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Nintendo Switch versions of indie games outselling others

Wonder Boy, Forma.8 and Oceanhorn proving more successful than on other platforms, say devs

Nintendo has been making a concerted effort to gain the support of indies (or so-called "Nindies") since the initial push for the Switch console. It appears the outreach has been working, as multiple developers have now stated that the Switch versions of their titles have turned out to be the most successful. Cited specifically by Gamasutra, Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap from Lizardcube and Forma.8 from MixedBag have yielded better results on Switch for the respective studios.

The Switch version of Wonder Boy has managed to outsell all other platform version combined, and that includes Xbox One, PS4 and PC - which obviously add up to a much higher installed base than Switch alone. MixedBag did note that Forma.8 sold more units on iOS, but since the studio could charge more for the Switch version, it ultimately was the better revenue generator for the developer.

Earlier this year at GDC, when Nintendo held its Nindies event, the developers we spoke with made it clear that Switch is appealing because it's not overcrowded like mobile or Steam.

Brjann Sigurgeirsson, CEO of Image & Form Games (SteamWorld Dig 2), commented at the time, "It's really not that indie friendly on Steam any more; it's not even publisher friendly. It's started to resemble the App Store in a way - you have so many titles that almost by definition it's not indie friendly. On the App Store you have a hundred new games coming out everyday - maybe there are a hundred games coming out to the Switch in a year. You're almost guaranteed so much more visibility."

Of course, if Switch continues to attract indies, the storefront naturally is going to become more crowded, but Nintendo's Damon Baker, head of publisher & developer relations, has made it clear that release cadence will be key, and that Nintendo takes discoverability seriously.

"If they're granted access into the developer portal and given the tools to develop on Nintendo Switch... We just have that open dialogue with them and try and work on our release strategy so that we can get behind it with marketing and promotional support and make sure they aren't going to get lost in the noise of everything else that's going on," he noted.

UPDATE: Oceanhorn developer FDG Entertainment has joined the chorus of satisfied indies, announcing on Twitter that its Zelda-like adventure RPG has sold more copies on Switch "than all other consoles combined".

It's worth noting that FDG specifies consoles - Oceanhorn is also available for mobile devices so, given the significantly larger install base, it's likely to have stronger sales on iOS and Android.

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James Brightman


James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.