Round Table: Third Party Troubles?

The staff discuss the rash of disappointing third party news, and whether or not it matters in the long run.

By Nintendojo Staff. Posted 02/12/2013 10:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

Last week wasn’t a particularly good one for third party news: first EA revealed that its upcoming iteration of Madden would be skipping out on Wii U (and made some rather disparaging remakes about the console in the process); then Tecmo Koei announced that Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, the enhanced Wii U port of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 game, would be making its way back to those consoles this April; and finally, Ubisoft delayed its highly anticipated 2D platformer Rayman Legends for a full seventh months in order to launch it simultaneously with the new PlayStation and Xbox versions (to immediate scorn from the gaming public). Taken in such quick succession, these announcements paint a dire picture for Wii U’s third party support, which is especially worrying given its short time on the market. But is that really case? The ‘Dojo staff weigh in on the recent turn of events.

Joshua Johnston

Fretting over Nintendo consoles and third party support seems a well-worn sport. We’ve seen fan outrage over the betrayal of Final Fantasy VII from Nintendo 64 to PlayStation. We’ve witnessed collective fretting as GameCube got inferior multiplatform ports or, increasingly, none at all. And we’ve watched as Wii got lazy adaptations of third party titles that looked even uglier and sloppier than Wii’s modest specs would justify. I’m not surprised that Nintendo’s latest console faces the same hurdles, especially given Wii U’s new interface and consequent development learning curve. Nintendo has built up a few generations of third party skepticism and that won’t go away soon, if it does at all.

How Nintendo fans felt when Square jumped ship to Sony.

And, cruelly, Nintendo remains its own worst enemy. We all know that Nintendo’s console games are– gasp!– so good that they overshadow the third parties. The top 9 GameCube sellers and the top 14 Wii sellers were either published or co-published by Nintendo. It’s not easy for third parties to get a foothold on a Nintendo console, and some companies would rather take their chances elsewhere. Losing Madden is admittedly a big deal; it’s gaming’s biggest and most enduringly successful franchise, and Nintendo does not have a ready answer for those looking to get a football fix. But let’s face it– they don’t play Madden Challenge on Nintendo consoles.

Nintendo has been profitable because it makes a sterling lineup of first and second party games and just enough third party offerings to keep things interesting. I expect them company to continue to work that successful formula on Wii U. This will no doubt irritate fans, but that won’t stop them from buying the Wind Waker remake or the next Mario title. It never does.

Marc Deschamps

Well, it appears the chicken littles are out in full force once again, aren’t they? We’re talking about a console that’s been out for less than three months, and already the sky is falling. You’d think this would have gotten old and tired after the GameCube, Wii, DS, and 3DS launches, but here we are again.

I guess I’m just astounded how quickly the turnaround happened, this time. I mean, we literally just had one of the biggest days of positive Nintendo news in the company’s entire history. But that’s just how video game news goes, isn’t it? Forget about all the great stuff we just heard last month, Rayman is no longer an exclusive! Nintendo is one console generation away from being the next Sega! This is what we’ve all feared for years, folks! THE END!

…or maybe it’s just an exclusive going multiplatform. Which isn’t exactly unheard of for Sony or Microsoft, either.

I think what bothers me the most is that you never seem to hear this about the other Big 2. Granted, Microsoft has nothing to worry about, but Sony is in really, really rough shape as a company. But all I ever seem to hear about is how much trouble Nintendo is in. It’s like Nintendo has suddenly become Glass Joe and all the pundits are looking for a shot at the title.

Now, I won’t lie, the Madden thing is a big deal. And I say this as someone that has played approximately an hour of Madden in all its various incarnations. But, if I were in Nintendo’s shoes, I would do everything I could to get Madden on Wii U. Because no matter how few copies are sold, the perception of one of the biggest multiplatform games in the world not coming out on your system is a bigger loss than anything Nintendo will have to spend to convince EA to change their minds. So get on that one, Nintendo. And everyone else? Chill out, a little bit, would ya?

Lewis Hampson

I find it strange to say the least that EA would come on stage at E3 singing the praises of Wii U one year, and then pull one of it most successful titles the next. But at the same time it’s not at all surprising. Third parties have sat back and watched Nintendo’s sales figures stutter since launch, with Ubisoft also voicing their concerns about the new consoles sales thus far. What is a little surprising is just how quickly this is all happening.

Now I may be wrong here, but I can’t remember there being a console launch which has been so swiftly and publicly shunned by third parties. Has Nintendo really done all it can to appease their fears for the future? Or will there never be enough the Big N can do to change their minds? To be honest I think it’s a little of both. Nintendo’s consoles have always been self-serving in that they fit in with the company’s remit for innovation, with third parties almost an afterthought, who are expected to bend and skew their plans to fit with Nintendo’s.

This ethos may have worked during the NES and SNES era’s but with the advent of CD technology for consoles all those years ago, Nintendo was left behind by many third parties, with only a precious few handouts for their home consoles ever since. Here’s what appears to be the bottom line at this moment in time. Nintendo don’t make consoles for third parties, they never have (save for SNES maybe) but now these developers no longer make games for Nintendo’s consoles.

The SNES’s third party support is a thing of the past.

The Big N appear to be a mere afterthought for developers and publishers now. Nintendo has proven that big franchises do not sell the sheer volume of units that publishers expect, so why bother putting an equally good game across all platforms, when they can serve us up another watered down experience for less money, or, in the case of Madden, skip the console altogether?

Maybe I am expecting too much from Nintendo itself. I certainly don’t blame third parties for not supporting Wii U at this moment in time. Most developers would rather keep their jobs than focus all efforts on new experiences for Wii U, have them flop, then be out of work the next month. Maybe this is just the way it is from now on. Maybe I need to shift my expectations and demand less from Nintendo.

Am I happy about this? Of course not! I want the best of both worlds, I want exciting first party games, and the big third party names all on one Nintendo system. After all isn’t this kinda what Nintendo promised when it unveiled Wii U? Or have we all forgotten this? It’s part of Nintendo’s job to court the development community and prove that Wii U is worth fighting for, and by the looks of things Nintendo are losing on points in the early rounds.

Like I said, maybe it’s time I forget about the past glories and missed opportunities, maybe I should face up to a future where Nintendo and only a small pool of others stand by their home consoles. Will I still support Nintendo? Undoubtedly, Wii U is still the only place we get to experience the genius of its first party games and in a strange way, their fierce determination and single-mindedness is extremely admirable, if a little misguided, in this day and age.

I truly hope Nintendo can stop the rot, and EA realise pulling Madden is a big mistake. Hey, maybe that’s what they want to hear– a big public outcry demanding the release of this storied franchise. But do we hear one? The truth is, we as Nintendo fans have constantly justified the lack of support for Nintendo’s systems by focusing on the Mario’s and Zelda’s, the Miyamoto’s and Retro’s, all whilst slagging off third parties for not doing enough.

Maybe now we need to ask the question: is Nintendo doing enough for you? Is it giving you everything you want and need in a console? The answer for me is certainly no at this moment in time, and I have doubts whether it will ever return to being an emphatic yes! Though I truly hope that at some point in time, my answer will change. So, is the Big N doing enough for you?

Pages: 1 2

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Log In 0 points Log in or register to grow your Ninja Score while interacting with our site.
Nintendojo's RSS Feeds

All Updates Podcast
News Comments
Like and follow usFacebookTwitter Friend Code Exchange + Game with Us Join the Team!