It would make sense if Microsoft’s purchase of developer Rare all those years ago kept the company away from developing for Nintendo platforms. Thing is, that’s not exactly true. Since 2003, the company has partnered with multiple publishers (including Nintendo) to develop titles for the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS.
During a recent interview with Develop, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer explained the rather outlandish relationship between ex-Nintendo developer Rare and the DS: “Well specifically at Rare â€“ and I think this is good to talk about â€“ the studio has a history in making handheld games, and titles for Nintendo platforms. When we acquired the studio that expertise was there and the team was there. As Microsoft we had a discussion â€“ do we want to build that expertise? We decided yes.”
Explaining how Microsoft can tap into that level of knowledge, he continued, “It might play out in handheld today and it might play out on Xbox Live Arcade later on; there are a lot similarities between handheld games and Xbox Live Arcade games and you see some XBLA games have a history in that space.”
When asked if Microsoft was interested in allowing other exclusive developers to follow the same path, Spencer said, “Well, when our studios start to think about ‘non-traditional’ games, they really look at Live Arcade. That’s because of the environment and the excitement around that platform â€“ so when people want to start experimenting they often go straight for Live. Creatively, there seems to be a lot of direction driving towards that.”