Nintendo to reignite DSiWare for indie developers
DSi to get its own 'minis' program
All the news this week has been about Sony's Minis program, which lowers the barriers of entry for small developers to make bite-sized download-only games for the PSP and new PSPgo console.
Now we hear Nintendo is about to launch something similar for its DSiWare download service.
Like Minis, the new initiative will make it easier for small developers to publish their own content via the existing DSiWare channel.
The current pricing structure of 200 ($2), 500 ($5) and 900 ($9) Nintendo Points will remain in place.
However, Nintendo will keep some control over the pricing of games by charging developers different royalty rates depending on how big their game downloads is.
For example, a game that costs 500 Points will have to be smaller than 20MB or the royalty rate payable to Nintendo will be significantly more expensive.
In this way, Nintendo can encourage developers to price larger games as premium content, while simpler puzzlers can go out cheap.
A problem could occur though if developers end up heavily compressing their game assets - especially the audio - to fit under the cheaper 20MB limit.
In comparison, on the graphically more capable PSP, the Minis download games are limited to 100MB.
Still, it's encouraging that Nintendo is doing something to kickstart DSi and DSiWare.
To date, the games available in the DSi Shop have been disappointing.
Some of the Art Style games have been good, but the majority of Nintendo releases have been versions of existing titles such as the A Little Bit of... reworkings of Brain Training and Magic Made Fun, or Mario-themed clocks and calculators.
Let's hope the combination of DSiWare, Minis and the App Store gives developers more opportunities to make and sell great games.