Update: Lorne Lanning has taken to Twitter to apologise for his statement:
Original Story: We dread to think about how many man-hours have been invested in discussing third party support on Nintendo consoles. Back in the days of the NES, SNES and Game Boy, Nintendo enjoyed robust support from practically every video game company worth its salt (plus a few that weren't) but the arrival of the N64 marked something of a change; third parties flocked to Sony's more successful PlayStation and despite the popularity of the DS, Wii and 3DS in more recent years, there's still this impression that Nintendo is the least well-supported when it comes to externally-created software.
Now, Oddworld Inhabitants founder Lorne Lanning has waded into this debate. Speaking on a episode of Kinda Funny that was recorded in April but has only recently been made available to non-subscribers, Lanning really gives the Switch - and Nintendo in general - a bit of a verbal beating:
I don't have faith. I have no faith. It's due to experience. I see a similar level of success than they had with previous generations. Wii U, Wii.
When it was pointed out that the Wii was pretty successful, Lanning countered by stating that very few third party publishers actually made any money off the console:
How successful was it for third parties? By the end of the life of the Wii, who else was making money aside from Nintendo? How many titles sold for the Wii that weren't Nintendo first-party? They started basically evaporating third party support. We get to Wii U - same, no third party support.
Lanning then goes on to criticise Nintendo's stance when it comes to promoting indie titles, stating that Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty got very little promotion when it launched on the Wii U eShop. He claimed that unless you release "day and date" with other versions of a multiformat game, Nintendo refuses to promote your title in any way.
Lanning then cast aspersions over the technical power of Switch, citing its weaker internals and low RAM as reasons that third parties will avoid porting to the console. When it was pointed out that Switch is a different proposition to rival consoles like the Xbox One and PS4 because it's portable, Lanning dismissed it as "irrelevant", because it means developers won't ship titles "day and date" and if they do, they will have to spend more money to "squeeze" their games onto the Switch:
You would think, OK, the Switch, it's mobile, this is interesting, how well are other developers going to bring titles over - not very well because you're going to have to spend more time, energy and effort to get it on that console - an underpowered console that's going to have fewer units in the market.
He also claimed that Nintendo stuck with cartridges on Switch to control manufacturing and combat piracy. "It's all about Nintendo first," he said. The Oddworld creator also stated that he felt Nintendo had to change and that the company's lack of progression was an annoyance for the late Satoru Iwata:
The thinking has to change. The biggest problem I see at Nintendo is the thinking. Personally, I think it killed Iwata; that he couldn't move the organisation into a really successful arena.
He then points out that Nintendo's recent foray into smartphone gaming is a "wake up call" to the company, citing Super Mario Run's performance as evidence than Nintendo's console-centric games don't translate as well as expected to other formats - Pokémon GO, he argues, is different as it's already a large multimedia and merchandise brand which is a little more separate from Nintendo itself.
Lanning admits that he's actually quite sad about the situation Nintendo is in right now:
It's a tragedy because Nintendo brought this business back... we're all playing today because of Nintendo's valiantness - then they controlled quality, they had controls which were really part of its longevity and made the game business a valid space again. Now those controls... they really need to get 21st century about it and they're not.
Could it be that such a negative outlook is influenced by how New 'n Tasty sold on Wii U? Not so, he claims:
It's not like we lost money, but we could have done way better.
The discussion is quite long but well worth a listen; we dare say that Lanning is holding something of a grudge despite his protestations but he's not the first person to make such complaints about the way Nintendo handles its online stores.
What do you make of Lanning's comments? Do you think he's valid in what he says? Do you think his outlook may have changed in the months that have passed since this episode was recorded? As ever, leave us a comment of your own to let us know.