The Australian ratings board is currently looking for feedback and comments regarding their proposed changes to the pricing of ratings for books, games and films. As a small, independent, Australian games company we feel that there needs to be a new cheaper option for those of us making small budget, cheaper downloadable games.
Archive for the ‘opinion’ Category
Surely the great thing about the iPad is it is a computer and that ANYONE can use it. So why does my Gran, who doesn’t have a computer need to buy a computer to use an iPad? Surely the great thing about the iPad is that hypothetically she could use that for all her computer needs (internet, email, the very occasional letter writing, listening to music). If she could just walk into an Apple store, buy one and start using it (like you can with any other computer device) maybe more non-computer users would be attracted to it? (more…)
Dear Luke and Stephen,
I received the following email today and thought you might find it interesting. As you are aware a large part of making money on the App Store is down to how well reviewed your app is as this contributes, in a very real way, to Apple featuring it on the front page of the store as well as increasing consumer confidence when purchasing your app. Several developers apps have already been removed from the App Store for gaming the system (one of which I think you reported on last year).
What you can see from the email, copied below, is that there is at least one company offering to ‘game’ the review system on your behalf by adding reviews to your apps. This will boost perception, sales and possibly get your app featured by Apple. I am writing to you as Nnooo are not in the business of trying to con or pull a fast one on its users and tempting as it is to start doing what everyone else is doing we believe that in the long term it is only bad for consumer confidence and downloadable sales in general. In many ways Nnooo are reluctant to continue supporting the iPhone and iPod touch because of exactly these sorts of practices. The fact that there has been a gold rush and the fact that so many developers use as many cheats, hacks or ways of gaming the system to maximise sales just goes to show how flawed an enterprise it is in our opinion. Don’t get me wrong great software will always flourish but realistically should developers really be expected to spend so much of their time trying to: (more…)
Katherine Brice recently interviewed me for a piece she was doing about WiiWare and DSiWare and whether Nintendo are doing enough to promote the service. Her article can be found here. Below is a full transcript of the interview. Enjoy!
Thanks so much for emailing me in regards to this. Firstly let me introduce myself. My name is Nic Watt and I am the CEO and Creative Director of Nnooo. The following are my thoughts on the issue(s):
Is Nintendo doing enough to promote its Digital Services?
This is a hard question to answer as while I think that it is Nintendo’s responsibility to ensure that its customers are familiar with and using the DSiWare and WiiWare stores, I do not think it is Nintendo’s responsibility to promote and market every game on the service (that I think is the job of the developer or publisher). Overall I feel that Nintendo are doing a very good job making customers aware of these services for example:
Every Nintendo Wii now comes with a channel pre-installed which plays a video showing how to connect your Wii to the internet and what benefits you can get from this including WiiWare, the internet channel and Virtual Console.
- The internet channel on Wii and DSi is free
- This channel is a great way of getting all new customers to visit Nintendo’s online stores
The fact that the internet channel is one of the permanent top downloads on DSiWare suggests that many new DSi owners are connecting and downloading the channel. Which means they are familiar with and using the DSiWare store
There are several other free channels provided by Nintendo for both DSiWare and WiiWare for example Flipnote Studio and Everybody Votes. These are clearly downloaded by a lot of people and are therefore an indicator that a lot of consumers are at least familiar with the process of using the online stores
Every Nintendo DSi currently comes with 1000 free points to spend in the store. This means that every single user knows, on purchase, that their DSi can download new games and how to do so. To make use of these points the user must connect to the store. (more…)
Yesterday I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Matthew Sainsbury for ARN website. Below is the full interview which you can also read on their site.
Nic Watt, founder and creative director of games and application software developer, Nnooo, is on the cutting edge of the industry. The Independent Software Developer’s sales model is entirely around digital downloads for the iPhone, Nintendo Wii and DS. He speaks to MATTHEW SAINSBURY about the future of digital distribution and the broader gaming software industry.
Can you give me an overview of Nnooo and your background?
I’ve been in the industry for about 10 years now. I was working at Electronic Arts in London, and my partner got offered the chance to come to Australia, so we made the decision to move out here. It was at that point I sold some property I had in the UK, and decided to make the jump to running my own small games company.
It was around about the time that the small downloadable titles were starting to come to market. Microsoft had just launched Xbox Live Arcade, and I thought the future of these small downloadable games was quite exciting. Particularly from a small company point of view, it was something we could achieve.
What are the advantages of downloadable titles over a full retail release?
For us, the one thing I wanted to do was to make the games I wanted to make. When you work with a really big company, such as EA, that becomes very difficult, because you’ve got to go through so many different stages and there’s so many approval mechanisms. Quite often, the people higher up in the company have their own vision for the kinds of games they want to have made.
Also, the hard part of making a full retail game is it costs a lot of money – when you start up a new company, it’s very difficult industry for people to give you $5, $10 or $20 million to make a videogame unless you’ve done something like make a Halo or World or Warcraft in the past. (more…)
Dear Mr Atkinson,
I am writing to express my thoughts on the current situation of video game ratings in Australia. As the CEO and Creative Director of an Australia based video games company (currently situated in Sydney) I am somewhat saddened by the fact that Australia does not allow adults to purchase games which are available elsewhere in the world at a rating suitable for adult content. IE an R 18+ or similar rating.
It appears, to me, to be somewhat contradictory to allow both Television and Film to be rated against a wider range of ratings than Video Games are. As far as I am aware only people over the age of 18 are allowed to purchase R 18+ films and television products (DVD, Blue Ray etc) so why can this not be the same for games? We have a very robust video games retail service in Australia who already currently use the rating system to sell games to a wide range of people based on their age. Furthermore everyone in Australia is already familiar with this ratings system so providing a new R 18+ rating for games would not result in children or people under the age of 18 obtaining said products unless an adult purchased it for them (as adults can do currently with both Film and TV products). (more…)
Kotaku today put up an interesting post regarding homosexuality in games. Seeing as I am a gay man and also part of the games industry I thought I should put up some of my thoughts in the comments section. My comment turned out to be quite long so I though I should also post it here for those who are interested.
The original Kotaku article is here. Read on for my thoughts on the subject.
On Friday night I attended #SHTBOX (chuck that into twitter) which is basically a group of friends and Sydney-siders who go along to the Clock Bar on Crown St and chat about social media (blogging, tweeting etc). I was invited by a friend @scottrhodie who works in PR and is a bit of social media specialist. It was a great night and I got the opportunity to chat to some really nice and knowledgeable people. (more…)
I am writing to ask that you introduce a cheaper classification system for downloadable software in Australia. As a developer of downloadable games for Nintendo Wii (WiiWare) and Nintendo DSi (DSiWare) your current costs ($1150 or $2040 per rating) are very high in comparison with other regions across the world when compared on a population basis (your charges are viewable to the public and available here:
As you can appreciate Australia is a much smaller market than Europe and America however your cost based on population is much much higher. This means that although we are an Australian based developer it is very hard to justify releasing our games in this country. By comparison USA (ESRB) and EU (PEGI) cost less with populations of 300 million and 400 million respectively (actual costs are not available to the public so have been removed). In this light Australia’s $1150 against a population of 21 million makes it 13 to 21 times more expensive on a per head of population basis while the $2040 charge is 26 to 42 times more expensive.
This means from a small developers perspective that the risk of return in Australia is approaching a prohibitively high amount. Big retail games which come on disc and cost $80 – $120 do not really suffer the same issues as they cost, on average, well over $1 million so an extra $1,000 or $2,000 is not as significant. Most WiiWare and DSiWare titles will cost about $100,000 or even less. As you can see the cost of getting a downloadable game rated in Australia adds at least 1-2% of the development cost to the game.
By having costs as you currently do you are restricting the market of great software to Australians in comparison to that which is already available in other territories. This as you can appreciate creates a barrier to free trade and reduces consumer choice. I would like to suggest that you consider introducing a cheaper classification process for cheaper/smaller downloadable games in the same way as the ESRB and PEGI have done. This will allow small developers to continue to create and sell their software to all the great Australian WiiWare and DSiWare fans.