The Switch continues to sell like hot cakes the world over but amazingly we're still seeing some reluctant publishers, such as EA, playing the waiting game when it comes to supporting the system. As a result, Switch is given less shelf space within retail stores than the PS4 and Xbox One, which seems to have created a vicious circle where big third party publishers see little in the way of physical retail opportunities on the system - despite the fact that indies are reporting massive success with downloads on the eShop.
Speaking to Gamesindustry.biz, Sold Out CEO Garry Williams stated that there is a greater chance of success on Switch than many third party publishers assume:
There are many companies who have managed to earn really good revenues through Nintendo hardware sales to consumers. When I worked for Imagineer in Japan we made some very welcome revenues making Sim City SNES, many of us also did well on GameCube, Wii and DS. The opportunities are there. Nintendo does not exclude you, it just asks you to 'up your game'. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
Williams argues that finding the right game for the audience is key:
The boxed retail model is a tough model on Switch so you need to feel pretty certain your title works before entering the market. Luckily for us, the Team17 Switch releases are tried, tested and proven on the Nintendo decks. Overcooked, for example, is a double BAFTA-winning title and already successful on the Nintendo format.
Sold Out is not in the business of 'vanity publishing'. If we were not certain we could generate profits, we would not enter the Switch boxed retail market. Nintendo simply delivers the platform for success and it is up to third-party publishers to decide how best to either get on board or to watch the sales juggernaut leave the depot.
He also feels that the Switch's current lowly status in the picking order when it comes to physical shelf space is down to the poor performance of the Wii U, and that this situation will change over time:
If Switch continues at it's current pace then it will receive the same space in store. Content is king and retail will support whatever the customer is choosing to buy as long as there are significant revenues delivered in the process.
While EA may be keeping its powder dry, we're certainly seeing a notable increase in the number of games getting physical releases on Switch. Do you think by this time next year the console could command more shelf space in your local game store than the Xbox One, or even the PS4? It sounds silly, but cast your mind back to the Wii era and that was the case in many outlets.
Let us know with a comment.