Will Nintendo Ever Get Third Party Support Right? - NewsVGChartz Staff , posted on 21 July 2011 / 17,243 Views
Nintendo has done a lot for gaming in terms of hardware innovations, but when it comes down to it, we really appreciate them for their fantastic first party titles that make even some of their least successful systems worth looking into. With all this great support from within their own company and developers they've purchased, honestly it wouldn't be all that surprising if Nintendo could push a system entirely on their own. But it's in their best interest to make a stable platform, so they go after third parties as well.
Early on, it's easy to say that Nintendo was successful in bringing in other publishers. Why? Because they essentially had a monopoly on the Japanese and North American market with the Nintendo Entertainment System (Europeans were too busy enjoying a variety of other platforms, including the SEGA Master System). Thanks to the NES' popularity, Nintendo was basically able to hold third parties hostage by basically forcing them to make timed exclusive content that could only be ported two years after the NES release. If it weren't for the SEGA Genesis, the Super Nintendo probably would have held a similar choke hold, but their policies lightened up in the light of competition. But after the SNES, Nintendo has been struggling for third party content. The Nintendo 64, not only limited the space that developers could work with, but also increased the costs of manufacturing software, compared to the PS1's cheap disc format.
Ever since the launch of the Gamecube, Nintendo has been chasing third parties to get content on their system. And to a certain extent, it had worked. Nintendo Gamecube saw quite a few third party exclusives, including SEGA's Billy Hatchered, Activision's Lost Kingdoms series and Konami's Metal Gear Solid remake. Nintendo even had third party developers produce titles under Nintendo's own franchises like Star Fox Assault and Donkey Konga. Capcom's exclusivity deal, called Capcom Five, is the epitome of how all these deals turned out for third party publishers. The deal promised five Gamecube exclusives. One was was canceled, the best three titles of the deal were ported to the PlayStation 2 for better financial performance, and one title, P.N.03, remained exclusive but wasn't received well from reviewers or consumers. With each platform, Nintendo continues to promise third party support. The Nintendo Wii saw plenty of third party exclusives, but it missed out on tons of the AAA experiences from the other platforms due the competition essentially being entirely different. Thanks to poor sales of third party titles that did hit the platform, the Wii is now in a dry spell from a third party perspective
In all of this, Nintendo's handheld platforms have not seen any sort of problem in third party support. The Gameboy, Gameboy Advanced and Nintendo DS have had humongous line-ups of third party content. With the Nintendo 3DS early in its life, we can't judge third parties' future on the platform based off the current software releases, but the past shows proof the system will succeed in third party realm, right? Well, recently multiple titles have been delayed or flat out canceled. SEGA's Crush3D has been pushed back due to the struggling 3DS market according to gamesindustry.biz (we can probably assume the same for they recent Shinobi delay), Assassin's Creed: Lost Legacy was canceled, and Saints Row: Drive-By is looking likely for cancellation as well. And finally, Capcom recently canned Mega Man Legends 3, although I'm sure the 3DS' troubles weren't the only factor in that decision. Will these titles determine the future of the 3DS? No, but it does show multiple publishers are disapproving of the market.
Next year we will be seeing the Wii U launch. At E3 this year, they made a similar third party promise as they always have. Company names and franchises were thrown around, as well as the promise of third party ports, but its the same thing we've seen with the Wii and the Nintendo 3DS except with PS3 and Xbox 360 footage instead of just logos in a power point. The promise of HD visuals and a possible feature rich online infrastructure gives hope that this time around things will be different. But based off Nintendo's word alone, I wouldn't hold my breath.
The more Nintendo has pushed its focus away from the industry and the pettiness of the third parties, the more Nintendo has prospered. Yes, Nintendo made a big push for 3rd party support in the GameCube era, and we know how well the GameCube did. With the Wii, Nintendo figured it out, gave third parties the middle finger that they so readily deserve, and prospered endlessly, and Nintendo tried to give third parties leeway here on the 3DS, and third parties sit and twiddle their thumbs
The lesson here is that third parties are entirely irrelevant to Nintendo's success, and Nintendo shouldn't be doing a damn thing to cater to their demands, since it will only bring harm to Nintendo financially
As a gamer, i'm a little more split on that, if only because i liked Monster Hunter Tri and would like to see more even if Nintendo has to moneyhat more MHs out of Capcom, but the big, financial pictures says that Nintendo should flip third parties the bird and leave them to drown in their own red ink
Nintendo tried to redress the balance by releasing the 3DS and holding back their big games. Result? The third parties produced absolutely dire launch games, resulting in the console not selling.
It only started selling once Zelda was released. The fact that an update of a 14 year old game is the only reason to buy a new console says everything.
Even when Nintendo give third parties the chance to succeed, they don't take the opportunity. The fact that they're now cancelling / delaying games due to poor sales of the console is just rubbing salt into the wound as they caused the situation in the first place.
I think an equally valid question is: will third parties ever get Nintendo support right? Nintendo platforms are supported by arguably the best games developer in the world - third parties need to produce their best efforts on such platforms if they want to compete. In recent years, they very seldom have (and too often when they have the games have not been marketed sufficiently).
To be honest, Shinobi was probably delayed because it looked like arse. I mean you can say "Oh they were going for a retro style" but the game looked bad and if released looking like that within a few months would have bombed.
If Ninja Gaiden on the DS can look good, why can't Shinobi built for the 3DS?
@Mr.Khan i agree with you on that. But im a gamer first. I dont receive any money from Ninty or Sony. So if Wii U will be Gamecube 2, im all for it. Loved the Cube
There's a few reasons Nintendo's had problems with 3rd party support.
During the NES and SNES days, Nintendo was an absolute dick to 3rd parties. It was a huge reason the Genesis did so well, because SEGA offered a pleasant alternative to Nintendo's draconian policies. The N64 and especially the Gamecube got dumped on majorly by 3rd parties in retribution, which was largely deserved and for the best.
Third parties hate single console exclusives, now more than ever, and any obstacle to porting their games to as many consoles as possible (e.g., the Gamecube's small disc size despite its impressive power and ease of programming, the Wii's relatively weak power and nonstandard controller despite its massive marketability and sales, and an overall lack of a workable online system on either console) results in it getting dumped. Third parties especially hate being forced to design a game specifically for one console.
The biggest issue: Nintendo's own games sell too well, are too popular, and are inextricably linked with the identity of Nintendo consoles. In other words, people buy Nintendo consoles for Nintendo games and only look at 3rd party games afterwards. It's hard to compete with Nintendo's high level of quality, as well as the fact that all of their games are tailor made for their consoles, obviously, which will almost always look better than a port, no matter how well the port is handled.
The first issue is mostly over. Nintendo can still be a bit quirky about who it offers licenses to, that kind of stuff, but they're mostly in line with everyone else now. The WiiU looks to fix the second issue that hit its peak with the Wii since it's not skimping on power, a worthwhile online system, and is not alienating game designers with the control system. ie, third parties can easily port a game from another console to the WiiU and know that it won't be held up by anything, but have the option and ability to explore new ideas if they want to. The third issue will always be an issue, and, honestly, it's an issue I would rather stick around.
I agree with RolStoppable here. 3rd parties seem to have never wanted to be on Nintendo consoles, since they jumped ship as soon as they could. The terrible support of the Wii was entirely the 3rd parties choice, and no amount of courting by Nintendo can change that, so there's no use in even trying.
Also, why is it that you still believe in the myth of 3rd parties not selling well on the Wii? In one of the Nintendo investor Q&A, there's graphs showing the average sales of 3rd party games on all consoles. When CoD:MW2 was icluded, PS3&X360 had a higher average than the Wii, but if you removed it, the opposite was true. So no, the Wii was good for 3rd parties.
Didn't RE0 remain a Nintendo exclusive? If not, I'm a moron and should have been playing that.....I really want to play that game :(
Maybe he means that he doesn't have a Nintendo console and would have purchased the game on his console if he had known it was available. shrugs
i don't thik i can recall as much anti nintendo bias from 3rd parties as this gen...and i found the EA appearance at E3 lacking compared to the place Nint gave them.... they should be the ones we hear the most of, not ubi and thq.... but it seems as if their presence was forced.
Well, the question I'd have next is what influences them to seek to avoid Nintendo platforms? Is it possibly a Nintendo policy (or culture) that pushes developers away in some way or another? Or is it purely developer preference? Some mixture of both?
Great speak man, you should be making articles here so we could get good reads more often