News Article

Nintendo Blocking Third Party Releases On Virtual Console?

Posted by Damien McFerran

If your title is in direct competition with a Nintendo one, you may be screwed

If you like to moan about the apparent lack of quality titles coming to the Virtual Console then you may wish to direct your anger at Nintendo itself rather than third party publishers, if this recent piece of news is anything to go by.

A poster on NTSC-UK forum has replied to a thread about the upcoming release of Super Mario Kart on Nintendo's retro download service, and what he has to say is rather enlightening:

I was working for a company last year who submitted a SNES game to the VC which got turned down.

Nintendo said it was because it was direct competition to one of their upcoming games which they were struggling to emulate for the VC. My prediction was SMK and it looks like I was spot on.

The poster was later asked if the game in question was Street Racer - a likeable Mario Kart-clone released by Ubisoft in 1994 - to which he replied in the affirmative.

Obviously forum chatter has to be taken with a pinch of salt but we can't see any reason why this wouldn't be true. Nintendo has apparently struggled to emulate Super Mario Kart on the Virtual Console and if Street Racer had been released beforehand, it would make Nintendo look somewhat inept.

However, the news that the company is blocking potential Virtual Console releases is likely to stir up animosity towards Nintendo, rather than understanding.


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User Comments (85)



Terra said:

If this is true, then I'm gonna be really annoyed with Nintendo. I wonder if there were similar circumstances for why Bionic Commando was blocked as well.



Philip_J_Reed said:

I'm sure they get more money from first-party titles than third-party. Without question the developer gets a cut of the profits, so if Nintendo is the developer, they keep it all.

I don't think it's unlikely that they block clones from coming out...but big whoop. If you made a list of all the clones of Nintendo's games that were better than the games they were "inspired" by, it'd be a very, very short list.

They can keep Street Racer. Just give me the rest of my damn Mega Man.



V8_Ninja said:

What the heck? Nintendo blocking third party games on the VC? This is very stupid of them. Why? That's the the ultimate question in this situation; Why? However, this does give hope to us all who are still waiting for Rare games.

P.S. @Terranigma Bionic Commando was blocked because of the fact that Hitler is the main enemy, a very real figure of power and fear. It has nothing to do with Nintendo blocking third parties.



ReZon said:

Not very believable. But still, the pitchforks and torches are held high...



XCWarrior said:

Very intersting. Probably true sadly, but considering they don't promote VC much, not like many people buy any 3rd party VC titles anyway.



Terra said:

@V8 Ninja - From what I've seen, that was never confirmed as the reason, just speculated. I don't think they said why it was blocked at all. Also, I thought Hitler was censored in the western versions of the game.



StarBoy91 said:

Judging from that photo alone, does that mean no NBA Jam? Or am I just jumping to conclusions?



astarisborn94 said:

If they are doing this, then I will e-mail Nintendo of Japan about this and order this message to Satoru Iwata.

We can understand blocking some games from the Wii, since they might suck, but Virtual Console games is unacceptable.

Now the chances of Ubisoft supporting the Virtual Console has diminished.



JonWahlgren said:

Heresay of course, but I heard Nintendo threw a hissy-fit over Bionic Commando: Rearmed going to XBLA/PSN and not Wii and denied the original a VC release.

Sounds petty, but just petty enough to be believable.


We can understand blocking some games from the Wii, since they might suck, but Virtual Console games is unacceptable.

Quite the double standard you got going there.



Hardy83 said:

I believe this. It's pretty obvious, especially when you look at the 64 VC. There is NO WAY that no company wants to rerelease their 64 games on VC.

And if you've ever noticed that when Nintendo releases on of their games on DSiWare or WiiWare/VC they tend to release either nothing or crap games along with it. It's clear they either hold or block third parties releasing games.



Sneaker13 said:

The post on NTSC-UK is from June 2009. Bit weird to devote a news item to it now. But I have to say that it is understandable from Nintendo's POV to release Super Mario Kart before any other similair Kart game. But I think we can be happy with Nintendo's Third Party VC support after the LucasArts release from the last couple of months.



Ren said:

why is this a surprise. They can approve or not approve any game they want. It's anyones guess why, maybe it's about this kind of competition, maybe it's other things, but it doesn't bother me. They still make generally pretty good choices about what gets released. It's no worse than the "nintendo seal" of the NES days, ensuring the family friendly material. I might feel differently if Nintendo put out lots of crap, and held back great titles, but their own releases are top notch.

I only wish they would help support some of the third party titles that do get released with their own advertising muscle, thats what is lacking from the great 3rd party games on Wii.

uh, Wait how could this be true in light of this "Okiraku Kart Wii" game that was just released in Japan and posted in the news here 2 spots down?



blackknight77 said:

Hudson and D4 support has been lacking but other 3rd party support has been strong from Tecmo, Sega, Commodore, and Lucas Arts. Well anyway if Mario Kart arrives tomorrow maybe Nintendo will then plan to release Street Racer. All is solved and good in the land of the VC.



Mange said:

They have approved quite a pile of crap. Makes no sense blocking a game, especially not a mk clone. Most would choose the mk game as first priority and those who would not, would probably get both.



V8_Ninja said:

@Terranigma Oh, I thought that was confirmed. My mistake. & about the censorship thing, you're probably thinking about the European/Japanese release of the game or the more infamous Wolfenstien 3D SNES port. I don't know which, but it's probably one of those.



LinktotheFuture said:

It is possible, but Super Mario Kart is going to do better than any 3rd party racer, so I kind of doubt that this is true.



retro_player_22 said:

That's a load of BS. If this is true why the hell do we get two Puyo Puyo clones on the VC (Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine and Kirby's Avalanche). Surely, Nintendo would had skip on the Sega title but didn't, also perhaps Nintendo wanted to release Super Mario Kart first before they could release the competing clones later, maybe that's why it got turned down, resubmit after SMK and Nintendo might reconsider.



MrPanic said:

Well, it would be a understandable move so I don't know where all the fuss is all about.



Sabrewing said:

Maybe if it was a game more impressive than Street Racer getting denied, I'd be more upset. Like, say, what if Nintendo had blocked Terranigma because they released Link to the Past?



BJWanlund said:

I absolutely hope that isn't the case. If Nintendo outright confirms it, Wii is officially sold back to GameStop.




Rapadash6 said:

This is complete speculation and rumor. Why would Nintendo allow Sonic games to go on Virtual Console when they could potentially compete with the Mario titles? Also, true or not, Nintendo would not disclose that kind of explaination to any publisher.



NikeXTC said:

That just sounds too odd for me... Super Mario Kart is a sure hit, its sales wouldn't be affected much by the release of a "competing" title, no matter how much good. And Street Racer wasn't that awesome title, by the way.

On the other hand, Nintendo in its history has done several moves like this, so it could turn out to be true...



Sounds like viral marketing. I mean, it came from a glorious forum! And we all know that 99.5% of stuff in the forums are fanboyish tantrums.
Also, what the heck is Street racer?!



Pit_42 said:

I believe it. Nintendo has a history of trying to control third parties.



Adam said:

Even if this were really Nintendo's reason for supposedly blocking this crappy-looking game from release, they wouldn't tell them! They'd make up some polite reason.

Also, why would he say he "predicted" SMK as if he weren't sure? What other game did he think his company shamelessly ripped off?

None of it adds up. Just some random internet poster looking for his time in the spotlight, or a hack developer angry that his ugly game didn't make it big.

Seriously, has anyone watched videos of this garbage? Nintendo did us a favor. Long stretches of road with nothing going on. Terribly ill-fitted character design for a kart racer. And seemingly no items to speak of, or if there are any, they don't seem to pop up often or do much.

Granted, I'm going by what I see, not what I play, but Nintendo has every right to release the game that started it all first and release the clone on their own schedule.



brandonbwii said:

"it came from a glorious forum! And we all know that 99.5% of stuff in the forums are fanboyish tantrums."

Yeah, kinda like buffalobob

My only question is why block any potential quality 3rd party game on VC but anything goes on WW (and Wii in general)?



blackknight77 said:

If this were true then they would block Hudson's Neutopia for being competition to Zelda. I don't believe this story, I think Nintendo is actively trying to find third parties to contribute to the Virtual Console not shun them.



Bass_X0 said:

Street Racer isn't a great game. It would surely not hinder Super Mario Kart's sales in any way even if it was released first.

My biggest complaint with Street Racer was that the camera was far too low for a Mode 7 game. It was hard to see walls and bends coming up. Ugly, Adam? Maybe a little but there are many uglier games on the VC already. Four player mode was really hard to see unless you have a large TV. Ill-fitting character design... no, not really. They're pretty much standard third-party fare for the SNES. They're not Mario but they're okay (but only okay). They have a few weapons such as individual front attacks and side attacks and special moves - Helmut can jump, Sumo San can make himself electric (I think). Course design wasn't a patch on SMK's though, I remember it being quite awkward but soccer and rumble were kinda fun. I'd predict a 6/10 or 7/10 if Nintendo Life were to review it.



Stuffgamer1 said:

Well, Nintendo DOES at the very least have a track record of DELAYING the release of VC games. Sin & Punishment...the August 2008 incident...various games with pointlessly large cross-region get the point. I DO get the impression that they're trying to win back publishers now (FINALLY!), so I'd guess this isn't too big a problem going forward.

The N64 thing Hardy83 mentioned is extremely suspicious, though. Are we REALLY supposed to believe that Nintendo hasn't scared some publishers off or something? This Street Racer was Ubisoft, yes? I've found it suspicious that Rayman 2 isn't on VC yet, even though it hit PS1 Classics almost a year ago. Could the two be related? We don't have ANY Ubisoft VC games yet, do we?



Jeroen1 said:

Street Racer hasn't aged well, but the same could be said of Super Mario Kart. But, whether you like it or not, the latter is still a classic which had a huge influence on other kart racers, even though I think Street Racer outclassed SMK in some departments.



Mayhem said:

I think you'll find the image #15 reappearing for that comment Jereon... well from some people at least. I still love SMK but I think the DS version is the best iteration Nintendo have released to date.



KnucklesSonic8 said:

I believe it also. This is awful, though. I understand why they'd do this, but still.... It definitely raises an eyebrow. And I completely agree with the above sentiments regarding 64 releases: it explains a lot, really. And I mean, c'mon, N64 is dying to be supported. Can only hope VC starts off and continues strong at the start of 2010...



Mr_Nose said:

Nintendo gave Flipnote Studio away for free. It's one of the coolest apps I've seen in recent memory. They could have made a fortune on it, but they gave it away.

Speaking of the DS, everyone who bought a DSi got 1000 points, for free. Ninty basically gave everyone ten dollars. On top of that, you got a free browser.

Speaking of free browsers, when they decided to make the Wii browser free of charge, they gave everyone who had already purchased it, a free NES game of their choice. They didn't have to do either.

Speaking of the Wii, Nintendo sent Wiimote covers out to anyone who requested them, for free. There are over 50 million Wiis out there, can you imagine the cost just for covering half of those systems?

I'm not even going to go into the Club Nintendo give-aways. The point is, Nintendo is one of the few who actually give something back, or do things with no financial gain from time to time.

Now, I'm supposed to believe that they would do all these things, and more, and yet still sink to such a low, money grubbing standard, as to what this poster is claiming? I'll never believe that.

Besides, the internet is rife with enough Wii hating as it is.



Well it makes sense. I just hope they release Super Double Dragon at some point, or Schehezarade.



astarisborn94 said:

@SirGreatNose: You are right about that, but they do make mistakes and this is certantly a mistake.

I wouldn't be surprise if more sites were to know. These people would go ape **** over this!



theblackdragon said:

(a) those 1,000 points have no real monetary value to them, and they carry with them the added incentive of getting people more interested in their DSiWare service
(b) the Web Browser should've been preinstalled, to be honest, but again it's a clever ploy to make sure people at least figure out how to work the DSi Shop once in order to get it
(c) the wiimote jackets and stronger handstraps were done for the safety of their consumers (and probably to prevent an eventual class-action due to injuries and damages to property due to normal play)
(d) don't even get me started on the Club Nintendo 'giveaways', which you technically earn by filling out their marketing surveys for them after having bought their games in the first place -- marketing surveys usually pay out money anyway. I've been paid to take surveys at the mall plenty of times, and there's websites on the internet that will pay you to take surveys for them (ymmv, some are more reputable than others).

I could definitely see Ninty doing this kind of thing, as a sound business decision (if you've got a monopoly on a service and you want to release a game, why release a known direct competitor to said game beforehand?), though whether or not it's actually true is up in the air, of course.



BlueFlameBat said:

And then these games end up on XBLA and/or PSN ... and/or whatever the PC/MAC equivalent is. Steam? Anyway, if this is true, Nintendo needs to cut the crap. So a few people playing Bionic Commando NES may be inspired to buy the remake on a competitor's console ... so what? That's not going to hurt Nintendo's profits. And I've played bits of Street Racer on an emulator; it's not that great, but it doesn't deserve to be rejected just because it could take attention away from a certain pudgy plumber who's been getting way too much attention as it is.



BlueFlameBat said:

And just for that, I won't be buying Super Mario Kart on the VC ...
Okay maybe not just that. I've had the game on my actual SNES for years and I'm not crazy about it.



brooks83 said:

Beetle Adventure Racing was an Electronic Arts game. Maybe Nintendo rejected that game (it would have been a 3rd party N64 game too) because of all of their first party racing N64 games, and EA is refusing to support the VC after that. It's all just speculation here, but it would make sense.



dizzy_boy said:

i`ve always been a bit suspicious about this. considering 3rd pary vc games a thin on the ground compared to the 1st party games.
if you don`t believe me, it`s easy enough to look up the total amount of games each developer has for each of the consoles on the vc.
it could also explain namco`s high volume of games on the japanese vca.



Sean_Aaron said:

I dunno, on the one hand I can believe it and on the other you have zero 1st party releases of VCA titles -- the arcade category is practically owned by Namco. It just doesn't add up for me.



DJ_Triforce said:

It's business. Sad but true. If it has no profit or gain in any way, then what's the point?



Raylax said:

I doubt this is true. From a business perspective, Nintendo would still get royalties from the company for hosting the game, along with the almost ascertained success of their own first-party retro offerings.
And even if it was true, do you really believe Nintendo would actually tell the company that it was because they want to release their own title for their own profit? That's a pretty poor way of keeping your 3rd-party support.
"Yes, we know that we let you spend a few months and a bit of money preparing the SNES ROM for Virtual Console release. But no, we'd rather release our own title, we get more profit for it. May we suggest you start working on a Wiiware release? That's a good idea. But be aware that we're currently making games in the racing, FPS, RPG and adventure genres, so don't make one of those or we'll ignore it. Go make a puzzle game or something. But check with Skip first to see what they're up to. NINTENDO LOVES YA =D"



Aardvark_Soup said:

A forum post by an anonymous person is everything but a reliable source. Still, if he's speaking the truth this would be a very bad thing and unfair competition. I'm curious how Nintendo would react to this.



RonF said:

I wouldn't be surprised if the story is only partially true, as the money wouldn't compensate the bad press. I would find much more reasonable if Nintendo rejected the game for the time to avoid competition but would be open to release it six months from now.



Draygone said:

"Nintendo has apparently struggled to emulate Super Mario Kart on the Virtual Console and if Street Racer had been released beforehand, it would make Nintendo look somewhat inept."

Um... Nintendo's online sevice?

Also, 16. Hardy83 has a point. Why haven't we seen third-party N64 games?



Bass_X0 said:

I will e-mail Nintendo of Japan about this and order this message to Satoru Iwata.

Even if Nintendo of America were doing this, I doubt your e-mail would do any good at all.



Jave said:

A day after this rumor starts, Nintendo releases a 3rd party title on the VC. Hah. That's hilarious.



KingMike said:

Well, whoever said we never see a third-party VC game on the same day as a first-party game, they've been proven wrong today. Super Mario Kart and A Boy and His Blob have been released.



brandonbwii said:

I was always under the impression that all games could be submitted (save for that bionic commando fiasco), it just was up to nintendo to decide to release them.There was another rumor awhile back that Konami as already submitted up to 60 classic games and NOA is just taking their sweet time releasing them. So it always seemed like a "we'll get back to you" approach rather than a "you might steal our audience away" approach.

@ Jave/KingMike
And a fairly big name 3rd party release too.



Ian_Daemon said:

"Street Racer" was so much more fun. (Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but more fun.) I still have the SNES cart. I'd re-buy the game in a second.



vherub said:

bizarre story, so many questions,
such as- why would SMK cause VC struggles? Maybe a game like Star Fox, Stunt Race or Rendering Ranger R2- but mario kart?
And then if they were having struggles, shouldn't they be more likely to approve street racer so people can buy in the interim?
If you look at the popular chart for VC, nintendo games dominate. 3rd party VC get a fraction of the sales- even awesome 3rd party games (def d'loading boy and his blob).



astarisborn94 said:

@brandonbwii: Could a few of those 60 games be from the TMNT series?
@brooks83: The game was going to be published by Nintendo, so I'm sure we'll be seeing that. After all, if it was published by a third-party company, we wouldn't see it with an ESRB rating in the first place.



M00se said:

nintendo becomes more of a money making buisiness and less of a game company every year! what happened to the super NES and NES days! back then ninty had games roll out very often and franchises like star fox and donkey kong! now it wii fit, wii sport, wii music! all that is crap and i dont get why ninty starts lookin at what their fans want instead of what the non gamers want!



madgear said:

This is a load of crap. For a start there's no way Mario Kart is a struggle to get running on the Wii - if a kid programming an emulator in his bedroom can get it running on a damn mobile phone then Nintendo themselves can get it running on the bloody Wii!

Also why would Nintendo block a game like Street Racer and not, say Kid Chameleon (a Mario clone), Turrican (a Metroid inspired title) or the countless Zelda inspired games on there? I mean they have Mario's main rival Sonic on there! I don't know where you got this news from, but it sounds like typical internet fan specualtion. "Oh Mario Kart isn't on the VC yet - it must be hard or impossible to emulate!!" it's a load of bull - yeah some games are hard to emulate to people who do them as a hobby but I can tell you now that Nintendo will find no trouble at all converting ANY of their past catalogue on to the Wii.



JusticeColde said:

this could be true..... but then again they have gotten good support from snk & d4 in japan (fatal fury special was released earlier this month) but it could be noa and new management from other developers (like snk when they moved from jersey to los angeles most recently) so ethier nintendo or certain 3rd parties are blocking titles



J_K said:

So first they change the rules about games and your rights, now they block competitive third party software. Is it any wonder if I get games anymore via DD it's for my PS3 and PSP. >:

Seriously I was pissed when I learned the terms on how games on the systems were handled in that you have no rights, and if you end up having to get a new system you lose your games. That's right, if your stuff is stolen, broken, whatever...unless it goes back to NOA for a refurb priced swap out you lose your potentially 100s of dollars in games. And with the games bound per-system, I do wonder if you can even move them to next gen hardware in the coming years. Sony hasn't this issue or MS due to those accounts you can pick up and move.

It's like Nintendo wants to find any way to keep anyone who pays any bit of attention what they're up to away from paying them for a damn thing.



I'd really like ClayFighter 63 1/3, I wish they'd release that.



Knux said:

I personally think this is a lie, but I got my torches ready just in case...



TingLz said:

Just because something is submitted to VC doesn't mean Nintendo HAS to release it. They can choose not to release a game.



J_K said:

That's obvious, but the issue here isn't the pick and choose bit, but if they picked and choosed based on not wanting someone to have a game out that might bleed off a few sales of Mario Kart as it's dishonest and harmful to the developer.

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