News Article

Talking Point: 3DS Depends on Nintendo Titles for Success

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Developers left out of the party

Recent weeks have seen some positive news for Nintendo and 3DS: a truly abysmal launch period has been forgotten by many, as a major price drop and some heavy-hitting titles have resuscitated the device. It’s now exuding respectability after a difficult summer in 2011 when it looked like a flawed idea and, possibly, a major step-back for the company.

When we refer to major titles, we’re really talking about the two Holiday period blockbusters, Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7, though Monster Hunter 3 G has also been a major seller in Japan. For many, however, buying a 3DS either as a gift or for personal use has probably meant buying one or both of these releases. After all, it’s a Nintendo console and those games have Mario in the title, so why on earth would you need anything else?

Of course, not all gamers, particularly those that are enthusiastic and regularly visit websites such as this one, necessarily think that way. The range of interesting titles on 3DS expands well beyond the moustachioed plumber’s appearances for these consumers, but it’s fair to say that gamers of this ilk are actually the minority of Nintendo’s customer base. It may be an uncomfortable truth, but it seems that Nintendo is becoming increasingly reliant on a broader demographic for sales success, and that in turn could impact 3DS in a similar way to Wii: Nintendo games sell, third-party titles — apart from admittedly fun dancing experiences — don’t.

We’ve made a couple of bold statements, but recent news does support them and raise concerns for future game development on 3DS. Despite much pre-launch talk — not to mention the launch-day software list — reinforcing the idea that Nintendo was hoping for third-parties to shine, the top five biggest selling 3DS titles in the UK in 2011 featured four first-party offerings: Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and Nintendogs + Cats. Only Rayman 3D, which has been heavily discounted for extended periods by British retailers, was able to sneak in at number 5. 2011 may not have been a golden year for third-party titles on 3DS, but there were some solid, high-quality titles on offer than failed to achieve notable sales success.

From a UK perspective, that trend is continuing into 2012, with Resident Evil Revelations going from a positive opening week in sixth place in the all-format charts, to disappearing from the top 40 altogether two weeks later: notably this has happened during a generally quiet period in the release schedule. We’d speculate that initial interest from dedicated gamers will have contributed to an initial burst, but that this minority group of gamers couldn’t sustain sales over a longer period. Reliable sales data for North America is harder to come by, but it’s not inconceivable that results will be similar. In Japan, meanwhile, Revelations is still performing well, but the market and Nintendo user-base is very different in that region.

Major, multi-million selling titles across the HD consoles have little impact on Nintendo systems, with 3DS and Wii owners buying games that offer different experiences.

It’s that user-base that is, perhaps, the most important reason for this third-party lethargy. A glance at all-format charts shows where the money is for major developers that aren’t called Nintendo. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, FIFA 12 and Battlefield 3 were the top three titles in the UK on all formats in 2011, and also featured in the top five lists for both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. None of those titles features in the Wii top five, and although these are home console examples, it demonstrates that Nintendo is operating on a different sphere to its Sony and Microsoft competitors. Major, multi-million selling titles across the HD consoles have little impact on Nintendo systems, with 3DS and Wii owners buying games that offer different experiences.

To return to 3DS specifically, the case can be made that it’s a positive that the handheld isn’t home to ports of third-party blockbusters, but offers gaming experiences unavailable anywhere else. For many Nintendo gamers, whether experienced veterans or those new to gaming, Nintendo continues to offer its own unique blend of creativity and accessibility, often wrapped in an inoffensive, family friendly exterior. For some, the fact that the three biggest selling 3DS titles of 2011 consisted of two Mario titles and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is something to celebrate, a definitive demonstration of what makes Nintendo different from its competitors.

The other perspective, however, is that the continuing dominance of first-party titles, and the struggles of high-quality third-party releases, will lead to developers and publishers walking away from 3DS, just as they eventually did from Wii. The problem for Nintendo is that it’s under continual pressure to pick up the slack, churning out a high volume of titles developed in-house or by development partners. Even looking ahead, the 2012 schedule shows plenty of first-party titles in the pipeline, with anticipated releases such as Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D and the as yet un-dated Monster Hunter 3 G offering some respite.

As if to further reinforce the point that first-party software rules on 3DS, Digital analysis firm FADE LLC has recently provided eShop revenue figures for 2011. Although this analysis is not necessarily fully accurate, it nevertheless showed that $7.34 out of $11 million of those takings were on Nintendo titles, around two-thirds of the total sales. Even on a digital platform where smaller developers and publishers have an opportunity to grab attention, 3DS owners still appear to gravitate to Nintendo’s games. More developers have potentially top-class titles on the way to the eShop in 2012, but will they fare better in attracting a large proportion of consumers?

In one sense, the early reliance of 3DS on first-party titles is a demonstration of quality, with Nintendo’s software studios and development teams continuing to provide first-class games worthy of the iconic brands. It’s a sign of success, after all, that a fledgling handheld sells not just on the basis of its technological capabilities for gaming, but also because it boasts exclusive games, often featuring a chubby plumber. The concern, however, is that third-party developers will be discouraged from releasing AAA titles on the handheld, and will revert to either lazy ports and cash-ins or, potentially, abandoning the platform completely. There may have been rumours in recent days of Japanese developers moving from Vita to 3DS, but without some major commercial success for third-parties, that kind of support may be short-lived. Nintendo and its various development partners are currently working on a lot of titles and a new home console: without support even Mario’s standards could slip.

What do you think? Is 3DS over-reliant on first-party titles, or do you think other developers will be able to succeed on the handheld? Let us know in the comments below.

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User Comments (99)

Oregano

#1

Oregano said:

" Although this analysis is not necessarily fully accurate"

Understatement of the century. FADE=VGChartz=BS Numbers. Nintendo doesn't release numbers for their digital platforms and if they did it would be through their own PR, not a completely unrelated "analysis" group.

..and of course although Nintendolife is UK based you can't just dismiss a title based on its placement in the UK charts. The UK is the biggest individual market in Europe but it's still only represents a small amount of sales worldwide. Also Mercenaries 3D charted worse and still handily met Capcom's expectations.

EDIT: The only third party that has brought any AAA titles to the 3DS so far is Capcom and they already have two million seller(SSFIV3D and Monster Hunter Tri G), something they never achieved on the DS. The next Third Party AAA game is Kingdom Hearts 3D and 358/2 Days did very well on the DS and outsold Birth By Sleep worldwide.

Bowser908

#2

Bowser908 said:

i think that nintendo isn't over-reliant on first party games.were talking about mario and zelda! it's not nintendo's fault they make games that always skyrocket into the bestseller list. and there are plenty of great third-party games for the 3ds(Rayman 3D, Steel Diver, Pacman and Galaga Dimensions, etc.)

Cipher

#3

Cipher said:

I don't doubt that some third-party developers will go on to have phenomenal sales figures for high-profile 3DS software, but at the same time I think Nintendo has to put their all into the system too. You can argue all you want that Nintendo should release fewer titles for the handheld in an attempt to coerce third-party developers into releasing bigger and better titles, but unfortunately any attempt on Nintendo's part to do this is always going to be read and reported as "Nintendo abandons 3DS". For any Nintendo platform to survive, Nintendo has to get behind it 100%.

That said, I can see Nintendo releasing slightly fewer 3DS titles from 2013 onwards in order to focus more on Wii U, so third-party devs will get more major releases shining through from then on, I expect.

misswliu81

#5

misswliu81 said:

it can be argued indeed that the 3DS is currently lacking in third party games yes. but i don't foresee a predicament similar to what has happened to the wii this time with major developers completely shunning the system, as in 3DS in favour of the vita.

if anything, it's the upcoming follow-up to the wii, the wii U that really needs proper 3rd party support. nintendo can't be solely dependent on just mario, zelda etc and i believe the wii U is the one we should be wary of for 3rd party games not the 3DS. though nintendo gained a huge casual crowd with the wii, they did lose some of the hardcore gamers as well. which is why i see the wii U situation as the main issue that nintendo has to address, especially by gaining major 3rd party support from capcom, SEGA, konami, namco etc.

besides, nintendo has always had success in the handheld market- look at the gameboy, GB advance, DS; therefore, i don't think we should be worried for the 3DS just yet.

AbuJaffer

#6

AbuJaffer said:

Nintendo hasn't had problems before with their handheld market, and especially not the DS; I doubt the 3DS will be any different (in terms of 3rd party support). It seems the lower price makes it so people are more willing to "risk it" with new IP's (TWEWY) or innovative new fronts for current series (Ninja Gyden). Personally, I'm not worried at all about 3rd party support on the 3DS; in fact, I expect it to continue the stream of high-end 3rd party software the NES, SNES, GB, GameCube, and DS had, and possibly surpass them as well.

What I am worried about, however, is the Wii U. As long as it's within reasonable range of the other next-gen consoles, I'm sure developers will take what I call the "360 route"; make their games for the most logical "lowest common denominator" and then simply port it to the other, more powerful systems. The problem will exist if the Wii U is a lot weaker than the other systems; just one or two weaker components would cripple the system, and that'll leave the system where the Wii is today. The difference is, the Wii had enough sales developers could ignore the other systems; however, if the Wii U ends up with sales like the N64/GameCube... Nintendo's on their own.

Nintendoftw

#7

Nintendoftw said:

I think more hardcore developers should start to come to the 3DS, I don't know about you guys but i'm tired of all these colorful childish games... I want Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Stories... Or maybe Dead Space portable... Something that is actually fun, has good graphics, and a good story. Even I, a Nintendo fan, am getting a bit tired of seeing My Horsez on the 3DS and no other actually good games that aren't made by Nintendo.

JarredBuzzo

#8

JarredBuzzo said:

I don't think 3DS will have much of a problem with garnering 3rd party support, even a bit after its designated lifespan. Think about the DS, GBA, GBC, etc. before it, they all garnered pretty awesome 3rd party support. While yes, people mostly remember 3rd party games from the systems that precede the 3DS, there is still the fact that all of them are Nintendo Handhelds. After the GB proved that it was a serious contender for people's time, and that it could provide short, toy like experiences , Nintendo pretty much had the market in the palm of their hands (no pun intended) this has lured developers onto their devices. This is important to keep in mind because to this day, Nintendo have proven time and again that while it leads the way with it's systems, third party support is hardly lacking on their handhelds (think about games like TWEWY on DS, one of the more recent games that is a big one from 3rd parties I can think of).
While yes, Nintendo are ultimately the leaders, it is hard to truly assert that they are the only force behind the success of their platforms in general. Give 3DS some time, and there will be SERIOUS 3rd party offerings on the system.

warioswoods

#9

warioswoods said:

The first-party titles by Nintendo occupy about 90% of my gaming time, so that's not really a problem for me. I don't care at all about the volume of third-party games, I just want a few here and there of stellar quality (RE:Revelations).

That's why I sort of wish Nintendo could just subsidize these in order to have them in its library; pay a few key third-party developers some pretty hefty funds for targeted projects, so that an expensive game on the level of RE won't be a risk for them even if it sells badly. Nintendo certainly has the cash on hand to do that, even after a year of losses.

nasachi

#10

nasachi said:

this has always been the case with nintendo-platforms and i don't really care cause as warioswoods just said i also do play mostly nintendo-games, the reason is quality and attention to detail

Megajack

#11

Megajack said:

of coarse third party developers can. they just have to use there main characters too and not make a dumb one like wipe out 2. konami could make a new castlevania, capcom could make a megaman game, and so on. they have to make stuff people are familiar with.

kyuubikid213

#12

kyuubikid213 said:

Other developers will be able to succeed on the handheld if they do the same thing they would do if they were making a 360 or PS3 title. They need to make a really great game. Speaking for myself, I do love the first-party titles and I think that they will bring the system out for other people to give them a try, but once those people get a 3DS, they won't be satisfied forever with just Zelda, Mario, Metroid, Pikmin, and Kirby. They will expect a wider variety of both games AND developers. Square Enix is a popular company. I have many friends that are waiting for Kindom Hearts 3D to come around before getting a 3DS.

So in short, yeah, other developers can succeed, but they have to WANT to succeed.

Spoony_Tech

#14

Spoony_Tech said:

I've been saying this for a while now. The third party games have to sell well and RE:R is the one I'm sure all other major companies are looking at. If that at least hits a certain mark the 3ds might be OK for the next couple of years. I do hope some of those games of which I've bought about 10 third party games achieve enough success that at least those companies will listen. It still might be hard until the user base grows a bit more!

Grackler

#16

Grackler said:

I think Nintendo are doing all they can, the rest is up to developers (to make lots of great games), and gamers to pay attention. Perhaps a change in advertising/selling tack would help too. At the moment, they all try and get one big burst of sales at launch and then mark success or condemnation based on that. If they go head to head with Ninty's top-flight titles, they will lose sales, simple as. No-ones going to let a new Zelda adventure go unplayed, and if, say, Rayman, Sonic or (even more difficult) a new IP stops appearing on shelves and advertising, people will forget about it unless they are in the small group of dedicated fans. A constant stock flow and more even advertising spread would really help. Resi: Revelations for example, sold out on day one around here, (with signs up, internet ads, the lot going), and that was it. They didn't announce new stock, stopped the adverts and it languished way out of sight in stores and website listings. Capcom wouldn't even tell me when it'd next be available! They didn't seem to care post-launch day. I just can't imagine it will get the general public buy-in if they don't wander in and consistently see it on shelves, or if it's not listed consistently as in-stock or advertised slightly online. Mario Kart Wii, Goldeneye, even the DS itself, all garnered massive sales though word of mouth and continued (slight) support over time. With DLC and the internet available to inform people, ever growing sales through word of mouth as wallets free up in dry-release spells is more than possible these days!

Bucbanzai

#17

Bucbanzai said:

I think Nintendo systems have had a reputation for being used by more casual games and 3rd parties have had a hard time getting great sales on their core titles. This has been at least partially true, but I believe the 3DS has been making gains in this area. SSFIV3D was a great starting title as the DS never had a serious fighting game. RE:Revelations is another great inroad, especially since it is so well optimized for the 3ds. I bought it myself even though I have little time to play it now to make sure the designers know the customer is out there. I am hoping MGS and Tales of the Abyss will help identify the 3ds with core games as well as casual.
The e shop may look Nintendo heavy for 2011 but with VVVVV, Mighty Switch force,and Mutant Mudds all looking like they are doing well I think it might change this year. Nintendo may still dominate there with Pushmo and other releases but at least we are seeing a good response to 3rd party on the e shop

batsugun

#18

batsugun said:

T.V. adds. I see plenty of ads on TV for Nintendo games but no adds for third party games. Even call of duty and Rayman Origins advertise the PS3 and 360 versions of the games and only show a WII, DS or 3DS logo at the end. When is the last time you saw a dedicated Nintendo system add from a 3rd party? I haven't seen one Revelations add at all. It's an excellent game.

Slapshot

#19

Slapshot said:

I'd like to see third parties push more titles that receive greater success on Nintendo platforms just as much as the next guy/gal, but the 3DS is already showing that it's the first party games with Mario in them that are pushing the system forward. This is classic Nintendo performance and it's exactly what scares other publishers from spending millions of dollars to develop games for their platforms. Of course, there's the few that always do well - Capcom - but I'd like to see better non-watered down games from the other big publishers as well.

Now that I've gotten my hands on Vita, I can personally say that the 3DS has some serious competition on its hands now too.

Blaze

#20

Blaze said:

Whilst Nintendo don't rely solely on themselves, they are far behind Sony & Microsoft when it comes to 3rd party support. :( One of the reasons I'm excited for Wii U is that hopefully Nintendo will regain the 3rd party support they've been sorely lacking recently, and we'll have loads more great games like Resident Evil Revelations in the future!

thanos316

#21

thanos316 said:

its all about marketing, advertising. you have to get your products out there to reach the public somehow. nintendo has that brand that is widely known. third parties need to spend some money on advertising their games either in print magazines, online or on tv, and also nintendo need to help them as well either by making demos available for people to try out the game. and also the consumer need to also support the third parties. meaning if you buy a third party game and its excellent, then recommend it to other people, word of mouth also drives sales. so both the third parties and ninty need to do a better job marketing their games. trust me im in marketing and spending dollars in that department will make a big difference in game sales..

Birthday_Boy

#22

Birthday_Boy said:

Nintendo will always be the best for their consoles because they have the most power with their consoles. However third parties can still succeed. We have seen many great games by third parties on the DS, like 999, Ace Attorney, Sonic Rush, and the best selling third party title for DS: Scribblenaughts. Also, at this point anyone can steal Nintendo's thunder with the Wii. However no one is trying hard enough, besides Just Dance and Skylanders.

XCWarrior

#23

XCWarrior said:

Nintendo is always going to be first party heavy. I'm a 50/50 type guy, but I'm the minority I guess among Nintendo fans.

Not counting all the free games we've gotten (Ambassadors, Zelda). I own 2 games. Tetris Axis and Pushmo. So once again, 50/50. I need some money (and time), but my next two purchases planned of games out are Nano Assault and Revelations. Mario and MK7 can wait. But above all else, I want Monster Hunter. So give us an American release date Capcom.

zenarium

#24

zenarium said:

Welll... nintendo games are the best games for 3DS.

My favorite games for the 3DS are mario kart 7, pilotwings resort, zelda:ocarina and pullblox.

Birthday_Boy

#25

Birthday_Boy said:

To go with my past comment: It's not even that hard to be on the top list on the Wii and DS right now. Especially since everyone is focussing on the 3DS.
And @Bowser Steel Diver is made by Nintendo

BleachFan

#26

BleachFan said:

Without a doubt, Nintendo needs to make some changes if they don't want to lose all of their third-party support again. Unfortunately, those changes don't seem to be happening. Now, I like Mario and Zelda as much as the next guy, but even those franchises are starting to stagnate for me. I've drained more hours than I can count on Dead or Alive Dimensions, and I predict a similar situation for Revelations, as I'm playing it. And Mario? Eh, I'm slogging through it, but as I play, I always think to myself that I could be playing Resident Evil instead. That's not to say that Mario is bad, by any means. It's just that RE is something unique, and thus more interesting for me to play.

Third-Party titles offer something different to the consoles. They add variety, which is never a bad thing. Nintendo hasn't exactly been a company that's known for that, however. Currently, I've been going through 3DS droughts, not touching my system for MONTHS, and then playing it for hours on end when something genuinely new comes out. I'd rather have a more balanced cycle than this...

So yeah, Nintendo needs to step it up with supporting third-parties. Yeah, we like Mario, guys, but that's not the ONLY thing we like. Support some new ideas, and see what comes out of it!

hydeks

#27

hydeks said:

Why does Nintendo's games sell and the third parties usually don't? Well thats simple, Nintendo gives pure gold ever time they release something, third parties now-a-days are lucky to get away with any sells considering most games released through third parties now are mainly shooters and/or games that where released already and we could careless about (Metal Gear Solid 3D, Rayman 3D) games that weren't too great with sales in the first place :P

Linkuini

#28

Linkuini said:

Third-parties have brought a lot of fresh ideas to Nintendo systems when they know how to take advantage of their unique features. Fifth Cell is a good example. Drawn to Life and Scribblenauts had innovative concepts well-suited to the Nintendo DS. I don't remember hearing them complaining about the performance of the hardware.

The Wii U seems to have a good amount of first-party support, which is a good sign. Yet I look at the previews for games that have been planned and half of them are M-Rated shooters and whatnot. Either I'm being too conservative here... or developers are. :(

daznsaz

#29

daznsaz said:

street fighter doa tekken mgs ghost recon resi gamesx2 im more than happy with my 3ds its not all about mario.

irken004

#31

irken004 said:

Any respectable gamer knows that Nintendo games are usually better than most 3rd party Nintendo-console titles.

kkslider5552000

#32

kkslider5552000 said:

Thing is, what is Nintendo supposed to do? Sure, they could help 3rd parties a lot and that would help them certainly. But, Mario? Zelda? Pokemon? Main Nintendo games? Of course they dominate Nintendo sales. Those series will always sell a ton and Nintendo would be risking failure even more with not advertising those games. The only way 3rd party games that aren't already selling more than most Nintendo titles will sell anywhere near as much would be a ton of advertising or Nintendo risking failure by not advertising their own games. Don't even get me started on original games. While the other consoles have done better in this regard, let's be honest, most original IPs without a ton of marketing/advertising will almost always fail. Especially considering how much games cost to make. Bulletstorm sold at least half a million and still was considered a failure. Xbox Live Arcade is the most notable exception and while I genuinely don't know either way, even the popularity of most of those games screams of people confusing "popular on the internet" with "popular".

I do hope 3rd parties do better and slowly they are but let's be real here; they aren't gonna beat Nintendo's own games on their own system unless they are a CoD or the like. As much as I wish otherwise (see: 2009 games).

WaLzgiStaff

#33

WaLzgi said:

Perhaps you should mention that a majority of developers that turned away from the Wii actually made half-assed crap that no one wanted. As wario said, I don't really care for volume, I want quality (same goes for VC wink wink)

Imagine23

#34

Imagine23 said:

Man, third-parties are like little kids: they're always obsessed with the latest thing, until there's something that's new and better. Then they move onto that thing and completely forget what they just had.

NTELLIGENTMAN

#35

NTELLIGENTMAN said:

Nintendo has made some pure garbage like Star Fox Command and Steel Diver. But considering, they poop out gold eggs on a regular basis, Nintendo is still a great company.

The_Ink_Pit_Ox

#37

The_Ink_Pit_Ox said:

Star Fox Command actually sold well, despite it being a gimmicky, stylus-controlled Star Fox SNES. I hated it, but it sold well solely on the basis that it was a Star Fox game. Nintendo relies on fanbase, not just on great games.

The_Ink_Pit_Ox

#38

The_Ink_Pit_Ox said:

@Imagine23 I agree with that. Nintendo has established lasting franchises, and is even trying to resurrect some. Compare everyone else, who are spewing forth new game after new game.

MasterGraveheart

#39

MasterGraveheart said:

I think developers today have lost their way. They've forsaken the ability to use abstract and think creativity for the sake of big, expansive, high-cost, realism-centric games that flounder on Nintendo platforms. I'm certain Wii U will have an easier time with third party support, but as for 3DS, companies need to relearn the ways of old.

unmannedrobot

#40

unmannedrobot said:

The best part about nintendo games is that they are of high quality. They may not be violent to the point of the hd consoles but they offer a deep experience none the less.
Besides companies like sony and msoft have other revenues to keep there consoles going, else they would have lost to nintendo long ago. Just look at sony ,they killed the saturn because they had the monnies to keep buying exclusive and the system was priced lower too!

CanisWolfred

#41

CanisWolfred said:

This is news? Every Nintendo console has lived and died by Nintendo's games. I don't see this one being any different.

enda_o

#42

enda_o said:

Who needs AAA? As long as we get some hidden gems then im good.

eg Ghost Trick

ThomasBW84Admin

#44

ThomasBW84 said:

I think one point I'd add that wasn't expanded a great deal in the feature is my concern that Nintendo are going to become seriously overstretched. It's fairly common knowledge that HD game development gobbles up resources, as it's a much tougher process that development on Wii, for example. Nintendo are not only churning out a lot of 3DS content, but they'll need to do the same for Wii U. The more they do themselves, the bigger their teams, the higher the costs, and the more difficult it is to turn a profit.

If 3DS becomes a burden because third-parties drift away, then that will put a lot of pressure on Wii U and Nintendo as a whole. I think third-parties are making an effort on 3DS now, but the point is that if these titles aren't profitable, they'll drift away and Nintendo is left to pick it all up, again.

The greater costs of development also mean, I reckon, that this idea of Nintendo systems living or dying by first-party titles will become unsustainable.

Oregano

#45

Oregano said:

A lot of people have said "Nintendo should support third parties more", would one of you guys elaborate on how and how that would make a significant difference?

One recent example would be Tekken 3D. Nintendo of Europe is handling distribution duties(as they have for Street Fighter, both Resident Evils, Dead or Alive and One Piece) and those ads you see on Nintendolife will be at least partially funded by Nintendo. Nintendo is showing quite a bit of support in Europe but the problem is the game itself. It has a severe lack of content; with no story mode, or team battle, or minigames or even customisation. The only new thing it offers compared to Tekken 6(which is available on PS3, 360 and PSP!) is young Heihachi and a poorly received movie. So when 3DS owners skip the game will it be because Nintendo didn't support it or will it be because Namco Bandai failed to make it an attractive package?

Vincent294

#46

Vincent294 said:

Though Mario titles probably hurt Resident Evil sales, think about the PS3. I don't own one, but I wanted one before the Wii U's announcement. What if you had a PS3 and a Wii? Oh, what console should I buy Call of Duty MW3 for? Oh, I know, the one w/ AC130s, HD, and no Ally Codes. I don't have one, so I'm that person that contributes to the Resident Evil sales on the 3DS for example. When the Wii U comes out, this will leave a notable difference. The 3DS will definitely require a watered-down version of Call of Duty, unlike the Vita, but I think they'll sell better. The 3DS has a one-time Friend Code exchange, or Local Registration. Joining in a Friend's game from Friend List, Netflix & Hulu, and Video recording are on the 3DS too. A refined online shop, the eShop, and an online, beefed-up version of Pictochat are even more examples of improvement. Better shop support, w/ Pushmo, and bonus video content, Nintendo Video, are icing on the cake. Better graphics, 3D (which can be more than a gimmick, thank goodness), a Gyroscope, and Circle Pad shows hardware improvement. Nintendo has barely kept some of their dedicated customers, like me, with these improvements. It also means that people like me will be getting the 3DS version of Resident Evil, instead of buying a Vita, and waiting for a Resident Evil to come out on there.

WaLzgiStaff

#47

WaLzgi said:

@Thomas: If I'm not mistaken, Nintendo sent out a huge hiring list a few months ago. This may be in preparation for HD games.

Smooth27

#48

Smooth27 said:

I couldnt agree more. For example ill mention some of the titles that came out this month and the ones yet to come from a hardcore gamers perspective. If I dont mention a title its because it didnt do enough to attract me a hardcore gamer: Resident evil Revelations, metal gear dolid 3d, rayman origins, monster hunter 3g/4, fire emblem, paper mario, tekken, mario tennis, kid icarus, luigis mansion 2, animal crossing and all these games are probably great but in my eyes only resident evil, mgs3d, and kid icarus wins my money but we need more games like resident evil the game proves just what the system is capable of. I want to see AAA games like saints row GTA, battlefield, call of duty, madden (which were not getting), and assassins creed.

The_Ink_Pit_Ox

#49

The_Ink_Pit_Ox said:

Sony originally had Crash and Spyro, but after awhile those ended up on other consoles. Kingdom Hearts is almost exclusively Sony, but CoM is on GBA also. They do still have the revolutionary and phenomenally popular (despite being ever disappointing) Gran Turismo series.

Microsoft has the Forza series and for awhile the PGR series. They now own exclusive rights to Conker and Banjo-Kazooie, among other Rare-exclusive titles.

Regardles, Nintendo has more successful and exclusive franchises than Sony, Microsoft, and Sega combined. And look at Ninty. They have more success than the award-winning, superphotorealistic games hyped up by the media.

grimbldoo

#50

grimbldoo said:

Even though I do like a wide range of games, when the title says mario or the game is about mario, that tells me that it's probably good enough to buy without previewing it (except mario party, I don't really enjoy those games myself)

Maggots

#51

Maggots said:

If third party developers would actually try... and take a chance on actually putting effort into a game... then they might sell better... I feel no sympathy.... look at ace combat 3D... IT'S NOT EVEN ON SHELVES IN STORES!!!... IT'S LIKE THEY DoN"T WANT IT TO SELL WELL.... ... i'm really bugged by devs

Vincent294

#52

Vincent294 said:

@Maggots Seen Resident Evil: Revelations? Now that must've required effort, and lots of it. It's amazing, right down to the multiplayer leveling-up system, and the Storyline (I hate spoilers, unless there's a

BIG

.
.
.
spoiler alert, like that, but I won't put one in at all).

Smooth27

#54

Smooth27 said:

I also work at gamestop so I try to advertise the resident evil as much as possible, and I can tell that the audience ia not their,.once again it seema like itz getting invaded by kids juzt like the wii. The Wii U is aiming for both this time and have a bunch of rumored and some announced ones and I hope at E3 they also bring hardcore AAA titles for 3ds aswell.

SanderEvers

#55

SanderEvers said:

Nintendo was, is and will always be the biggest developer and publisher for games for the Nintendo systems. This isn't news.

emiru69

#57

emiru69 said:

Great article but I have to disagree. The biggest exclusives for the 3DS next year are not made by Nintendo: Monster Hunter 4, Kingdom Hearts and Dragon Quest are going to be best selling games of the year (at least in Japan). I don't think Luigi's Mansion or Animal Crossing are going to sell more in Japan than the previous mentioned titles.

Oregano

#60

Oregano said:

@Weird_Fox There's just as many Kingdom Hearts games on Nintendo systems nowadays. Sony has KH1, KH2, Re: Chain of Memories and Birth By Sleep. Nintendo has Chain of Memories, 358/2 Days, Re: Coded and Dream Drop Distance.

Linkstrikesback

#61

Linkstrikesback said:

@Maggots

Are you seriously blaming the game developers for not having their own games on shelves? I mean REALLY? You need to go mad at Gamestop/whatever other store you're refering to, because they're the ones who decide what goes on shelves. If it was up to the developer, OF COURSE they would have Ace combat out, I can't think of a single developer who doesn't want to sell as many copies as humanly possible of every game they make, which does indeed require them to be on shelves for sale.

Birthday_Boy

#62

Birthday_Boy said:

I truly don't care if Nintendo does have the top 5 most bought games for their consoles, however I do care if it consists of sequels or remakes of what Nintendo has done. (Unless they had a break, like Kid Icarus, or New Super Mario Bros DS Or if the gameplay is different, like Metroid Prime, or Super Mario 3D Land
These games are:
Super Smash Bros. Melee (Gamecube's best selling title)
Mario Kart Double Dash (Gamecube's second best selling title)
SML 6 Golden Coins (Gameboy's 4th best selling title)
The Top 5 best selling Gameboy Advance Games consists of Super Mario Advance 1, and 2 and the Pokemon 3rd generation games.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii's 5th best selling game)
Mario Kart DS (Third best selling game on DS
Pokemon Diamond and Pearl (5th)
By no means are these bad games, however it is a little bad that if you put 2 on a title of a popular game, suddenly it has 1,000,000 units sold

lmwtw1

#63

lmwtw1 said:

I would be completely lost without my 3DS. It has my pedometer,mario calculator,calendar,diary, and all my favorite games from the eshop. It also has my favorite games so far. Mario Kart Mario 3dland, Nintendogs +cats, tetris axis, Animal crossing and luigis mansion will be out soon too. I also have word searches to do. I can navigate the internet on my 3ds way much better than the psp I use to have. You can go everywhere on the internet and even shop from amazon. Placing orders from there is just as easy as on the computer. I like nintendo its the only true gaming company without being involved with computers and other stuff.

RR529

#64

RR529 said:

I love Nintendo's games, but yeah, I hope 3rd parties do well on 3DS. TBH, Kingdom Hearts: DDD (a third party game) is my most anticipated 3DS title this year. As for my current 3DS library, I have 3 Nintendo titles (OoT3D, 3D Land, and MK7), and four 3rd party titles (SSFIV, Samurai Warriors, DOAD, and Ace Combat). In fact, the next game I get is going to be third party as well (either RE:R, or MGS3D).

Oregano

#65

Oregano said:

@RR529 I like your tastes in third party games... I'd recommend Revelations. It's pretty darn amazing.

My most anticipated 3DS game is Bravely Default.:D

Neram

#66

Neram said:

Right now it is, but I think that will change in the coming months. Nintendo wants to get their handheld in as many pockets as possible, third-parties would only be wise enough to invest in developing for the console once enough people own it.
The Wii was a bit different because its focus was casual pick-up-and play accessible gaming, so there were hardly any engaging in-depth games. Not to say there wasn't any, but I think the industry eventually realized the Wii's target audience, and development environment, weren't meant for traditional large scale games or the projects they wanted to create.
The 3DS on the other hand has a better mixture of casual and "core" games. I'm sure it's the same for most of you, but I've had more deeper gaming experiences on the 3DS so far than I ever did on the DS. With games like Revelations, Tekken and MGS3D proving that these kinds of games are possible on a system that a ton of people already own (thanks to Nintendo) I wouldn't be surprised if third-parties thrived on 3DS better than any other Nintendo handheld to date. Time will tell though, and I could easily be proved wrong.

I-U

#67

I-U said:

The belief that third parties lack in effort and creativity is mostly true, but that's just it it is mostly true. That means that there are a handful of exceptions, and it's unfortunate for these gems to fall short due to the "Nintendo is the only amazing game maker line" of thought that is held by most of their audience. There are several third party titles that I would rank higher than or even with Nintendo's caliber: Dementium, Mutant Mudds, Moon, Super Scribblenauts, Resident Evil Revelations, Sonic Rush, Aliens Infestation, Contra 4 and Pac-Pix. On the handhelds, third parties are much more likely to put out a gem on level with Nintendo. Console-wise third parties lack, and I am admittedly ignorant to any potential gems out there for the Wii.

Nintendo is always going to carry the success of their systems due to the mindset I've described with most of their audience.

jpfan1989

#68

jpfan1989 said:

this made me take a look at my complete library of games on nintendo console dating back to my first (not counting WiiDSWare or Virtual Console or games i no longer have) totaling 42 first party against 32 third, I do kinda see a trend in it but it has been my taste in games for the time period and when talking about the recent consoles wii and 3ds the majority has been 3rd party, which can probably be credited to this site as I probably wouldn't have known about some of them otherwise.

Bankai

#69

Bankai said:

In b4 "lol third parties should maek TV addddz and dat with fix everything!"

Oh wait.

ThomasBW84Admin

#70

ThomasBW84 said:

@emiru69 Thanks for that, and you're right about those being big titles. That said, the fact that you added these may be the bigger sellers in Japan is important. It's outside of Japan where the situation is different, with Nintendo's consoles getting very little of the pie from the usual behemoths like Call of Duty etc.

I actually love the fact that on 3DS and Wii I can play a lot of fantastic Nintendo-developed exclusives. I do think it's important for third-parties to shift more copies, however, because Nintendo must be feeling the strain producing a lot of titles for 3DS and planning the Wii U launch. I'm not sure they can do all that work and maintain standards without some corners being cut, and that's where having some big-selling third-party games will really help them out. On a positive note, maybe that'll happen on 3DS later in the year and with the Wii U launch.

RR529

#71

RR529 said:

@Oregano, thanks! I was leaning towards Revelations. I don't really want to get MGS3D until I have the money to get the CPP with it, while I don't mind RE's default controls.

tardis10

#73

tardis10 said:

I Agree with #72, but also think that Independent 3rd Party devs are important to all consoles, be they handheld and Nintendo or otherwise. Small, new companies with new, innovative games, I think, is what people will want - and what better company to choose to make the hardware than Nintendo?
What has changed on the Sony and Microsoft Platforms over the past few Generations? Painfully little.
Nintendo consoles are ever changing, and therefore the content has to be as such. I'm not saying that staple titles like Mario and Zelda should be forgotten, but as the tech evolves, and it always will while Nintendo is a major player in the gaming market, the games that make the tech should evolve too.

Kirk

#74

Kirk said:

There's always room for 3rd party success on Nintendo's platforms, as long as 3rd party developers produce games that are actually up there with Nintendo's own efforts in terms of quality, polish, fun...

If they could manage it on SNES, and they absolutely did, then there's no good reason they can't also do it on Wii, WiiU, DSi/Lite/XL and even 3DS too.

grimbldoo

#75

grimbldoo said:

@GrandChaseLover You can also tell by their choice of words (and they also spell color as colour and so on)

I just checked amazon, and Super Mario Sunshine is $120 brand new.

chiptoon

#78

chiptoon said:

The caption under the Pushmo image is incorrect. It should read "Brilliant AND still Nintendo". That would sum up the situation quite well.

I got Ridge Racer at Launch, which was pretty great, and I will get Resi: Revelations soon, but there are no other 3rd party games I want on 3DS.

Powerglove

#79

Powerglove said:

Great article, but the headline is stupid. Of course the 3DS's success depends on what software Nintendo releases!

Sup

#80

Sup said:

@ChocoGoldfish Cool! I'm just "Adam", think I was wearing an Epona hat last time. Saw your greeting was otakugaming.com, so stalked/found you through that!

Mandoble

#81

Mandoble said:

Now it happens that these that we call here "third parties" are companies that develop AAA games for other systems, with a quality equal or sometimes higher than anything made by Nintendo. Best DS games are not Nintendo at all. The problem is that during years Nintendo has been targeting a quite specific type of user, and they did it pretty well. So now the point is that third parties are not interested on Nintendo typical users because developing something for them ensures this will never sell well for any other gaming system. The problem is the user base, and it is too late for Nintendo to change that.

Mahe

#82

Mahe said:

The games on 3DS just plain suck, both Nintendo and third parties. For third parties, it's a bunch of fighting games and boring console-style games. I want new and unique gameplay experiences, like the ones that were on DS and Wii. 3DS is just delivering tired rehashes and retreads. See how much those helped the PSP?

Oregano

#83

Oregano said:

@ChocoGoldfish Well TV ads would probably help in some cases(but it'd be wasted budget in others)... maybe it's just me but with the exception of Revelations I don't think there's been any attempt at building excitement for a third party 3DS game. The only games(Revelations excepted) I remember even having banners ads were Street Fighter, DOA, Resi Mercenaries, One Piece and Tekken and all of those are being handled by Nintendo in Europe!

It's even the simplest little things like the fact that Tales of the Abyss doesn't have a page on the eShop. A page on the eShop could potentially help it quite a bit and surely wouldn't cost a lot to put up... so why hasn't Namco done it?

It might be different in other regions... Crystal Bearers got TV ads in Japan and the US and it's whole marketing campaign in Europe consisted of a four page ad in one issue of ONM. It was a really shockingly bad effort.

JimLad

#84

JimLad said:

Sadly, graphics still sell games. And the best graphics are found on the PS3 and 360, so that's where third parties go.
Until Nintendo matches the top-end systems it won't get the Call of Dutys or FIFAs that people actually want.
Whatever the case, they could never be too reliant on their own games. It's the only real edge they have over the competition.

bahooney

#85

bahooney said:

Can't say I play a lot of third-party games; I'm not interested in RE:R, or any of the other 3rd party offerings that have been... offered. That said, being a Nintendo fanboy, but owning a 360, has proven to be an invaluable choice. Any third party games I care about I just get for the 360, and every first party IP from Nintendo I snatch up.

ThomasBW84Admin

#86

ThomasBW84 said:

@Powerglove The point of the whole article is to discuss the reliance of 3DS on Nintendo titles and why this could be a real problem: that's why we call these 'Talking Point' features. The title states the point that we're looking at, and the article highlights some ideas of why that's a good or bad thing. It's not 'stupid', as you so politely put it.

Vincent294

#87

Vincent294 said:

@ThomasBW84 I get it. Still, the 3DS is much less reliant on Mario than the DS or Wii. Perhaps this should've been centralized on third-party support.

motang

#88

motang said:

I hope this won't be a recurring trend, I would like the 3DS as prospourus as the DS was with rich 3rd party support.

RR529

#89

RR529 said:

@Mahe, 3DS games suck?! No offense, but have you been living under a rock? Street Fighter and Dead or Alive are great games that have gotten great reviews all across from what I've seen, and I have played them both, and neither fit the description of 'suck'.

And what are these "boring console style games" you speak of? Is it 3D Land? I presume not because the game was obviously designed with portability in mind, from stage length all the way to save implementation. Resident Evil: Revelations? Again, the game is digested in eposodic propoartions befitting of a portable title. As for Star Fox, the game was already short, but now you can also save after each level, if that doesn't have portability in mind I don't know what does. The only previously console title I can think of that still has a console styled save system is OoT3D, and even then, it's not exactly what I'd call "boring".

The fresh experience these games have is the 3D! It's about experiencing these kinds of games in a way you couldn't experience them before (3D).

I-U

#90

I-U said:

@VincentV
The DS had Super Mario 64 DS at launch and Mario Kart DS nearly a year later. The 3DS had 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 release less than a month apart within its first year. Comparing both of their first years, the 3DS has been more reliant especially factoring in the VC.

Super Mario Galaxy did not come out until nearly a year after the release of the Wii, so again the first year of the 3DS is more Mario reliant than the Wii's.

r2d2c3p01

#91

r2d2c3p01 said:

Nintendo does a great job backing it'z systemz & as far as tha gamez go,well hey if Nintendo can lead tha way in bringing great gamez to tha table why can't some of these 3rd party developerz do tha same..THEY'RE game developerz so make good gamez & stop crying!There'z nothing wrong w/ tha system jus stop making crap!!!Tha 3DS can pull off jus as much as tha vita,it'z tha developer who needz to step up their game they're NOT making systemz jus gamez?If they can't get on Nintendo'z level something iz very wrong!Graphicz can be done in so many wayz jus need to get tha gamplay down & make it exciting to play!

Vincent294

#92

Vincent294 said:

@r2d2c3p01 Not exactly, the Vita's more powerful, and game devs can be crap. But that's not an excuse for the endless piles of shovelware that show up at Game Stop every day.

Vincent294

#93

Vincent294 said:

@I-U I meant 3rd party support is stronger. An original title for Resident Evil, and a Metal Gear Solid (well, that's a port-over).

Debageldond

#94

Debageldond said:

I am a huge Nintendo fan, and as such I want Nintendo to succeed. I think Thomas raises an excellent point regarding the difficulty of production of HD games, and it's probably best for them to be hedging their bets with third-party developers.

The thing is, third parties are not all equally third-party. Certain developers and studios clearly get preferential treatment and are elevated by Nintendo. HAL Laboratories is an excellent example of this: they are still independent, but play to Nintendo's... gestalt, shall we say. Plus the lines are a little blurred since Iwata used to be their president. Kirby and Smash Bros. have a decidedly first party Nintendo flavor. Additionally, I cannot wrap my mind around how exactly Pokemon works. "The Pokemon Company" is held by Nintendo, but the developers seem to have a fair amount of autonomy, especially considering the miraculously poor timing of Black and White (so near the 3DS launch).

The question is how third-party developers see it. They might see the odd linkage between Nintendo and a few third-party developers and get frazzled, but I'm not sure. As a player on the outside, many developers often seem finicky and obnoxious, especially when certain developers don't make any bones about different platforms. It's the mid-size mobile devs and big console devs that seem the most incompetent at times. Small mobile devs seem fairly obliging, but slightly larger devs crow about cross-platform issues. However, Airport Mania, whose developer has posted here several times and generally been awesome, is on iOS, Android, Wii, DS, PC and maybe somewhere else I don't know about.

I'm not sure what to believe when hearing the complaints of developers anymore. Devs complain about Android because it's controlled so loosely, then also complain about Nintendo's restrictive environment. At the end of the day, it has to do with sales: if they think a game isn't going to sell in a certain environment, they make up a reason why the platform is somehow deficient. Generally, it's because the culture of the userbase simply isn't geared toward what they're selling.

It's a catch-22 for Nintendo: they've cultivated a large base of gamers who are primarily interested in games released by Nintendo or its highly regarded third parties. I believe Nintendo is aware of this, which is why so much emphasis has been put on the Wii U's horsepower, and some big devs seem to be going for it (cough cough EA).

It'll be interesting to see where that leaves the 3DS. Clearly, a great deal of the 3DS's hopes are pinned on how well Vita sells, and it's hard to say how that's going to go. It will be interesting to see how it sells in Nintendo and Europe, and if that can reverse Sony's fortunes. Naturally, one shouldn't judge a system so early on (look at the 3DS), but Sony doesn't have a devoted userbase that's waiting for first-party games. If the Vita doesn't do well, it will be because it doesn't do enough to differentiate itself from a smartphone, and it will be a major pay day for Nintendo's third party support. We will see how this really pans out.

GamerZack87

#95

GamerZack87 said:

"Although this analysis is not necessarily fully accurate, it nevertheless showed that $7.34 out of $11 million of those takings were on Nintendo titles, around two-thirds of the total sales."

Uh...do you mean $7.34 million? I'm kinda confused... :|

cyrus_zuo

#96

cyrus_zuo said:

Nintendo 3DS is lacking in WESTERN 3rd party games.
It's clear that the system is doing great in Japan and multiple 3rd party games have done fantastic there (from MH3 to RE:R to Inazuma there are plenty of high selling games).
Unfortunately the Western audience wants:
1 - COD (or something similar)
2 - Madden
And Europe wants:
??? (I'd say Soccer, but clearly neither PES or FIFA is doing it, so I'm at a loss?)

Anyway, for the Western audiences Nintendo NEEDS to score a big hit like MH for Japan. I don't know if they are even trying, but they should be knocking on Activision's door every day asking what they can do to make CoD happen on a grand scale (not a crappy port) on the 3DS, and they should be at EA helping fund both Madden and a Battlefield game. That's the core market in the US, Nintendo needs to either go after it or recognize they will not have a core following in the US. (I'm not core, but it is clear what is and who they should talk to...and if they want the 3DS to be a huge hit here, they MUST get talking!)

Linkuini

#97

Linkuini said:

@Debageldond

Game Freak and HAL Laboratory are considered "second parties" or more accurately, subsidiaries, of Nintendo. Their games, like Pokémon and Kirby, are pretty much considered first-party games for the sake of this discussion, I think.

MachineLaw

#99

MachineLaw said:

It's not Nintendo's fault that their games are so great, and of course they will overshadow third parties if said third parties are lazy and just want to make a quick buck on a remake.

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