some genres. Others, as you've said, require game play modifications to account for lack of physical buttons.

My point was not that mobile > mobile console. My point was that companies want to capitalize on mobile since is always available by most people. Even though you can make a lot of decent ports for mobile (e.g. swipe input instead of a joystick for Pac-Man or turn-based menu combat like Pokemon entries), a $30 price point is too high for nearly all games specifically for reasons that we have both cited: am I getting a full game or a watered down POS, are the controls sane, do I have to put up with ads after every event, etc.


I'm a big fan of the model where the initial game is reasonably priced and DLC in the form of additional levels or missions is available. If I don't like the game, no big deal because I'm out $10 or less. If I do like it, I can keep buying more of it.


If you can play Pokemon on mobile, you won't buy next 3DS, plain and simple.


I don't think that's true, at least when it comes to Pokemon Go.

Playing Pokemon Go has inspired me to dig out my ancient gameboy and to start playing Pokemon again. I'm strongly considering buying a new Nintendo device—I'd forgotten how fun Pokemon is.


Totally anecdotal but I had the same experience. Playing Pokemon Go prompted me to go on a nostalgia-fest and purchase red and green on VC for my 3DS. I wouldn't be surprised if the core game sales are seeing an uptick from the interest around Pokemon Go if for no reason other than it reminds those of us that were around for the original Pokemon surge.


Pokemon Go got me hyped up for Sun & Moon and the drive to finally go through Omega Ruby which I had sitting installed on my SD card forever but never bothered to beat the first gym.


That was my point - PoGo is not really like main series Pokemon games. They share some similarities in terms of game mechanics, but overall they are quite different.


Pokemon Go is enough for the vast majority of users, who are potential mobile Nintendo console buyers.

Margin is crucial between "I've got Pokemon game" and "I have no Pokemon game".

"You've got Pokemon game on your phone, but they say there's a some other Pokemon game which maybe have some others features, but that would cost you $300" is not an unique selling proposition.


I'm really not sure that's true. Most Pokemon fans I know do care about features like ... training, and battle, and story.


But aren't margins higher on games than hardware?


> Nintendo generates more revenue with their hardware (consoles + handhelds + accessories + other) than with their software (retail + digital + royalties).

> Furthermore, their hardware gives them a base for their own software sales, for accessory-sales, royalties and the possibility for their own online infrastructure

http://www.zeldainformer.com/articles/a-deeper-analysis-of-n...


I think that is why they made the experiences so vastly different.


Of course they was trying to made is different, but it's just trying to minimize the damage.


Emulators on mobile devices that can play pokemon have been around for a long time, but they yield a much worse experience (IMO) then portable consoles.

If I had to guess this is both tactile and graphical, as touchscreens and mobile graphics libs were not designed especially for them.

I still think they have a broad appeal for Nintendo fans.


I wouldn't buy it anyway. I already have a gaming device in my pocket, with a plethora of other options, the only person missing out is Nintendo for not putting their IP on it.


Playing games on a touch-screen is really not fun, for me at least. I like actual tactile buttons and sticks.


I think it is only good for RTS, but sadly there aren't many interesting ones.


It depends a lot on the game. My kids love those musical games where the screen scrolls and you have to tap on the notes.


Out of the last 4 Nintendo consoles, only the Wii has been doing well compared to the competition at the time (by a small margin), with the others only selling 10-30% as much units.

I think they see the writing on the wall and want to diversify.


The 3DS is a huge success too.


The 3DS is a success, but I wouldn't say a huge success. The DS was a huge success, and has sold 100 million more units than the 3DS. The 3DS is a huge success compared to the Wii U though.


The risk is huge.

You can do crap Mario for mobile, and nobody cares and you got bad PR and sales of consoles go south.

You can do great Mario for mobile, and everybody got Mario for free and sales of consoles go south.

Running between these scenarios is tough.


"everyone got Mario for free" huh?? So you are suggesting that all the mobile games are not earning money


Comparing to the price of console games plus price of console it's free.


It's still important to note that newer gamers are becoming more and more unwelcoming of non-free or at least "high" priced games. I remember loads of people throwing a hissy fit about Overwatch being $40, despite it being a very well polished AAA title.

I don't know how much longer the game industry can expect its target audience to spend $60 each on piles of games. Things have been trending towards freemium for long enough that it almost seems weird when the game that everyone's playing is not free(ish).

My point being, if enough people aren't buying console+game anymore, would the opportunity cost of doing it on mobile instead be that bad?


You can do nothing and have only your eyes to cry down the road.


Don't throw your IP to mobile market is not 'do nothing'.


On the other hand - a failed console won't result in the company coming to a halt like Sega.


Sega has done alright doing what Nintendo delayed to do, which is just becoming a third party developer for other platforms.


> Sega has done alright

O_RLY


Just like moving to the PC was a downward spiral for IBM?


I made an investment in a CAT-DEV more than a year ago. It was very hard to get working and their support wasn't great. Their forums were a lot better and I could find answers by reading threads. They use the Green Hills Multi Compiler and a version that doesn't even support C++11 yet. If you wanted Visual Studio support you had to be a member of Wario World developer program, in which I was denied, because they thought that having more than one idea meant you couldn't complete even one of those.

I'll check this out again now and see how the offerings have changed.


You know what would really matter is if they'd let me make an HTTP request from their devices. Not sure that's ever going to happen. I can understand why they have always locked that down, but at some point the possibilites have to outweigh the risks.


I think it already "really matters" that one of the companies that's had the least open platforms for a decade is making such a dramatic shift.


Yeah that's true. The ability to self-publish is a huge deal, and very surprising from Nintendo.


Anyone, with a few thousand dollars to spend on development hardware.


There is no native dev option either. You're locked to Unity3D or web...


Once I log in, I can download a bunch of things on their download page[0] for the 3DS, including a native toolchain (ARMCC) and various versions their low-level C library (nlib).

[0] https://developer.nintendo.com/group/development/wtc6ppr2/do...


IIRC, they used to have a requirement that devkit stuff be kept in a locked, dedicated space, like an office, and a "home office" room supposedly wasn't good enough. Did they get rid of that?


You recall correctly. I had to sign that this was the case and be willing to verify that if they asked. I kept mine locked in a cabinet.


Unsure, but I have a friend who had a Wii U devkit and they just kept it in their apartment. This was part of an indie developer outreach program.


Most likely. The FAQ states that home offices are acceptable (Second question from the bottom).


To be fair, it's not like it was difficult to sign up for a WiiU devkit before - nintendo had a very indie-friendly WiiU access program for more than a year now. 3DS access is new and much appreciated.


Nintendo exclusive games are mostly what sells the consoles ("software sells hardware").

Right now Nintendo is mostly making remakes of their existing games and non-Nintendo publishers don't get to receive the same amount of attention/sales.


I don't think this could have saved the Wii U from its mediocre fate, but if only this were available from Day 1...


Wasn't it? I don't know about the 3DS, but I think this was up from very early on in the Wii U's lifecycle: http://web.archive.org/web/20160330230414/https://wiiu-devel...


It's a strange thing that these companies seem only to open their platforms to development in a tardy and reluctant manner, Microsoft being a case in point - "developers, developers, developers" was the cheerleading chant from Steve Ballmer, unless of course the developers wanted to code for Xbox. They've opened it now I believe but again - extremely late in the game.

Meanwhile, Apple welcomes developers from day one and there are so many applications developed that it's hard to get user attention amongst the app store noise.


That's nonsense. When the iPhone launched it did so without a native app SDK, which was by far the biggest criticism leveled against it from the tech audience. They fixed it, but it wasn't day-one. And didn't the Apple TV launch without an app SDK initially, too?

Meanwhile gaming consoles are obviously not open platforms, but the vendors /do/ usually entertain developer relations from day one - I can't recall any launches with only first-party games.

Considering you can't deploy to iOS without Apple's approval, it's really not any more open than gaming consoles. The App Store and its approval process just operate at a larger scale, they're not conceptually more welcoming.


My understanding was that the SDK at release 1.0 would have been terrible, and an expensive maintenance burden. The internal teams rushed hack jobs just to get the first iPhone out the door, there was a _lot_ of internal bugs and half-baked APIs.

So if you're arguing Apple is hostile to developers because they didn't have an SDK on launch day, then you haven't thought through what iterative development at very large scale actually requires. Giving developers access to tools that aren't ready isn't the best criteria.


I do think Apple is hostile to developers, because I don't want a vendor to get inbetween me and my user audience, but that problem applies equally to iOS devices and gaming consoles.

I didn't argue that point in my post. I'm aware the reasons for the iPhone not having a SDK on day one and the reasons for why gaming console vendors don't have a mass developer relations story are very different.

The more interesting point is that developer relations for gaming consoles and iOS devices are really conceptually pretty similar: Both require you to ask the device vendor for permission to ship your app. It's equally walled gardens.


> I don't want a vendor to get inbetween me and my user audience, but that problem applies equally to iOS devices and gaming consoles.

So, pre-iPhone, the market for downloadable apps for mobile phones was huge and there wasn't any intermediary parties (like, say, network operators) getting in the way of developers, right?


On my Palm Treo, apps were plentiful and there was no intermediary.


And widely used by millions of people?


Yes, several million Treos alone were sold, and the Palm ecosystem was much larger than just the Treo line. http://blog.treonauts.com/2006/03/sales_double_ov.html

For a number of years, Palm OS was the dominant mobile ecosystem, with sales almost double of its main competitor WindowsCE.


Several million devices sold ≠ several million people buying software for device.


Where did I say that again?


I don't really disagree with your point but literally every other mobile and smartphone platform that existed before the iPhone was released with an SDK at 1.0.


anyone who has launched titles on a gaming-platform-to-be will be able to tell you about half-baked APIs. :-)

A buggy, half-baked API is better than no API at all, though.


And you have not read the comment he/she is replying to:

Meanwhile, Apple welcomes developers from day one and there are so many applications developed that it's hard to get user attention amongst the app store noise.


Yes, the original commenter was taking issue on the literal point of whether or not there was an SDK on day one as stated in the top level comment, not with the (somewhat obvious) broader point that Apple enthusiastically embraced third party developers for iPhone.

But that's HN for you - we are all a bunch of pedants who love to point and yell when something is incorrect - I include myself.


Not all of us. Some of us are not. Well, I may do it but I don't love it. So you're wrong!


I can't recall any launches with only first-party games.

The N64 launched with only Nintendo titles, but it launched with only 2 titles, and was in some ways a fiasco. Some third party developers had got cold feet during the pre launch period and jumped ship to Sony.


Thankfully for them, one of those two titles (Mario 64) was mindblowing for the time (and still fun today), and it was worth getting the console just for that alone.

I don't know if new consoles could get away with that anymore though, since there's so many other options out there for games nowadays.


OK not literally day one but developer support for iPhone was obviously a key early priority, as opposed to Microsoft and Nintendo which seem(ed) unconvinced that anyone except appointed developers should be allowed to write code for their platforms.

True that the Apple TV thing was not programamable till recently but I gotta say there's alot wrong with the AppleTV - it seems to be pretty blah and nothing and found no real definitive identity - a wasted opportunity on Apple's part.


It was Web Apps only originally and that was the battle call from Apple. It wasn't until GeoHot (and others) rooted the phone and we got app stores like Cydia that Apple really started to care.

It was with the launch of the iPhone 3G when they came out with the SDK + App Store and it was a really well executed coup.

Do you know how you got software on your phone before the iPhone? Getjar or side-loading (with a proprietary cable almost no one had with apps that would sometimes hard break your phone).


The biggest kickers for Apple were:

a) Sensible means of payment, no need to setup credit card processing, do deals with carriers etc for developers. Oh and no carrier lockdown on installing applications.

b) Macs going x86 based so you could develop for Windows / Linux and Apple all on the one box.

Basically Apple managed to make it possible for small dev shops to work on the iPhone without spending huge amounts of cash AND get money from consumers.


Is there anything published that shows the true history of Apple's intentions for developer support and on the iPhoine and when in time?


Jailbreakers like to take credit but the App Store launched so relatively soon after the iPhone it's hard to believe it wasn't in the works from the beginning. A year to create all that tooling and polishing the APIs and building the store infrastructure seems on the mark.


It's hard to pinpoint exactly when Apple changed their minds, but Jobs was very clear in the original iPhone keynote that the Web was the intended development platform for the iPhone and that not having an SDK was a strength — no hints about a native SDK in the near future or anything. Here's a good article showing Apple's original stance, with additional information from the Steve Jobs biography: http://9to5mac.com/2011/10/21/jobs-original-vision-for-the-i...


This is the same Steve Jobs who said there would never be an iPod that did video about a year before they did so.

They may have had the app store model planned out from the start for the next version of the iPhone, but didn't want to talk about it when releasing the first version because that would highlight the shortcomings of the existing product and cut into sales. But you still have to have an answer to the question of how you make software for the new product, so they say build web apps.


I believe they had the appstore and sdk planned all along, but couldn't get it ready in time.

Rather than saying, "we will have an sdk too, sometime", they played it off as intentional, and continued working on it silently. There is just no way they built it all in the single year from the release of the iphone.


Well, yeah, nobody thinks they built it all in a single year. The SDK largely just publicized a subset of Apple's existing private APIs that they used to make their own apps. Foundation, UIKit, etc. — that stuff was already there, but you couldn't use it without jailbreaking your phone. Here's an article running down all the stuff that was included with the original iPhone, from almost a year before the SDK was announced: http://www.roughlydrafted.com/2007/07/16/iphone-os-x-archite...


Obviously, most apis themselves were done at the iphone launch, and wouldn't take much more work.

The rest, all the infrastructure needed to have a working app store would be a much more substantial project. It is this part that would be difficult to build in a single year, and would have had to be in the pipeline when Jobs made his statement.


Apple already had the iTunes Store and a lot of very mature associated infrastructure. The App Store was built on that, and a year sounds like a pretty generous estimate for the project.


The best source I know of on early iPhone is the Nitin Ganatra episodes of the Debug Podcast [0]. He was in charge of the early iOS apps from before the iPhone shipped so he talked about those days. Those podcasts and the ones he did with Don Melton (former head of Safari team at Apple) are all excellent for getting insight into behind the scenes at Apple.

[0] http://www.imore.com/debug


Not really.

A major reason for the early game industry crash was that the "openness" led to a incredible amount of "shovelware" games that overloaded consumers with bad choices.

In fact the NES being closed in a very heavy handed manner (for example you had limit of games per year per publisher!) was seen as a good thing that helped rebuild the industry.

Now we are seeing this with mobile, where something like only 1% of the products have decent profits, or steam, that is slowly getting filled with crappy games that are outpacing their "discovery" features and got nicknamed "indiepocalipse" and has as one of its effects make people start to prefer AAA games again, due to lower budget games now being perceived as "most of the times crap, retro hipster pretentious, or both"


One the most important reasons people prefer AAA games is that you can get some semblance of a community.

It's almost impossible to even get your friends to try playing a game they've never heard of (that another 100 people play, at most), so the community for the game is DOA. Hence none of the things you can get from bigger games, like guides, support, community, clans, competition, marketplace, mods etc.

At best you might be getting a half-dead subreddit.


> Meanwhile, Apple welcomes developers from day one

That's utterly untrue. Can I ...

* run my own (i.e. unsigned) kernel extensions in OSX?

* run OSX on non-Apple hardware?

* distribute apps for iOS through means other than the App Store?

* distribute non-approved iOS apps at all?

* build apps for iOS that allow end-users to program their own devices?

Apple is actually incredibly developer-hostile, especially considering their early history with machines like the Apple 2.

This is what a developer-friendly machine looks like:

https://www.crowdsupply.com/sutajio-kosagi/novena


You can turn off signing checks for kernel extensions.

Zinio has released a version of their iOS app for iOS 5 outside the app store. You went to their site on your iOS device and it downloaded and installed the app. I think it was done using Enterprise certificates, but I'm not sure.

As for iOS apps, you can compile and run iOS apps on your own device without the need for a signing cert.

There are apps for iOS that allow end-users to program their own devices. For example, Pythonista:

http://omz-software.com/pythonista/

Plus, Swift Playgrounds gives access to the whole iOS SDK.


I really don't understand how those points address mine? Maybe only point 1.


Well done for pointing out all the restrictions and completely ignoring everything positive the company does for developers.


I believe the negatives are a) not usually mentioned, b) far outweigh the positives, and c) are often overlooked by developers unaccustomed to genuinely developer friendly environments (like older Apple systems)


Because of the 1983 crash, which is happening live on the app stores again, full of shovelware.

For me as a developer what matters is good relationship with the platform owner and support for when technical issues happen, not getting everything for free without quality control.


> Microsoft being a case in point - "developers, developers, developers" was the cheerleading chant from Steve Ballmer, unless of course the developers wanted to code for Xbox. They've opened it now I believe but again - extremely late in the game.

For the original XBox sure but the XBox 360 came with XNA at almost the start of the XBox 360. For free I downloaded the SDK, connected to my store bought XBox 360 and deployed code directly to it. It was amazing.

Granted they eventually axed XNA and left a hole partially filled in other ways afterwards but initially the XBox 360 was an amazing thing of beauty as far as openness. In fact I was in school and put in charge of making an XNA game with the cooperation of another University. It failed miserably but it was an awesome experience.


>so many applications developed that it's hard to get user attention amongst the app store noise

That's precisely what the console makers don't want: a huge mountain of uncurated, low-quality shovelware for customers to wade through. That's what XBLIG was until it was shut down.


I really hope this encourages other programs like Sony or Microsoft to open up their developer programs more. Last time I looked into, it was a nightmare to try to get started up with Sony.


I signed up.


How about something more interesting like the Pokemon Go developer program or API ? Now that sounds more of a win-win.

Developers are interested, and gamers are interested in more features for Pokemon Go. Does anyone have the contemporary sales records for 3DS and Wii U?


I would personally love to see a Minecraft developer program. I was hoping Microsoft would have released one by now.


That would be stellar. I've met some developers in my community who would be very interested in that


So... Forge?


The company that created Pokemon Go is Niantic, not Nintendo (Niantic partnered with The Pokemon Company, which Nintendo owns a third of),

So the company that would create a developer program for Pokemon Go would be Niantic, not Nintendo.


Yes the same company who made Ingress.


The company who make decisions is Nintendo.


Apparently a lot of people thought this: http://www.theverge.com/2016/7/25/12269466/nintendo-stock-pl...


The top level decision maker in this instance stops at The Pokemon Company. Although Nintendo is one of the investors and can influence decisions as a stakeholder, the line of command does not proceed directly upwards to Nintendo management.


Would you tell Creatures, Inc. and GameFreaks ownership structure?


What exactly would you do in a Pokemon Go developer program?


Selling emoji stickers.


IoT pokeballs.


Nintendo just moves so slowly; everybody has been telling them for years to just stop developing subpar HW with gadgety features nobody wants and focus on creating mobile games. Pokemon Go alone will probably make more money than their whole last generation; imagine a mobile Zelda game (drool)!


Mobile games are a poor replacement for the experiences possible on dedicated gaming hardware, the control schemes for mobile games are generally sub-par for action-focused games.


I agree (and like my DS), but the vast majority of people will never game on dedicated handheld in their lives, and that's the market that exists.


So the solution is to abandon the hardware market and make $0.99 mediocre mobile games instead?


The PC market contains a more comprehensive picture. There are plenty of "bad" yet profitable F2P PC MMOs. There are also plenty of respected premium games on Steam. F2P dominates the mass markets, but premium still captures the attention of the core audiences and enthusiast press. You don't develop for both - you target one or the other. They want different things. Relative to the size, average wealth and tastes of the market, premium now acts as the "luxury good", free is the "normal good", and generic knockoffs that litter app stores are the "substitute good". That's the result of having a race to the bottom through digital distribution - mediocre premium games fade from view in an instant, well-marketed ones continue to do gangbusters business.

Console hardware preserves some role here in that it still offers the "best" premium experience, on average. PC games let you tinker with the settings more and add mods, but the lead platform for new, big budget games is usually console, and that includes portables. Plug and play still matters. Big budget experiences still matter. But it's not as big a business as the market for "small" mobile games - that's just how the numbers work out.

This isn't the first time gaming has gone through a business model shift, of course. Arcade gameplay and its quarter-munching habits used to be the standard by which a game was judged. It wasn't until the 1990's that those tendencies stopped being a dominant influence.




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