During Nintendo’s 78th annual shareholder meeting, the day that Shuntaro Furukawa took over as president of Nintendo, the company held a Q&A session with shareholders and Nintendo’s executive team including outgoing president Tatsumi Kimishima. The Q&A was translated into English today and you can find the entire thing here. This year, one shareholder asked specifically about the relationship between Nintendo and indie games.
“Indie games have become a hot topic recently,” the investor asked. “As games made by small-scale developers around the world with relatively low development costs, how will Nintendo integrate these kinds of games into its future business strategy?”
While the entire answer is basically a roundabout way of saying yes, Nintendo licensing head Susumu Tanaka did mention one particularly interesting plan for the Switch eShop.
“We started working with indie developers during the Wii U generation,” Tanaka started. “For Nintendo Switch, we set up a development environment that supports Unity middleware, which is used on smartphones and other platforms. We are also actively engaging with indie developers at video game-focused shows and other events in different regions. We also had a Nintendo booth at the BitSummit indie game event held in Kyoto, where we showcased some games. Some of the indie games already released have gone on to become million sellers worldwide. In the future, we are looking to release around 20 to 30 indie games on Nintendo Switch per week, and we definitely expect to see some great games among them.”
20-30 weeks would, at a median, be about 1300 games a year. It is unknown which indie games Tanaka has referred to that have become million sellers, but Nintendo is likely to release that information eventually.
To be clear, Tanaka is talking about indie game releases, not just eShop releases in general. In terms of total releases, the eShop on Switch already averages 15-25 releases a week, and Tanaka seems to want to make sure indie games are an even bigger part of the weekly release schedule.