How easy is it to get a game published on the App Store, compared to a service like WiiWare or DSiWare?
TK: WiiWare and DSiWare are not what I would describe as open markets. You have to run through a very strict developer approval process and may very well get rejected.
LB: With the App Store it’s a case of paying your $100 and then uploading it and getting approved by Apple. With WiiWare and DSiWare it’s not anywhere near as simple; you need a office location, around $2000 for a development kit and then extra money on top of that for getting the game rated correctly for each region you intend to publish it in.
NW: As long as each component of your software works - all the buttons take you to the right things, for example - then it’s easy to get stuff approved for the App Store. It could be buggy as anything when you get into the gameplay, or have few or no features, but that seems to be fine.
WiiWare and DSiWare are much harder, which in some ways makes the turnaround of good ideas longer but it also makes you think more about what you are making and focus on making it good.
Nintendo also have an internal approval system which, like Apple's, plays and tests your game. However Nintendo's quality assurance is significantly higher and more stringent.
You also have to pay to get your game rated by the ESRB, PEGI, Australian Ratings board, the German Ratings boards and so forth. All of these things make it that much harder and longer and therefore make you really try to step up to the mark.
In the long term it creates a smaller marketplace, which has products that are more focused on being able to make back at least their development costs.
It's ironic that the industry has clamoured over an open distribution model for ages and now that it's here, in the form of the App Store, it's actually more of a bane than a boon. You'd have thought with all the creative freedom the App Store gives you that people would be rushing to get great and unique content out. Instead it's just clones of the latest popular trend.
What I mean by this is at face value Nintendo's model seems to be corporate greed of both the developer and publisher, what with being "more focused on being able to make their development costs" and Apple seems to give much more artistic freedom.
The real irony is that while Nintendo's model may restrict elements of creative freedom for monetary gain, at the same time any company with sense will try to distinguish their software from a competitors which does push, albeit slowly, creativity.
The App Store by contrast has very few restrictions. However, due to the structure of the store and the free pricing model, all that has happened is software has dropped pretty much across the board to free and 99 cents, there are millions of clones out there and the truly innovative people are being scared away.
Seems that the Apple is a little easier on developers than Nintendo.
And I have the feeling that Nintendo really limits the save space of games/apps...