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Nintendo's advice for indies trying to get games on Switch

Platform holder's warns that Switch will remain a "closed dev environment" for now

A key Nintendo exec has offered advice on how independent studios can increase the chances of securing a Switch release for their games.

In an interview with Kotaku, the firm's senior manager for publisher and developer relations Damon Baker noted that while Nintendo's platform has become much more open over the past year, the company is still keeping a close eye on every new release.

"I think the best way to explain it is, over the last year we have been evolving past what was initially more of a curated content position to now a curated partnership position," said Baker.

He elaborated that Nintendo now focuses as much on developers' aptitude and background as their individual game pitch, and that once a company has earned "a level of trust and confidence", the platform holder is more comfortable with them releasing titles on Switch.

"Some... developers do have a negative reaction or are bummed because we haven't opened up the door to hobbyists or students at this time," Baker acknowledged. "But one day, we may. We may be going towards that direction. But for now, we're still staying the course in terms of a closed dev environment for Switch."

Baker observed that most of the best-selling indie titles on Switch tap into the nostalgia that inherently resonates with the typical Nintendo Switch owner - i.e. one who has grown up with previous Nintendo platforms.

He also notes that while Nintendo "definitely encourage[s] self-publishing" among indies, securing a partnership with a publisher can give developers a better chance of getting on Switch.

"When we're working with the likes of Team17, or Chucklefish, or Raw Fury, or Devolver, or Adult Swim or anybody like that, we lean on them for their recommendations," Baker explained.

He reiterated that Nintendo is looking into how it can improve discoverability for games on the eShop, but was unable to give any details at this time.

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James Batchelor


James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz. He has been a B2B journalist since 2006, and an author since he knew what one was