There’s a lot of concern about the seemingly thin on the ground third party support for Nintendo Switch. Who’s to blame, and should we be worried?
Camera 1: Hey guys, welcome once again to P Myth Gaming, in this video I wanna talk about the Switch and third parties.
There’s been a lot of concern on the web around the relatively slender launch line-up the Switch appears to have. As it stands the only titles available on day 1 are Breath of the Wild, 1-2-Switch, Super Bomberman R, Skylanders Imaginators, and Just Dance 2017, with Snipperclips
Camera 2: Not nippleslips as I’m constantly tempted to call it
Camera 1: Has-Been Heroes and Fast RMX all coming later in March.
This doesn’t exactly include the plethora of third party titles many were expecting, and that Nintendo seemed to hint at, when it unveiled the list of ‘Switch partners’ developing for the system following the October launch trailer. So where are they?
Even during the Presentation there wasn’t a great deal of assurance. Sega, Suda 51, and EA all made an appearance during the show but didn’t actually show any software.
Given Nintendo’s recent woes when it comes to third parties, I can kind of understand the concern, and given how poorly third parties have fared on Nintendo platforms in recent years, you can forgive their hesitation in throwing development time and money at the system too.
All of that having been said, I wouldn’t start panicking just yet. The Big N do appear to be taking some steps in the right direction, that will encourage that third party support.
Just looking at that Switch Partners image is encouraging. We’ve got the likes of Dark Souls developer FromSoftware on board, Bethesda are involved for the first time, and the fact that Unity and Unreal are compatible is a huge huge win for Nintendo.
Yes, the system is underpowered once more compared to it’s bigger console brethren, but the indications are there that Nintendo has learnt a few lessons and is looking to make it easier for third party developers to bring software to the Switch. And apparently, it is very easy to develop for.
They’re also doing their bit to ensure there’s a decent install base. Wii U may have been underpowered but had Nintendo shifted a lot more units, it would’ve been worthwhile third parties developing games for it. But a combination of poor messaging and a dearth of first year games meant it struggled from the get go.
Wii U’s first year saw only New Super Mario Bros. U, Pikmin 3, and the remake of Wind Waker released by Nintendo in the first twelve months. They’re all great games, but none are really what you’d call system sellers.
Camera 2: Although admittedly, it was a combination of Pikmin and Wind Waker that eventually got me to buy it.
Camera 1: Contrast that with what they’re giving us for Switch. We’ve got a brand new Zelda on day one, that completely reinvents the series and the scope of it is absolutely huge.
Camera 2: It’s 9 times the size of Skyrim for crying out loud.
Camera 1: Then a month after launch we’ve got what is probably the definitive version of Mario Kart arriving, complete with the proper battle mode that fans of the Wii U release were crying out for.
A couple of months later in the summer we’ve got a fully fledged sequel to Splatoon. That thing was a huge hit on Wii U, especially in Japan. Holographic Squid Sister concerts packed out arenas there.
Camera 2: Ah Japan.
Camera 1: And then to round out 2017 we’ve got a brand new, properly 3D, sandbox Mario game. That’s a huge open world Zelda and the Mario 64/Sunshine style game that we’ve been clamouring after, plus Mario Kart and Splatoon, all arriving in the first 9 months. Those four titles will shift units make no mistake about it, and the fact many places are quickly selling out of pre-orders, shows that people are excited for those games.
Camera 2: Leaving aside the fact Nintendo is about as good at judging how many units to manufacture for a product launch as I am judging how much mashed potato is suitable for one person’s meal. Always mountains of it.
Camera 1: So Nintendo are doing their bit. They’ve got the killer apps lined up for the console’s launch period to drive sales, and they’ve made their system the easiest to develop for yet. Now it’s on third parties.
Yes, Nintendo has had several missteps, but third parties aren’t entirely blameless themselves. They have a nasty habit of releasing old or watered down ports for Nintendo systems and then complaining when they don’t sell well.
Sure the power limitations are a factor, but that’s no reason for the sheer level of nerfing that goes on for some Nintendo versions. EA can’t really complain about poor sales of FIFA on Nintendo hardware, for example, when it’s stripped to the bone of features that appear in other versions. You’re not telling me that’s purely down to horsepower.
And it perpetuates itself. They release subpar versions of their games, and Nintendo fans rightly don’t buy them, or buy the proper versions on a different system. Then those developers say ‘oh Nintendo fans don’t buy third party games so we’re not going to bother developing them.’
Camera 2: This assumption really annoys me. There’s plenty of beloved titles in Nintendo history, Banjo-Kazooie for example, that weren’t developed by Nintendo. Make good games, we’ll buy ’em.
So this is what worries me. EA have announced FIFA for the Switch. But it’s conspicuously not FIFA 2018, or even 2017, but a custom built one for Switch. Now hopefully that means The full experience with say 8 player local multiplayer included, which would be awesome. But I can’t help cast my mind back to FIFA 2013 on Wii, which was devoid of a load of features the other systems got, in favour of pretty useless motion controls and 5 a side Mii games.
Camera 2: If I want to play a frantic cartoony arcade football game, I’ll break out Mario Strikers thanks.
Camera 1: And then there’s Bethesda. It’s great that we’re getting Skyrim on a Nintendo system, it’s one of the most iconic games of recent years, and being able to play it on the go will be a big selling point for a lot of people.
But the game is five years old now, and there’ll be plenty of people who aren’t that interested in playing it again.
Camera 2: Whether they can do so whilst they’re dropping a deuce or not.
Camera 1: So if it doesn’t sell like gangbusters, which it probably won’t, I hope Bethesda don’t use that as an excuse to abandon the system altogether.
Similarly, Rockstar are rumoured to be porting LA Noire to the Switch. That game is six years old now. And again, if a six year old game doesn’t shift a tonne of units, no-one would be all that surprised, but it still gives more ammunition to the ‘Nintendo fans don’t buy third party’ argument.
Honestly rockstar, if you’re serious about developing for Nintendo, give us Red Dead! There’d be plenty of people who would see that on Switch and go ‘you know what, it might not be as pretty as the PS4 version, but being able to play that on the train, or take it with me when I’m visiting friends or family, I’m gonna get the Switch version.’
So yeah, I think Nintendo are doing the right things to make the Switch an enticing place for developers to release their games. I’m not too worried about the relatively thin launch line-up right now, after all, Wii U had tonnes of games on day one and it didn’t do that much good, and there’s enough killer first party stuff in the launch window to drive sales of the system.
The fact that they’ll be going up against Zelda probably comes into it too.
Camera 2: Would you want to compete for people’s money against that? I know I wouldn’t.
Let’s just hope that Nintendo’s legwork pays off and the install base is there, and that third parties do take advantage of it, and properly utilise the Switch’s USP, instead of giving us half-arsed ports that won’t sell and lead them to abandoning the system.
Those of you that are picking up a Switch, what third party games are you interested in? I know I’m picking Bomberman on day one, I will be getting Skyrim and Sonic Mania when they arrive, and I’m intrigued by the likes of Has Been Heroes too. Or how many of you would opt for something like Red Dead Two on Switch given that portability it offers? Comment section’s down there, let’s make use of it.
Thanks once more for watching, hit the like button if you liked the vid, and there’s that subscribe button too if you wanna keep yourself in the loop when I’ve got new stuff up, and I’ll catch you all next time!