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Nintendo lowers price of development kits to entice indie game makers

Why it matters to you

This is great news for independent developers as now they can produce Switch games with a low up-front cost

Developing games for the Nintendo Switch just got way more affordable.

At the Game Creators Conference 2017 in Osaka, Japan, Nintendo announced that Switch development kits would only cost 50,000 yen, or roughly $450.

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This comes as great news for independent game developers who have long had to deal with expensive up-front costs in developing games for consoles. “It’s a radical departure from their earlier exclusiveness that Nintendo is releasing their dev kits at such a low price,” said Rami Ismail, co-founder of Vlambeer. To put things in perspective, a PlayStation 3 development kit ran for $20,000 at launch.

Things slowly went on a downward trend, as PlayStation 4 dev kits became a far more affordable $2,500. While Nintendo never officially released numbers, it was rumored that Wii U dev kits also ran for around $2,500. If the rumored numbers are true, the latest more represents an 80-percent reduction in price.

“It means more third parties, and mostly more small-to-middle-sized indies will have a chance at developing for Nintendo,” said Ismail. “It’s hopefully an indication of a more open platform, which would mean more opportunity for independent creators to use the unique possibilities of the Nintendo Switch.”

Courting indie developers has been the modus operandi of the major three console manufacturers this generation. With the rise of so many critically acclaimed titles from small developers, it makes sense that making a development platform as hassle free as possible would only be good for the industry. Indie games like The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+, Shovel Knight, Stardew Valley, and Yooka-Laylee have already been announced for the system.

The Switch is Nintendo’s latest console. It’s a handheld hybrid that will allow gamers to play on their televisions or on the go. The Nintendo Switch is set to launch on March 3, 2017 for $299.