Registering for a Nintendo license so that you can develop and publish a game for the Switch is easy, but you need to follow the correct steps or you’ll encounter friction at every turn.
1. Create an Account
The first thing to do is create an account. You must be of legal age in your country of residence to do this, but you don’t require any previous experience of developing or publishing games. You can create an account through the official Nintendo Developer Portal. Once your account is complete, you’ll need to sign an NDA as part of the process. From there, you’re ready to create.
2. Make Your Game
The next thing you need to do is make your game. Nintendo has a plethora of information for you to use if you’re confused or have any questions about the process. Once the game is built, it’s time to start thinking about selling it. Developing for Nintendo Switch is free, but you’ll need to buy the development kit yourself, which can be pricey. Nintendo will advise you of how to do this through its developer portal.
The real key here is knowledge. You’ll need to bring that to the table, since Nintendo isn’t the company that will teach you how to make a game. It’s often a good idea to learn how to make a game first, then come to Nintendo when you know you want to make a game for its platforms. It provides you with the relevant SDKs so that you can develop for your desired platform from day one.
3. Get Ready to Sell
As your game nears completion, you’ll need to contact Nintendo to get it rated for the eShop. Nintendo will check that the game can be played safely and, following the completion of your self-publishing agreement, you’ll set the price and release date. Nintendo uses the same program for all developers, regardless of whether they’re Triple A or indie.
You’ll need to submit some PR material to Nintendo so that it can effectively market your game. This includes screenshots, a trailer, and the blurb that will appear on the game’s eShop page. However, this won’t help you with a physical release. That’s a separate process that you may need to go to a publisher for.
4. Release day
Nintendo provides you with all the tools to provide post-launch fixes and support for your game. You’ll also be able to put up promotions on the game’s price if you’d like to launch it with a discount for a short period of time.
Source: Nintendo Developer Portal