Your post about the software pipeline got me thinking about a very curious phenomenon seen recently in the industry.
I’m talking about high quality 3D game engines being released for free. While there have always been software, APIs and libraries for making games available for free, I think this is the first time in history that amateurs and students have access to some of the most robust and sophisticated game engines on the market. First there was the Unity engine, then Epic made Unreal free, and just recently Crytek made their Cryengine free.
It’s pretty obvious why developers are releasing professional grade software completely for free—they all want the next ‘Minecraft’ to be built using their game engine. Minecraft was a game made by a single fat Swede, and pretty much broke all the ‘rules’ for a successful game. Minecraft’s engine is coded in Java and is pretty crappy overall—can you imagine if Minecraft were made on a good engine?
If Nintendo were smart, they wouldn’t just make their system easy to port to—they’d actively go out to Unity, Epic, Crytek, and others and try to get their console(s) supported by these engines
BTW, there’s a rumor that the NX will be using the Vulkan API. That’s big news, since Vulkan is basically the successor to OpenGL. AMD, Epic, and Valve have been investing quite a bit into Vulkan, likely since they want to reduce Microsoft’s power on PC gaming. If Nintendo were to use Vulkan though, wouldn’t that make them a direct threat to Microsoft, though?
Nintendo does not wish to take over Microsoft’s Windows so no.
Amateurs and all have always had access to game engines especially of the PC variety. DOTA and Tower Defense were Warcraft 3 maps. There were countless mods in Unreal Tournament and Quake games. These mods became full games.