Retro City Rampage on Nintendo's WiiWare – in fact, he stands to lose $20,000 in development costs alone, with little chance of seeing a return.
"Between the office rent, hardware, insurance, game ratings and other costs, had I not done the WiiWare version, I could've saved around $20,000 – not even including my salary in porting it," Provinciano tells Nintendo Life. "And as it stands, virtually no games hit the threshold these days, so it's only being released as fan service. A $20,000 gift to the fans."
The loss comes down to a few odd requirements Nintendo places on WiiWare launches: The developer must have a designated office space, even for a one-man operation, and he gets paid only if the game sells a certain number of copies. Unless that sales threshold is hit, "you don't get paid a cent," as Provinciano puts it. These regulations have been tweaked for future platforms, he says, and Nintendo deserves kudos for listening to its content creators.
"They listen to feedback and take action to improve things if there's a better way. In both cases, the original policies had the best intentions, but turned out to be a bit problematic."
Regardless, Provinciano launched Retro City Rampage on WiiWare on February 28 because he wanted to keep his promise that the game would come to a Nintendo console: "I'm happy to see it finally out, and the many happy players. That said, I encourage everyone to buy it! I'm crossing my fingers that it will hit the threshold at least in one region."
Retro City Rampage is holding its own on Vita, PS3, Steam and XBLA, in that order.