What’s wrong with Nintendo?

Both the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Wii are great devices, and currently amongst the most interesting to program for. This becomes evident from the fact that there is quite a large Homebrew community producing excellent applications such as Colors!.

You’d think that Nintendo does everything they can to turn their products into popular development platforms in order to attract new developers and offer software beyond games, for which there is evidently a demand. They don’t. They don’t even make money from it, other people do. What does Nintendo do? They spend money on ridiculous restriction mechanisms that are cracked in an instant.

It’s quite obvious why they do it: If the console can run Homebrew, it can run copyrighted material as well. However, they shouldn’t solve this problem by trying to lock their customers out of their own devices, that’s mental (although sadly quite common these days). I believe to have the right to run whatever kind of software I like on a device that I own.

Nintendo’s Shop Channels are certainly a step in the right direction, but they’re still doing it wrong:

  • You can’t transfer software you once purchased to another console, even if it breaks. Why not bind the software to the Wii/DS account instead of the piece of hardware? If this was the case, I would have bought tons of SNES titles on the Wii Shop Channel, but I won’t spend a cent on software if I’m that likely to lose it soon.
  • They do not offer much software, let alone much besides games. I’d suggest opening up the Shop Channel to independent developers and offering a software card so that pre-Nintendo DSi owners can use the software as well. Nintendo could keep a fair share of each developer’s revenue for themselves, naturally not charging for free applications.

Please Nintendo, stop fighting Homebrew and start selling it!

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