There's no denying that independent developers are becoming increasingly important for the industry. Nintendo, who hasn't been known for being open to indies in the past, has begun focusing on smaller developers. In a PAX Prime interview with Gamespot that was published yesterday, Dan Adelman, manager of business development, stated that Nintendo has a lot more work to do before they can cement these relationships.
Adelman noted that many developers still don't know about Nintendo's recent changes in policies and therefore assume that the company remains difficult to develop for.
We used to require that developers work out of an office that's separate from their home, and that was a big barrier for a lot of indie developers. And we got rid of that. And still, I talk to developers today who will say, 'Yeah, I'd love to make a game for a Nintendo platform, but I work at home'
He also spoke about Nintendo's deal with Unity, which allows developers who are using that engine to publish their content to a Nintendo platform without having to pay the additional fee, which could be “tens of thousands of dollars per platform”. Indie developers have also been surprised by how cheap Wii U dev kits are, which apparently run about the price of a decent PC. Adelman stated that Nintendo needs to do a better job relaying this information in order to break down the current image of them being a closed up company.
When asked what Nintendo could bring independent developers that other consoles and mobile platforms couldn't, Adelman noted that the Wii U offers “the best of both worlds”. Developers are free to use touchscreen controls, just as they would with Android and iOS, but aren't limited to it. The active Miiverse communities were also noted as a feature that only Nintendo could provide. Adelman spoke specifically about Pwnee Studios, the developers behind Cloudberry Kingdom, who have spent time interacting with fans and are active on Nintendo's social networking service.