Nintendo Switch Development Kits Low Price Might Entice Indie Developers

Nintendo Switch dev kits are much more affordable than previous generations which is a boon to indie studios that wish to publish on the platform.

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At the Game Creators Conference in Osaka, Japan, Nintendo announced that Nintendo Switch development kits would be available for 50,000 yen, or around $450. One of the huge barriers to entry for independent developers has been obtaining the development tools necessary to publish software on consoles. However, Nintendo looks poised to court indie studios by making their hardware very affordable for even one-man development teams.

The Nintendo Switch dev kit will be one of the cheapest to date, much cheaper than the $20,000 a PlayStation 3 development kit cost, and even less pricey than the much more reasonable $2,500 PlayStation 4 dev kit. With so many very successful titles coming from smaller independant studios, Nintendo is smart to make the move to secure indie interest in the Switch. Third-party software support was terrible for the Wii U, and Nintendo has had issues with steady third-party support for its consoles since the Nintendo 64, except the Wii which was where every game studio in the world dumped its shovelware.

A steady stream of indie titles can go a long way to keeping players who are waiting for Nintendo's first-party titles engaged. With a stellar showing of support from third-party partners, the Nintendo Switch might be the most open and experimental of Nintendo's consoles yet. We'll get to see for ourselves just what the Nintendo Switch can do when it releases on March 3.

Contributing Editor

From The Chatty

  • reply
    February 20, 2017 12:25 PM

    Jason Faulkner posted a new article, Nintendo Switch Development Kits Low Price Might Entice Indie Developers

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      February 20, 2017 12:30 PM

      It seems to have already done so, given the easy portability of Unity & Unreal engines plus the low Switch devkit costs we already have had a ton of indies pledge games coming to the Switch within the first quarter.

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      February 20, 2017 3:38 PM

      Nice! More shovelware!

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      February 20, 2017 3:49 PM

      Ok, serious question. Given that a dev kit is reasonable for even a regular Joe, like me (?), how hard would it be to make a game if you've never done anything like this?

      I assume I'd need to learn like C or C++ at least. And, probably need to find some kind of easy to use game engine to do the heavier lifting parts. Is it hard to kludge something together?

      I have no dreams of being a game dev (I specifically left that world in-fact), but for that low of a barrier to entry, it's tempting just to mess with it.

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        February 20, 2017 4:34 PM

        You'd need some design skills too. Stuff like textures, character design, environments,etc

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          February 20, 2017 4:40 PM

          I assumed that, but since I have very little art talent I was kinda discounting that stuff. Stick figures and simple sounds would have to do. The game would likely totally suck too. I'd just be curious if I could get some sprites to move around the screen with animations over a background.

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            February 20, 2017 4:42 PM

            I'm curious too. I'd like to get into it one day. Just as a hobby level.

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              February 20, 2017 6:02 PM

              Ya, this wouldn't be anything more than an expensive hobby (like I have any cheap ones, LOL!)

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        February 20, 2017 6:31 PM

        unity C# is the easiest to learn. unreal c++ is harder to code, but you can get far with visual scripting blueprints. unreal makes a better looking higher performant game though.

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        February 20, 2017 7:08 PM

        Since Unity and UE4 are supported, you can download those for free and start making stuff. You don't need a dev-kit to tinker. If you get to the point that you want to play on a Switch, you just tell it to target the Switch and it'll do all the internal stuff for you. Unity is probably the easiest to start with since it's C# while UE4 is C++. Though you can use blueprints in UE4 which essentially visual scripting. It's pretty cool and worth looking at. The dude who made the Solus Project created it using only blueprints:

        http://www.hourences.com/product/the-solus-project-blueprint-introduction/

      • rms
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        February 21, 2017 7:12 AM

        I think valcan_s should jump on this deal for his game