For the past nine years Dan Adelman has served as Nintendo's window to the indie world. Dan is responsible for reaching out to indie developers and helping them bring their games to eShop, including big hits like Cave Story. However, things weren't always perfect between Adelman and Nintendo. Because his personal views did not always match Nintendo's views (in particular, he once tweeted that he didn't think 3DS should be region locked), Nintendo told him he was not allowed to use Twitter anymore last year, and has largely kept him from doing interviews and public appearances since then.
Adelman has announced that he is leaving Nintendo to work exclusively with indie developers. It's not clear exactly what this entails, but Adelman says he will be working with multiple indie studios as their "business guy." He also stated that Nintendo has been very supportive of his decision.
Speaking with Kotaku, Adelman explained his decision to move on, and talked a little about his role going forward.
"I guess the short answer is that I'm going indie! As the indie games business matures, a real need for business expertise has started to develop. I've been working with the indie community for almost 9 years now, and one consistent theme I've noticed is this tension between developers following their passion to make the game they want to make and needing to be able to make a living doing it. Unfortunately, though, there are a lot of business types who at best just don't get what indies are trying to do, or at worst are pretty much unethical.
"So even though a lot of indie development studios may really want to have someone helping them out with marketing, business development, strategy and all that, there's really no one to turn to. I've given a lot of business advice to different developers over the years which I think has been helpful, but I think to do it right and really help the indie scene grow to its real potential, it needs to be a full time thing. So what I'm planning on doing is working directly with several indie game studios as their business guy – whatever that really means. In the same way that a core dev studio needs a programmer, designer, artist, and sound person, I think there's also a need for a business person. It's definitely a different kind of role than the other ones, but it can be really critical, since one smart business decision can cut your costs in half or double your sales – and vice versa.
"Nintendo has been really supportive of this move. I think everyone there has known for a while that my passion has always really been about helping the indie community develop and thrive, so even though everyone was really surprised when I gave my 2-week notice, they all understood and wished me the best. I couldn't have asked for a better sendoff." — Dan Adelman
Later in the interview, Adelman talks about Nintendo's decision first to restrict what he could say on Twitter and then to ban him from the social networking site altogether. Eventually he was also asked not to take part in interviews or public events, as his personal views were not always in line with Nintendo's official policies. However, Adelman has left Nintendo on good terms, and he says that he believes their indie program is still in very capable hands.