As we've said before, we were really excited when the opportunity to develop games for Wii U arose. This was Nintendo--our home turf so to speak--and with the power of a console the possibilities were endless! Still, after a year of total fail in the iOS market, we had to remain realistic. We ported Chubbins, to test the waters of a new market and try to get a return on our time invested. We always did feel the game was more like a Nintendo title than an iOS anyway.
Non-disclosure agreements prevent us from talking details, but even before we signed on as developers we'd heard that Nintendo offers newcomers a chance to work with their equipment free of charge for a time. We hoped that Chubbins would be successful enough in that window of opportunity that we could then move on to bigger and better Wii U exclusive games.
By contrast, Chubbins on Wii U was a success. We managed to stand out, get great community coverage, and the sales have been infinitely better than they were on iOS. Sadly, it still wasn't enough. Nowhere near it, in fact. Having put all that effort into learning the Wii U ropes and gaining valuable insight into the market, we realized the window of opportunity would still be open just long enough that we could try to put that knowledge to use on an experiment of sorts.
With Chubbins we learned:
- It was too challenging for most players
- Many people didn't like the funky graphics
- Some people couldn't see past its iOS origin
- The $5.99 price tag hurt, even though many reviewers said the game was worth it
And so with Soon Shine we:
- Had a game that could be as mindlessly easy or cunningly challenging as the player wants it to be
- Took the time to redo 95% of the graphics (which were previously limited by the iPod Touch's hardware)
- Had already removed it from the App Store for various reasons, and chose not to advertise that it was ever there
- Set the price at a mere $1.99
As stated, it was an experiment. We hoped it would succeed where Chubbins hadn't, and allow us to keep going. Having seen some of the other piddly games that were making waves on Miiverse and reporting great success, we figured we couldn't go wrong with Soon Shine. As it turns out we were way off the mark.
By contrast, Soon Shine on Wii U was a success. Again we got great community coverage, reviews were generally more positive than they were for Chubbins, and the sales have been infinitely better than they were on iOS. And in fact, Soon Shine sold as many Wii U copies in four days as Chubbins did Wii U copies in four weeks. Of course that isn't saying much, and sadly, it still isn't enough. Nowhere near it, in fact.
So that's it. The window of opportunity has closed. Our dev equipment has been returned to Nintendo. If our games turn out to be sleeper hits, or if we eventually have money to burn from some other source of income, maybe we'll be back to take another stab at game development someday. For now, this chapter comes to an end.
Community interest and support, news and review site coverage, feedback and appreciation from people playing our games, sales (modest though they may be)--we got little to none of any of these on iOS. So, even though things haven't worked out with Nintendo, it's definitely been a more positive experience and we want to thank all of you who've been a part of it! Oh, and for the record, Nintendo's employees have been absolutely top-notch to work with every step of the way!
We'll still be around on Twitter, Miiverse, etc., and this website will still be here. We may even update the blog occasionally with our impressions and perspectives on game development/industry type stuff. To that end, we'll be following this post up with another talking about the current state of the Wii U eShop, and why we think things turned out the way they did for us. See you around!