Nintendo president Iwata says new handheld game production is comparable to Wii

3DS dev costs won’t come cheap

The 3DS may add new functions to the robust Dual Screen Nintendo handheld platform – but that comes at a cost.

And according to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata when it comes to making games for the device development costs will be comparable to making a game for the Wii.

Speaking during an analysts Q&A at E3, he said that the actual implementation of 3D functions to games that are already 3D/polygonal experiences has minimal impact on costs – but the advanced features of the 3DS graphic chip mean the cost will rise due to asset creation.

"As long as you are already creating a fully rendered 3D world, all you have to do in order to create the 3D visual effect is to capture the same images with two cameras, one for right eye and the other for left eye," said Iwata.

"From a development perspective, it actually does not make much of a difference in terms of development costs to create the 3D visual effect. On the other hand, because the visual capabilities of Nintendo 3DS are more powerful than the existing Nintendo DS, if you are going to take full advantage of the graphics capability of Nintendo 3DS, the development cost is also expected to rise.

"Therefore, if developers decide to try and maximise the graphical powers of the system, then the cost would be more expensive than what it is currently for Nintendo DS and may potentially approach the cost of developing Wii software."

Iwata said that as a format-holder Nintendo appreciated that introducing n ew hardware effectively pushes the price of making games up, but that the firm also thinks studios can be cost effective and produce compelling experiences even on a tight budget.

Iwata added: "While I do not think that you simply have to increase the cost of your development in order to create compelling software on Nintendo 3DS, it would also be a lie if I said that any software can be developed without spending a lot of money.

"I think it’s ok to see a broad range in development costs from title to title. I believe it’s possible for developers who have great ideas to be able to find ways to develop those ideas at a relatively low cost and make the resulting game a hit due essentially to the quality of the ideas.

"On the other hand, I believe there will be developers who will use a similar amount of resources to create games as if developing for a home console, and such games also would result in satisfaction to our consumers."

In fact, Iwata said Nintendo would prove it by investing in a number of projects internally of differing budgets: "I see the possibility for a broad range of software development costs to increase the possibility of satisfying Nintendo 3DS owners and really appeal to a very broad audience. That would be the ideal situation for Nintendo 3DS. We intend to exemplify this with our first-party titles."

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