Indy developer Wii kits 02.20.2007

When the Revolution Wii was first announced, Nintendo had claimed that the price of development kits would be around $2,000 — a farcry from the comparatively hideously expensive XBox 360 and PS3 devkits, which reportedly cost around $20,000.

But just as with the Wii console demand, the demand for Wii development kits have apparently also outstripped supply.

A developer at Water Cooler Games vents on the scarcity of the Wii devkit. Some passages:

According to our contact, the Wii Independent Developer Program is “on hold” until the end of the month, because “the Wii publishers are taking all of the available inventory, and more.” In other words, Nintendo doesn’t have enough kits to cover the demand for all those crappy licensed games, let alone more original work.

Ignoring the explicit disdain shown for “crappy licensed works”, I completely agree with Nintendo’s decision to give devkits to publishers first and independent developers second.


Because, to be blunt, publishers are more important. Publishers are able to maintain a steady flow of games fofr the console. Publishers typically already have presence in the marketplace. More publishers for the Wii will ensure that the Wii section of, say, Gamespot does not remain tiny.

One of the biggest purely visual disappoints with the Gamecube when walking into a store such as Electronics Boutique or Gamestop was simply the total area devoted to it. In a word: small. In two words: stupid small.

This isn’t to say that independent developers are not a valuable asset to a platform — they are. And especially for something like the Wii, with the Wii remote, independent developers may be more flexible to innovate and account for the new control mechanism.

But in the end though, Nintendo simply has to first satisfy those elements with a proven track record — those publishers who have committed to develop games for the Wii.

It’s simply more important.

The dev kit situation mirrors the Wii itself. Last November I also lamented about the absurd fanboy commitment required to obtain a Wii, and I wondered how Nintendo could claim to appeal to ordinary people if nobody could get a device. Today, three months later, it’s still almost impossible to get a Wii — or a DS for that matter, the two game consoles most likely to appeal to the so-called “non-gamer.”

This is a ridiculous statement. Nintendo is producing Wii units as fast as they can. That demand is far outstripping supply does not imply any malice.

Eventually, the “fanboys” will get their units, and this initial wave of furious purchasing will plateau. With any new massively popular consumer device, early adopters and enthusiasts will always be the first to get it. Does that mean that the device can’t be popular for the general public?

Hell no.

But it does mean that the wave will have to die down first.

Claiming that “nobody can get a device” is idiotic. Obviously someone is getting a Wii. Othewise, it wouldn’t be sold out.

Maybe by that time the retail stock situation will have resolved itself, at least. There’s no point making games for a machine nobody can buy.

Yes, obviously all those Wii sales and units that are disappearing from the shelves are actually being stolen by the Boogeyman. Yes indeed! Somewhere, in this wide world, there sits a massive hoard of Wii units, maliciously purchased by an evil entity to prevent humans from obtaining the device.


Nobody can buy it because everybody is buying it.