A portion of an EntertainmentStation interview with Mr. Yusuke Soejima and Mr. Park Seong-sa of Nintendo.
ES: As Nintendo, how is the difference between indie game and conventional game recognized?"
"Park: On Nintendo platforms, we don't really differentiate between AAA titles* from established firms and indie games. In actuality, they're lined up as equals in the Nintendo eShop. We don't specially promote indie games just because they are indie games, and conversely we don't prioritise them below AAA titles either."
*Read as "Triple-A Title". There is no clear definition, but it refers to big hits and other popular games, as well as large-scale games with a large development budget.
ES: As was also mentioned at the beginning, unlike other platforms, indie games are handled in the same line as major companies titles on the Nintendo Switch eShop. In recent years, being indie in overseas is becoming one brand-like position, and users increasingly playing indie games are also increasing.
"Park: As we manage our projects with indie games, we think it would be great if [indie games] could be [one among numerous] attractive brands. However, in Japan, awareness about indie games is still pretty weak, so first we want to get customers to recognise [this brand of products] and see them as appealing. We don't want to 'discriminate' just because they are indie games."
ES: What distinction?
"Park: For example, if we made a store just for indie games, and customers began to think that only boring games were put there, then in the future you could potentially have a market where just the label of 'indie game' causes customers to ignore a product."
ES: So you're saying that the label of 'indie game' could actually work against something?
"Park: While it would be nice if the label of 'indie game' always added some kind of value to a product, there is always the possibility that branding something in this way could cause others to ignore it. That's something we must avoid at all costs, I think."
ES: Please tell us about the prospects for the future of Nintendo's indie games, medium term and long term. What kind of vision do you aim for at the moment?
Soejima: First of all, we just want to get developers on board with developing for our platform when they decide what to develop games for. It's not really a 'goal' per se, but before the Switch really got going, when we would see trailers or posters at events, the platforms that would always be shown at the end were almost always other companies' machines. There was really nowhere where you would see the 3DS or WiiU supported... It was absolutely a situation where we weren't even seen as a practical option. It was here that we thought we'd like to have the Switch's logo up there with the other companies'.
"Park: Fortunately, Nintendo Switch has seen international success, and I think the opportunities for us to be a viable platform have increased. Going forward, we'd like to maintain our momentum, and become a platform developers make content for, from the beginning of development and as a matter of course, alongside the others."
"Park: Looking at more long-term ideas, it's not something just the two of us can do on our own, but there's a cycle we would like to see the entire industry work to support, of indie developers being able to easily produce titles, get a real ROI from them, and then easily move on to the next title, with other (new) developers following their example to enter the industry."
"Soejima: If a given title sells really well, then it can be recognised as its own IP, and it would be great if such an IP can go on to last in the industry and be accepted by consumers. The entire game industry, not just Nintendo, needs to think about how to increase the number of titles born from the indie game scene. Lastly, I just want to say that while indie games tend to be associated with the digital world, we've learned that as a 'community', it is actually incredibly analogue. It's a scene that emphasises connections between people, and that's something we want to place importance on as well."