News Article

Nintendo Highlights Hundreds of Developers Working on Games for Wii U and 3DS

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

The Wii U eShop is strongest in the US

As you may be aware, Nintendo recently hosted The 74th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, in which company management provides presentations to its shareholders and answers a number of questions — Satoru Iwata was unable to attend. The official transcript of that meeting has been published, which includes some interesting revelations and comments.

One topic raised was that of third-party development support, an ongoing concern for Nintendo, particularly with the Wii U. Susumu Tanaka, the Director and General Manager of Licensing Division, explained that concerns over Wii U hardware sales were naturally limiting support, but outlined the numbers of third-party developers working on both Wii U and 3DS around the world.

I would like to explain our approach toward the third-party software developers. As for the current numbers of software developers for our platforms, in the U.S. there are about 40 companies developing software for Nintendo 3DS, and about 20 companies for Wii U. The numbers of developers are almost the same in Europe. If we add companies that develop downloadable software to these numbers, in the U.S., there are about 130 companies for Nintendo 3DS and about 200 companies for Wii U. In Europe, there are about 160 companies for Nintendo 3DS and as for Wii U, about 115 companies. And in Japan, there are about 140 companies for Nintendo 3DS and about 35 companies for Wii U. I would say quite a few companies have interest in developing software for our platforms. Regarding Nintendo 3DS, since the end of last year, several titles developed by third-party software developers have sold more than one million units in Japan, and the number of titles is increasing. You may think there is a shortage of software titles overseas for there is no noticeable smash hit; however, the number of titles is greater than in Japan, even for packaged software.

With regard to Wii U, it is true that the number of titles is still limited and there is no huge hit from software developed by third-party publishers. For one reason, this is because the penetration of Wii U hardware has been slower than expected and this situation makes developers a bit wary of developing software for Wii U. We would like to continuously develop strong first-party software to drive hardware sales so that other developers feel confident to move into Wii U software development.

Those seem like strong numbers in the download markets, in particular, with the 3DS eShop more prominent in Europe and Japan, and the Wii U eShop leading the way in the US. Overall, however, the retail software and overall numbers are relatively modest compared to rivals such as the PS4; as a starting point, it's still good to see that hundreds of projects are on the way around the world.

Tanaka-san also suggested that Nintendo will continue to utilise the large 3DS userbase to draw from smart device applications, in order to further boost the system.

On the other hand, Nintendo 3DS has already shown significant penetration, with the Japanese market as the forerunner, and many companies are actively developing software for it. These days, applications originally for smart devices have been made for Nintendo 3DS and there are million-selling titles among them. App developers are more willing to develop software for Nintendo 3DS because of the situation, and we at Nintendo are also looking at the popular smart device applications with the prospect of expanding our line of Nintendo 3DS titles. I hope you keep looking forward to our upcoming titles.

Are you pleased by these numbers of developers for Wii U and 3DS around the world, or concerned? Let us know.


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User Comments (20)



siavm said:

Even if the numbers do pick up next year is year three. I just don't expect to see many great third party games coming to wii u past that point. At least AAA ones. At least nintendo has some good games coming.



mobilesworking said:

Great third-party games already are here; they just haven't the visibility of AAA titles. Scram Kitty and Shovel Knight, for example, are two of the best games I've played this year.



bizcuthammer said:

Wii U is a console that has an unfriendly development interface for porting multiplatform games, and given its lack of technical muscle in comparison to its rivals, this makes porting games to it even more difficult than it already is. Combine all that with the very small install base, along with the fact that the WiiU has a very bad software attachment rate at the moment, and it makes sense as to why most 3rd party developers aren't taking the time and resources necessary to bother with the system. All of these things are Nintendo's fault because they chose to create a console that THEY wanted to make games for instead of making a console that was easy for everyone to develop for like Sony did with PS4. I like Nintendo. I like the Wii U. I like the GamePad. But there are drawbacks from taking a 'unique' and 'innovative' approach in an industry where the majority of the consumers and developers just want more of the same, but with better graphics.

So Nintendo, I'm sorry, but you probably aren't going to win back 3rd parties this gen. Maybe not even next gen, because it seems like they just prefer to pretend like you don't exist altogther. For WiiU, your options are indie games, first party games, and second party games that you help fund yourselves like W101, Bayonetta 2, Devil's Third and Sonic Lost World. You will never be able to win over devs and games like Destiny, GTAV, and Rise of Tomb Raider because you have an unfriendly system with a low install base, with a history of poor reception sales for third party games, even when those games are really good.



ricklongo said:

Regarding third parties, Nintendo shouldn't go after games that are coming to PS4 and XONE - those will end up as gimped ports and will sell poorly.

What they should do is help finance third party exclusives, and they're doing precisely that with the likes of Bayonetta 2. Get into those deep pockets and bring us more projects like that! A particularly awesome move in my opinion would be to strike a deal with Capcom for an exclusive Mega Man game for Nintendo consoles, the way they've been doing with Sonic.



FragRed said:

@siavm I totally agree with you. Year three will not be a good year for AAA third party games. However, baring in mind Nintendo already said that they announce the next system in about 2 or 3 years I could see that developers will hold off until something new comes along.

The thing with Nintendo is, it has been a very long time since they had true great AAA third party support. People purchase Nintendo for Nintendo first party as a whole. And it appears to be that their most successful hardware always seems to be the ones that are less powerful than competitors, from the Game Boy to the Wii and the DS/3DS.



Action51 said:

@bizcuthammer - You rehash many valid points, but I don't think it's a matter of trying to appease the third party mega-publishers enough to get their "sloppy seconds" ports of games geared to the core PS4/XB1 gamer anymore.

Nintendo has to try new strategies. Trying to draw people who have been playing Assassin's Creed and Battlefield away from the consoles they are used to playing them on with rushed ports that lack functions doesn't work.

@ricklongo - I agree. The solution is to try new partnerships and work on new content or crossover content with publishers willing to work with them.

We'll never see as robust a third party line-up as you're gonna get with a Sony or Microsoft console, but by focusing on the unique experiences, Nintendo has a shot to recapture the imaginations of gamers and fill out their release schedule between major first party blockbusters.



Darknyht said:

@bizcuthammer It's more of a quantity over quality issue for the major third party publishers. Look at how many third party games shipped in the past few years with major bugs and incomplete code require day one patches. They choose to hype up the game, cut corners, and ship it out banking on pre-sales hype to drive everyone to be "part of the conversation". It's smoke and mirrors that eventually will take a toll on the industry (See Video Games crash of the 80's).



FragRed said:

@Darknyht I have already been having this discussion on here with a fellow Nintendo Life follower about how we believe there is to be another games crash in the next 10 to 15 years. Perhaps even sooner. So I do agree with you with what you have said.



Peach64 said:

The video games industry didn't crash in the 80s, the US market for games did. Things carried on as normal in Japan and Europe. I don't know why people feel a crash is coming when sales figures for consoles and games are going up. The Xbone is one of the fastest selling consoles of all time, and the PS4 is doing even better. Watch Dogs broke records for the fastest selling new IP of all time just last month.



DilMan33 said:


'AAA' development is really stretched.

At E3, Sony only had the re releases of Grand Theft Auto V and The Last of Us in the near term, everything else of quality was far away.

And more publishes are re-releasing titles for the PS4/One.

This is a concern.



ICHIkatakuri said:

Back in the GC days some third party devs had hits on the system as they could afford to make exclusive games for each console going. The number of exclusive games from big developers on any platform has dwindled since that generation and I totally understand that if a company is going to invest heavily on new Dev kits for the most powerful consoles or pc rigs then it's going to put it's eggs in those baskets. Since the N64, Nintendo has rode on the quality titles it produces in house to sell consoles and as the sole reason to own a Nintendo machine is to play their games, not for multiplatform ports. With the amount of interest these days into low budget titles and the support Nintendo has given to indie developers, the wait between first party titles isn't such a chore. The added bonus of a very few top quality multiplat or exclusive 3rd party games (e.g. Mh3u) makes the wii u my system of choice. I just wish the VC would speed up with its releases and think Nintendo could do a lot to sort it's dashboard increasing exposure to indie titles without relying on a constant barrage of adverts.



unrandomsam said:

@FragRed Not that long. The 3rd party excluisives or the best version period of great games that the Gamecube had was not so long ago.



theBluntKnight said:

While I think NIntendo missed a golden opportunity by not getting GTA V ported to wiiU but I'm not missing sloppy seconds multiplats from ps4/xbone. As long as Nintendo keeps on delivering quality over quantity I'll continue to be happy to own a wiiU.



0ktopi said:

Third party support is great to sell consoles to people who want what's advertised but it's Nintendo's impressive library of first party games that makes it stand out. The best Wii games were always first party games developed specifically for the unique hardware. Nintendo is vey much like Apple in that it recognizes the power of tightly coordinated software and hardware and, honestly, that's what will let if weather the resurgence of PC gaming. Steam has been absolutely relentless with its seasonal sales PC and TV integration have been progressing at an alarming rate. The only way to make ever more powerful console hardware compete with PCs (and now Macs) that are always 10 steps ahead is to subsidize the hardware by selling it at a loss. Meanwhile those seasonal sales have not only stripped console manufacturers of millions in licensing but they've built up huge backlogs of unplayed AAA titles that were bought on impulse and continue to compete with new releases every day. Far cry 4 is coming out soon but I still haven't gotten to Far Cry 3. It's just been queued in behind whatever else in my steam library. Additionally mods never make it to console and enrich the experience of every PC game that support them immeasurably. By next gen Nintendo will either be out of business or it will be the only one fielding a console that can do something a PC can't.



0ktopi said:

@0ktopi did I say next gen? I meant this gen. Destiny, Uncharted, MGS V, Halo (maybe ?) any other Must-have Xbone or Ps4 exclusives? And therein lies the problem with 3rd party devs. Bend over backward for them and they'll sell you out as soon as a big console with a nicer car comes by, leading to a uniform gaming experience across all consoles and a general tendency towards the same poopoodoodoocacapoopledoopledoggiedooples over and over again always and forever. Even Bungie, Microsoft's baby, is releasing it's next big thing on 5 platforms across 2 console generations.



0ktopi said:

@bizcuthammer I'm not sure that they care about 3rd parties. Aside from a handful of contractual exclusives all of what XB and PS4 will be available of the PC at a fraction of the price. The PC is easy to develop for, it allows for mods and the console release schedule puts them perpetually behind what PCs can do. After all, dropping 1.5 k on a PC that can run productivity software like After Effects and Maya while also doing everything your $400 console can do is an easy investment decision. meanwhile PCs are getting closer and closer to the living room. I bought Arkham City and streamed it from my MacBook to my tv over airplay and played with built in ps3 controller drivers. It took about 3 minutes to setup and if was awesome. I have 78 more Mac compatible AAA titles that I picked up for $7 to $15 apiece all begging to be played the same way.

I think Nintendo shows remarkable foresight to stay away from that mess and develop integrated hardware and software that can't be replicated on PC.

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