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Wii U was the most profitable for Rain Games' Teslagrad

"It's more important to be visible than to have the biggest target audience on the platform"

The lack of competition on Wii U proved to be a boon for Rain Games, which made more profit from Nintendo's struggling console than any other platform.

The game in question was Teslagrad, a 2D puzzle-platformer released on the Wii U in 2014. In an interview with Gamasutra, CEO Peter Wingaard Meldahl said that the lack of games - and particularly indie games - released for the Wii U meant that it "actually got good visibility on the platform."

Meldahl referred to a "double-split" that dominated the entire top section of the online store, leaving room for only two games at any one time. "We were one of those two games for two weeks in every area where we released," he said. "That wouldn't have been the case on any other platform.

"Nobody complains about the amount of people on Steam; they just complain that you can't get any visibility"

In fact, Teslagrad received equivalent space to Hyrule Warriors, one of that year's most high profile Wii U games. For Rain Games, this showed that the obvious strategy is not always the best strategy.

"It's more important to be visible than to have the biggest target audience on the platform. The amount of people that are on Steam, for example, is enormous. Nobody complains about that; they just complain that you can't get any visibility on Steam.

"The fact that there are fewer customers on a consoles, and therefore fewer potential customers, doesn't really matter as long as you can reach the customers that are there."

Teslagrad is a good fit for a Nintendo platform, particularly in terms of its aesthetic, and Rain Games isn't the first indie developer to note better than expected performance on the Wii U. Yacht Club Games found great success on Wii U by recognising that Shovel Knight fit comfortably with both Nintendo's history and the platform.

Of course, the Wii U is at the end of its lifecycle, and it may be that indies find a more crowded marketplace on the Switch. Not only is the new console performing better than Nintendo expected, making it a more attractive platform in general, but Nintendo is has a more defined indie strategy this time.

Nintendo has promised 60 indie games for its hybrid console's first year, and our survey of indie developers at GDC this year indicated a better experience for the developers themselves.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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