Pure Nintendo looks back on DSiWare in 2013
In the last issue of PNM we ranked our top games of 2013 for both the Wii U and 3DS, along with their respective eShops. This article will take a look at DSiWare, and how it fared over the last year. For all intents and purposes, 2013 will be the service’s last good year – three months into 2014 we’ve only had a single release in this region. I’ve spoken with a number of developers and publishers who worked on DSiWare titles last year, and this article has a selection of comments they’ve graciously shared with Pure Nintendo.
EnjoyUp Games was a big supporter of DSiWare early in 2013. They released Snowboard Xtreme, 99 Moves, Armageddon Operation Dragon, and Cute Witch! Runner. EnjoyUp Co-Founder and Managing Director Julio Moruno told Pure Nintendo …
“Our experience with DSiWare is very positive. At first we believed that sales would be lower being a system that wasn’t on all DS machines. But for us has been a good system, even today we’re making profit on it.”
With quality games like Chronos Twins and Abyss, it’s no surprise DSiWare has been profitable for Enjoy Up – the latter is coming to Wii U shortly.
CIRCLE Entertainment also published four DSiWare titles last year – Ah! Heaven, Goony, Color Commando, and Publisher Dream. Be sure to check out my recent interview with CIRCLE’s CEO Chris Chau, to hear some of his thoughts on DSiWare. Also look back in issue #11 of PNM to read both a review of Color Commando (8.5/10), as well as an interview with its designer Hugo Smits. Hugo shared some updated words with me for this article …
“DSiWare might have been a service with a fair share of problems. But that is not how I will remember it. I honestly feel like the luckiest guy just to be part of it. Back in 2008 I was either going to stay a homebrew hacker, work on work-for-hire casual games, or quit the game industry and get a real job at some computer center.
DSiWare allowed me to follow my dreams and make whatever I wanted. Be creative. Even though the service had problems, it showed a hint of the things that where possible. Enough to make me believe and stay awake all those nights coding away in my bedroom.
DSiWare saw me grow from an unknown homebrew coder to somebody that got covered on all major Nintendo sites and magazines. Even winning a bunch of awards. It let me reach an audience that normally was inaccessible to me. Looking back it still feels like a dream, haha!
I would like to thank your website for helping me spread the word on my games, it means a lot to me. And of course your readers who might have bought my games. Thanks for the support, you are half the reason DSiWare is memorable to me!
If the e-shop is only half the adventure that DSiWare was, 2014 is going to be a insanely great year for me :)
Cypronia had a pair of DSiware releases last year, with Forgotten Legions and California Super Sports. While Cypronia acknowledges areas that DSi and DSiWare did well, they’ve certainly welcomed the move to the 3DS eShop, as they told Pure Nintendo …
“DSiWare is quite good for doing 2D games, but very limited for 3D games (with about 1500 polygons for the scene). Nintendo 3DS offers more freedom and creativity for developers of 3D games.”
No doubt the experience working on DSiWare has contributed to Cypronia’s recent 3DS success with Bubble Pop World.
Teyon published Clash of the Elementalists (an ambitious 3D fighter) in 2013. CEO Mikal Tatka shared these thoughts with Pure Nintendo …
“Our memories of DSiWare are positive. We had a lot of success with the platform.
When I think of DSiWare I think of our first experience with publishing in Japan. It was this platform that motivated and led us to expand our business to this region. We opened up a publishing subsidiary in Japan so that we could publish our games and those of other developers in Japan. So far it has been really successful and has positively influenced the publishing of games for other platforms including the Nintendo 3DS and mobiles.”
Big John Games released Working Dawgs: Rivet Retriever last year. President Ken Patterson shares some detailed comments with Pure Nintendo about working on DSiWare …
“DSiWare came along at a great time for us. Our co publishing partner Destineer was going through a decline and they were having trouble getting shelf space for their products, as many mid tier publishers also had trouble finding retail shelf space. We pulled “Thorium Wars” and “Working Dawgs” back and we delivered “Thorium Wars” as a DSiWare game, not knowing how things will work out, it did very well and we were excited to put more games into DSiWare.
Not all our games were hits. Big Bass Arcade on DSiWare has performed very well, we are very proud of “Kart Krashers” as solid game for a dwindling audience of DSiWare purchasers. I put a lot of my heart into Kart Krashers.
We held off on “Working Dawgs” for DSiWare because the game was positioned as children’s retail DS game. Publishing children’s games on DSiWare didn’t seem like a good idea, since not many of our target audience, children, were not able to purchase downloads. We took the strong games from “Working Dawgs” and made them appeal to wider audience, and released them as two dollar games. These games came when the audience had shifted to eShop so these games have done OK but not great.
In 3 years we have generated over 1 million dollars in sales also using Nintendo Digital Downloads, (DSiWare, WiiWare, eShop). We are on track to reach our second million in sales via Nintendo Digital in 18 months or less. For an indie studio like ours that is pretty good. Nintendo gave us a great opportunity to get our games to the players, we didn’t have that back when retail was the only way to publish games. I hope Nintendo players support digital download in the future. It’s a great way to get innovative and fun games for a small price. I wish we could do pricing sales with our DSiWare games. eShop buyers should take a chance on some DSiWare games. There are some fun ones available
We are currently working on two games to for the eShop next year, “Strike Force Foxx” an assault chopper game for the 3DS, and “Thorium Wars 3D” for the 3DS. So we will continue to support Nintendo Digital with our production of new games.”
The second half 2013 was dominated by Enjoy Gaming. From early September through mid December they released eleven DSiWare games! Several of them scored well with Pure Nintendo including Jewel Adventures, Hand On! Tangrams, and Heathcliff: Spot On. Most impressive was Orion’s Odyssey: A Pattern Blocks Adventure, my favorite DSiWare game of 2013! Ryan Harbinson, COO of Island Officials, shared some words with Pure Nintendo on Orion’s Odyssey …
“Despite our original plan to release the game as a Nintendo DS cartridge, DSiware gave us the opportunity to bring Orion’s Odyssey to current DSi and 3DS owners at an affordable price, making DSiware a great fit for the game.
We’re really blown away by the positive feedback we’ve gotten for Orion’s Odyssey. Seeing everyone really enjoying their time with Orion and his friends has been super exciting for us.”
As we reach the end of DSiWare, I look back on the service fondly. Not only did it provide consistently fun and interesting experiences, but it paved the way for the success of the 3DS eShop. Goodbye DSiWare – thanks for the memories!
I’d like to personally express my appreciation once again to all who played a part in shaping this article. Thank you for supporting Pure Nintendo!