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Publishing on Nintendo

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Nintendo are much more approachable now, and finally seem to have gottenonboard with the idea of indie publishing. This has meant an end to the dreaded performance thresholds from WiiWare days, whereby Nintendo would only release your royalties if you sold several thousand units first. Istill have a WiiWare title from a few years back that has never earned apenny, as it didn’t hit the thresholds!

Publishing free title on Nintendo Switch


Hello fellow indie developers So we devleoped a coop only game during a game jam and everyone enjoyed it playing. We have planned to polish the whole game more and release it publicly for free.

My question is if anyone here know if we could publish a free game on Nintendo Switch just like we can on Steam. And if yes, then what is the process to publish our game for Nintendo Switch?

I am aware of the fact that we have to register on Nintendo Dev Portal. Will we get option for Switch after registering as devleoper on Nintendo portal?


Yes, you can publish a free game on Switch.

But you cant just put a game on the switch like steam. When your game is complete you have to submit to Nintendo for approval. If they dont approve it you cant put your game on the switch.

When you sign up on ndev they have a ton of documents on how to get started and a list of compliance checks you have to adhere to. You will also have to purchase dev/test kits.

I would also add a quick “this process is documented fairly well once you sign up for ndev, which is free and instantaneously approved (or was, last year). Just sign up (takes 20 mins) and poke around and you’ll find most of your answers in the portal, including the price of the dev kits.”

Concept Approval

There is no actual approval process. You have to submit a brief overview
document, but unless there is objectionable content this is a formality.

Development Kits

Nintendo may, in certain circumstances, consider free loan development
kits. If they like your game and want it on their platform, you may well be
able to get kits for no cost. Again, I can’t give exact costs for Wii-U
development kits, but they are in the region of $3,000.

Age Ratings

You must include the following age ratings for each title you submit:
▶ ESRB for North American release
▶ PEGI for Europe release
▶ USK is also required for Europe release
▶ Australian release is optional, but if you do release there an OFLC rating is mandatory


You have to submit a translated electronic manual. Required languages
▶ English
▶ French
▶ Italian
▶ German
▶ Spanish
▶ Dutch

QA Submission

Allow for several weeks to go through the LotCheck process—Nintendo test
quickly, but they stop testing once they find a handful of issues, so it can
take many attempts to get through. Make sure your lowercase i’s don’t look
like uppercase I’s!

Product Codes

eShop releases receive 200 free game codes to send out to reviewers. If you
need more than those 200 codes, you can buy more and these are charged at Nintendo’s 30% cut of the sales price.


Both Nintendo regions pay royalties on a quarterly basis. You don’t need to
invoice, and payment follows 30 days aer the quarter end date. The
revenue split is 70:30.

Pricing and Promotions

You set your own retail price for the Nintendo eStore, which is a progressive step forward since the WiiWare days. You can also change the pricing at any time as you wish.
Nintendo also allow you to run time-limited sales promotions for your
games, so you can finally develop a price strategy on a Nintendo digital
download platform. Very good news indeed!

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