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 MDK2  console dev done with Nintendo after WiiWare loss, 9-month certification

MDK2 console dev done with Nintendo after WiiWare loss, 9-month certification Exclusive

April 17, 2012 | By Eric Caoili, Mike Rose

Beamdog, which ported MDK2 to WiiWare last year, says it will not work with Nintendo again and explains to Gamasutra how it took nine months for the platform holder to approve its game.

The studio's Trent Oster says Wii (and its WiiWare download service) "isn't a good platform for developers," citing problems with how Nintendo handles payments, file size limitations, and game certification.

Beamdog's internal studio Overhaul Games released a remastered version of BioWare's 2000 Dreamcast/PC title MDK2 to WiiWare last May. But the developer says the game "didn't sell anywhere near [its] expectations," and tells Gamasutra it's yet to make any money from the game almost a year later.

Oster, a BioWare veteran and one of Beamdog's co-founders, claims developers must sell 6,000 units of a WiiWare game before receiving a payment from Nintendo: "We'd love to see some money back on the title, as it is the best version of MDK2 on any console, but we've yet to see anything."

Gamasutra previously spoke with developers who acknowledged that a minimum sales requirement exists, and one small studio even doubted it would ever receive a payment for its WiiWare game. UK-based indie Different Cloth also admitted that its disappointing WiiWare sales for Lilt Line prevented it from earning any money from the port.

Oster points out other issues with how Nintendo handles WiiWare, such as a 40 MB file size limit for games -- a restriction that resulted in the cancellation of Team Meat's Super Meat Boy release for the platform -- and a certification process that took nine months for Beamdog to see MDK2 approved.

"Our time in cert was two-fold, a lack of proper QA on our part and slow report turn around from Nintendo," says Oster. "We'd get a bug, fix it, wait two weeks while Nintendo tested it, get a new bug, fix it, wait two weeks. After nine months from our first submission, we passed certification."

He adds, "We could have spent more money on our side and hired a certification testing team, but we ran our own small QA effort and ran through the certification requirements on our own. The end product is a better game for the extra testing Nintendo pushed on us, but we likely could have had the same results in a much shorter timeline."

Beamdog is currently porting another enhanced version of a BioWare game, Baldur's Gate, to Mac and iOS devices. When asked on Twitter if Beamdog will consider bringing the game to Wii U, Oster replied, "We don't do Nintendo development. Our previous experience with Nintendo was enough to ensure there will not be another."

He went on to describe Wii as "a toy, not a console" due to what he called an exceptionally low attach rate. Oster claimed people are buying the system to play Wii Sports and not purchasing any other titles, which he said is bad for developers.

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