Beamdog boss expresses disappointment in WiiWare, doubts Wii U’s success

By Brenna Hillier, Thursday, 19 April 2012 00:00 GMT

Beamdog boss Trent Oster has expanded on and clarified his comments on the developer’s troubled relationship with Nintendo.

Earlier in the week, Oster had said the downloadable, tablet-friendly Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition would not be coming to consoles – especially not the Wii U, as the company’s “previous experience with Nintendo was enough to ensure there will not be another”.

Writing in response to NintendoWorldReport, Oster said that from his perspective, WiiWare “hasn’t been a success for many developers outside of Nintendo”.

As well as the service’s notorious 40MB size limit, Oster described difficulties with demos, pricing and promotion.

“The result was large disappointment with the platform,” he said.

Oster also noted that he initially felt the Wii was a gimmick, believes “a huge number of the Wii units only ever sold one or two games” and that poor early third-party games resulted in a lack of consumer confidence in non-Nintendo Wii games.

The BioWare veteran has similar concerns about the Wii U.

“For the Wii U, I once again don’t get it. I’m having a hard time seeing how a tablet controller and console system is going to be revolutionary,” he said.

“I could be wrong, but I think the gaming world has changed irrevocably and there are now two fronts: Triple A console titles which resemble blockbuster movies and freemium/app store titles which are closer to television.

Oster said the PC is capable of addressing both fronts (and the varying quality within them), but that the Wii U doesn’t seem to cater to either of them.

“The app store/freemium model has redefined consumer pricing expectations, making consumers much less likely to invest $60 in a title without playing it first. The Triple A model focuses on delivering the experience you expect at the agreed upon price, which is going to be hard to sell conceptually with a new platform like the Wii U. I wish Nintendo the best and I hope they can hit big with a major success.”

Speaking to Gamasutra, Oster also criticised Nintendo’s certification process.

“Our time in cert was two-fold, a lack of proper QA on our part and slow report turn around from Nintendo. 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 said.

“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.”

Oster also noted that Beamdog is yet to see any return on the WiiWare version of MDK 2.

Beamdog’s latest Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition hits Mac, PC and tablets in northern summer.


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