News Article

European Development Support For Nintendo Systems Lags Behind Rivals

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Smartphones and tablets are the biggest priorities

In just over a month Cologne, Germany will host Game Developers Conference Europe (GDC) — 19th to 21st August — before Gamescom kicks off shortly afterwards from 21st to 25th August. After being a no-show at the latter event last year Nintendo has confirmed its attendance this time around, while it'll also attend the industry-focused GDC for the first time, hosting two special developer sessions.

It's perhaps at GDC Europe where Nintendo has to do the most work, as a survey conducted by the event and UBM Game Tech Network has shown that the big N's systems are low priorities to developers in the region both in terms of interest and actual projects in development. Europe is typically considered — notable examples aside — to be an area less focused on triple-A developments and more on small, independently published titles. With that in mind a total of 300 developers took part in the survey, and only 5% were working on a Wii U game, with just 1.5% developing a 3DS title; in comparison 13% are working on a PS4 game, and 9% on an Xbox One project.

As the graph below shows, over half of respondents are working on smartphone and tablet games, but that's not particularly surprising considering the open nature of those markets and the relative ease of development on those platforms. It's the limited support compared to other dedicated gaming systems that's the most immediate issue for Nintendo, which it will surely be trying to improve with its sessions and networking at the event in August.


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User Comments (39)



mike_intv said:

I often wonder when I see these stories — What constitutes a developer?

Similarly, I wonder how many of those surveyed are small operations hoping to become the next Rovio and really don't have interest in consoles in general.

Of course, if they work on Unity, porting becomes possible.



MAB said:

But how many of these developers will actually make a top quality game... Not many



Chris720 said:

3DS is lower than the Wii U... wow...

I think dedicated gaming is starting to die down again now. It really is only the "hardcore" gaming crowd who'd rather play on a dedicated games console. I think that's where the Vita fell down, since that really is between smartphone and console if you look at it.



Sleepingmudkip said:

well 3ds never got a lot of 3 party support from Europe in the first place and wii u does not look that bad if u look at the chart. if you do one on japan or america i grantee it would be different



rjejr said:

@Chris720 - "3DS is lower than the Wii U... wow..."

That is surprising. Maybe developers are afraid to try and compete not only w/ 1st party titles like Animal Crossing but also 2nd party Pokemon?

"I think that's where the Vita fell down,"

The nearly DOA Vita having more development than the WiiU is just plain scary for the WiiUs future.



Pierceton said:

Well this kind of makes sense to me when it comes to most AAA games they release on console/PC also when it comes to Nintendo it's hard to keep up with their first party game sales. Most consumers buy Nintendo to play Nintendo games, I do. Now as for mobile ( smartphone/tablet) a lot of people already own these devices for other things besides gaming so it is easy to get a game out to consumers. This really isn't a surprise for me. If you buy Nintendo expect to buy another platform for games that aren't Nintendo games if that's what you are looking for.



Peach64 said:

Is this really just a European thing? Nintendo made their system drastically different to what everyone else is used to. In a nutshell, they made the Wii U a horrible system to make games for, where Sony did the opposite and gave devs exactly what they wanted to make development as easy as possible.



MrWalkieTalkie said:

Whoops! I just posted comment that was meant for the LEGO movie article! That's embarrasing! I deleted it and now I'll go post it in the appropriate article now... XD



firebowser said:

@Peach64 i think it's because people are waiting for those big titles from Nintendo smash bros or legend of zelda and they have been like not releasing some games over to eu region which i always think why is it not out over here



TromaDogg said:

@rjejr 'The nearly DOA Vita having more development than the WiiU is just plain scary for the WiiUs future.'

It wouldn't surprise me if a lot of games in development for the Vita are just ports of their PS3/PS4 counterparts though, and will probably be offered as 'cross play' freebies (ie. buy the PS3 version, get the Vita version as a free download)



Goginho said:

..I guess devs must be intimidated to work on Nintendo stuff, cuz Nintendo usually expects quality and perfection?? I dunno



Kaze_Memaryu said:

To me, it's rather obvious why european publishers don't have much interest in publishing on Nintendo platforms: Nintendo has his own mass of mascots. PlayStation and XBox consoles have tried to get their own mascots and failed (due to countless resaons), but this also means that third-party games get more attention there. When it comes to Nintendo, most people immediately think of successful game series widely known (Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, Metroid...) - that's a competition european dev's don't want to/cannot face in fear of losses.



taffy said:

Can't understand how the Vita is getting more support then the 3DS, there is something like a 4:1 ratio in the 3DS favor over here. I thought developers made games for systems with the larger install base... Am I missing something?



MysticX said:

I think it's a matter of competing with AAA-games, no way a smaller developer can compete with multi-million-budget games (or million-dollar marketing campaigns), and those crop up (almost) exclusively on consoles, it's easier to get a foot in the door on tablets/phones, where lower prices and word of mouth give small publishers a better chance.



Ernest_The_Crab said:

@Peach64 Doubtful because none of the Big 3 are actually doing that well in that region if you look at it.

It's mostly because, as the article points out, the European market has a much bigger focus on development on devices such as tablets and smart phones. Even the North American market isn't that bad in that regard.

ToxieDogg has pretty much covered the Vita aspect of those charts.

@taffy That includes straight ports, ToxieDogg has covered that aspect if you want to take a look at their comment.



Tomires said:

@Vita - it's because Sony is really pushing indies at the moment, giving PS accreditations left and right and helping them get it onto the market. I don't really see Nintendo doing this with the 3DS. Take a look at Kickstarter - most games are bound to Win/Mac/Lin/iOS/Android(+OUYA, GStick, whatever) and occasionally PS4/Vita/WiiU.



shingi_70 said:

For those wondering despite having a small market share Vita has really good digital software sales and its easy to port from the PS consoles.

In short 3DS has a big marketshare that really only buys retail games and is somewhat expensive to develop for.

Vita is a bit cheaper to develop and get games out for while having a small and growing based who buys alot of games mostly digital Inde devs have been pretty happy with Vita sales for their games. I think were going to see this handheld gen play out like the last one did. The 3DS is going to be forward an selling great but the Vita will ramp up slowly and match it.



Tomires said:

Sony is really trying to pick up the sales of the Vita (even though they've done quite a few missteps, for instance not giving poor handheld taste of the limelight @ E3). I think it will pick up the pace when PS4 hits the market, I doubt it will reach 3DS levels though, Nintendo is still king of dedicated handheld market. They are really losing it in the home segment though. They sure need to Cast a mighty spell that will usher into a nice Dream. See what I did there?



Player4 said:

I sometimes have nightmares about me playing Pokémon or Jak&Daxter on a tablet.. Oh the horror! 😖



GiftedGimp said:

@taffy Because Sony put cash towards developers/publishers that make cross-play games that participate in buy one you get the other free.



Metaknight_3Raw said:


Whatever helps you sleep at night

Seriously though, I've given up on Western third parties supporting the Wii U for now. I'm thinking more long term for the Wii U. When Smash and Mario Kart comes up and sales increase then third parties will creep in. They will also be looking towards sales of games new to Nintendo consoles that are a bit maturer like Bayonetta. If it does decently then that might help as well.



WYLD-WOO said:

Nintendo has always provided us with pretty good quality control. I hope it stays that way.



Sanquine said:

The reason why not many developers try developing on the wii U or 3DS is because of the first party of Nintendo. Any Nintendo game destroys the sales of the third party on the console. I mean most mario games sold millions of copies. Then a game like fifa or cod sell like crap:S ( Nintendo fans have great taste)



Vader_MIB said:

Well regarding the lack of consideration from Japanese developers for European players, I just find that normal that European developers don't care the other way...



stealth said:

thats why europeans are the smallest market. They are more about money than quality



Araknie said:

"Newer Markets of Most Interest to European Developers Right Now"

I hope i'm not the only one thinking: what that means?



Marioman64 said:

pfft, yeah. there's so many phone/tablet games because they have like 10 minutes of gameplay

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