While The Wall Street Journal is reporting on Nintendo’s upcoming handheld/console, code named “Project NX,” word of Nintendo’s new Developer Portal rose to the surface. Introduction of the portal is especially interesting given Nintendo’s track record regarding third-party developers and the general lack thereof. When Satoru Iwata revealed Project NX earlier this year, and emphasized the company’s reformed philosophy on hardware they didn’t produce themselves, it was clear that Nintendo would be changing its approach to the gaming industry on a fundamental level.
Whenever a new platform is developed, like Nintendo’s NX, or, going a little further back, the Oculus Rift, developers trying to make games for it need to know how it works. This means that the developers of the games you’ll see at launch for any new console have been familiar with the hardware for quite some time before any consumer could get their hands on one. The Wall Street Journal‘s article, linked above, focused on the release of that dev kit for Project NX and on the information about the system that could be gleaned from it. The late Satoru Iwata made clear that Nintendo would be leaving behind their philosophy of only developing for their own devices at the Project NX press conference in early 2015. In this endeavor, Nintendo has made available, alongside the Project NX dev kits, a Developer Portal. Developer portals aren’t a new concept, but they are to Nintendo. In general, they symbolize a publishers willingness to embrace third-party developers, which is also new to Nintendo. Portals like this one serve the purpose to providing a place where potential developers can apply to create a game on Nintendo’s hardware.
Before this portal, this process was very informal and done on a case-by-case basis. With a tool like this portal out there to help those hopeful developers propagate and seek approval from Nintendo themselves. On the portal’s home page are the encouraging lines: “You’ve seen our story, in games and hardware, helping to define electronic entertainment for generations. Are you ready to tell your story? Are you ready to see your vision come to life on Nintendo’s awesome hardware? Are you ready to create amazing things and want to get all the tools to do it? Let us help you make the next great thing.”
Nintendo is hard at work recruiting additional talent for its upcoming console, but what exactly is Project NX? Well, nobody outside of Nintendo is entirely sure, yet, but the developer kits have given the public a peek at what’s to come.