Soapbox features enable our individual writers to voice their own opinions on hot topics, opinions that may not necessarily be the voice of the site. In this piece, editor Dom explores the gap in Nintendo's software library and how a the need to develop third-party exclusives will only make Switch stronger in the long run.
Since it exploded onto the scene in March 2017, Nintendo Switch’s growing library of software has subdivided into three very distinct camps. We’ve got our first-party exclusives, (the big hitters that will almost always shift units on brand recognition alone), myriad multiplatform ports (a mixed bag of robust sports sims and seemingly impossible to fathom cult classics) and, finally, the consistently vibrant indies that keep the eShop buzzing with new IP.
There’s no denying each one brings something positive to Switch’s continued success - not to mention the wonders it’s doing for Nintendo in an increasingly cutthroat industry - but that doesn’t mean we or Nintendo should expect another year of strong performances based on the exact same strategy. The Big N needs to mix things up for 2018 and evolve its tactics, adding a much-needed fourth pillar that’s been noticeably lacking thus far: the third-party exclusive.
So far we’ve only really had one title that just about fits the criteria, and even then said game had the safety net of first-party association. Yes, I’m talking about none other than Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle - the game that seemed like an elaborate April Fools' joke before revealing itself to be one of the most surprising and engaging games of 2017. It even made its creator cry with joy upon reveal!
There’s no denying the association with Nintendo’s biggest and most recognisable export certainly helped elevate Mario + Rabbids’ profile, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that it was - and remains - a Ubisoft game through and through. From the unique personality infused by Davide Soliani and his team at Ubisoft Milan to its primetime unveiling at Ubisoft’s keynote at E3 2017, it effortlessly combined a set of timeless Nintendo mascots with its own and somehow pulled it off with aplomb.
Its success is proof positive that Switch can support exclusive titles that aren’t developed or published by Nintendo, whether they're a brand new IP or an offshoot of something more familiar. Yes, porting recognisable licenses can be a lot safer when it comes to the risky venture of developing for a new console, but Switch already has plenty of multiplatform titles and will add countless more in the years to come. Now is the time for Nintendo to start treating the console's third-party exclusive content with the same breadth of respect we’ve seen from other platform holders.
Look, I get it; exclusivity is a delicate setup that requires a great deal of faith and a considerable financial investment to lock a game on one platform, but it’s a vital ingredient to include when building a platform’s legacy in the here and now. Nintendo needs to invest in the right developers and right IP to give Switch a sense of identity that extends beyond its core franchises.
Let's look beyond Nintendo's green pastures for a moment. Just look at what Sony has done with its own third-party exclusives. Take the Yakuza series, for instance - it's featured on PlayStation consoles ever since PS2, a close relationhip that's seen characters such as main gangster hero Kiryu become as synonymous with the brand in Japan as any other mascot. Then there’s the Persona series, and its charismatic anime roots; or Nier: Automata and its bizarre yet compelling world-building. Then there's Bloodborne, a title which, while being partly developed by Sony's Japan Studio, is really FormSoftware's gig and part of the stunning Souls series. Even the mind-bending chaos of Danganronpa feels fundamentally linked to Sony's hardware without actually being first-party.
This is exactly what Nintendo Switch needs, and the console is in the exact place it needs to be to make this happen. Switch is selling at such a pace it’s outselling some of the biggest unit-shifting hardware in our industry’s history; Nintendo’s PR profile and mainstream presence is the strongest it’s been in years and publishers around the world are seemingly flocking to the platform to release their games. You could argue that this is already happening, with the confirmation that Nintendo is bankrolling the production of Bayonetta 3, a welcome Switch exclusive developed by PlatinumGames, a studio which recently had to endure the disappointment of having Microsoft pull the financial plug on Xbox One title Scalebound.
But this sudden influx of attention doesn’t always lead to good things. No one quite expected the motion control craze Nintendo Wii would incite in 2006 - not least Nintendo itself - so every publisher worth its salt started throwing exclusive titles at the unique USP of Ninty’s mainstream mega hit. Unfortunately, that rush of software saw the quality of Wii’s game library plummet as the desire to capatilise on a craze turned exclusivity into a bog of forgettable games. We don't want another Ninjabread Man, do we?
Whether publishers choose to follow Mario + Rabbids example and use a familiar licence to help sell a new experience on Nintendo Switch, or go all out on an exclusive that sells the unique selling points of the hybrid console, it’s finally time for the third-party exclusive to stand up and be counted in 2018.
What do you make of Dom's take on third-party exclusives? Does Nintendo Switch need them, or is Nintendo doing just fine as it is? Let us know below...
More the merrier really. Rabbids blew me away and supposedly, there are already 3rd party games being worked on, like that octopath traveler.
In an ideal world, this would all be great, but I don’t expect an overwhelming influx of high quality third-party exclusives.
More 3rd party support is always good. But these exclusives sometimes cost money and Nintendo don't like putting their hand in their pocket. It's different when they're collaborations like Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.
I don't care for much of Sony's first-party output, but their exclusive third party support is second to none, and the reason I can't ignore their hardware.
Would love to see that coming true. Third parties always acted weird when they deal with Nintendo (or at least from the N64 days). I would love to see that the Switch reverts the situations. The sales numbers are on the table and third parties should not underestimate that.
I've read in financial news sites that in Japan at least, many more games should be coming as it is a runaway hit and Japanese publishers are rushing onboard. However, the article said that because most were suspect of the Switch's future they have recently just started planning games for it specifically and as a result, most new games won't come out until 2019 at the earliest.
That leaves Western publishers. They too will need time to come up with games, so more solid ports such as GTA V, maybe a Red Dead Remaster, COD Modern Warfare and other such games that can hopefully be quickly, and with quality, ported over to the Switch. But eventually, Nintendo would be wise to lock up some exclusives the way Sony has done from 3rd party publishers. Bayonetta cannot be the only one.
The same article also said that certain publishers are getting heat from Sony and Microsoft to NOT port any games to the Switch, for obvious reasons. They do not want their system sellers, even if they're already on two consoles, to reach a third console.
I do think that Nintendo not being able to put out the bigger memory cartridges will hinder some of this, but I assume they're going to fix those soon enough. So Nintendo needs to pay up to get some of these onboard as I'm sure Sony/MSFT will offer incentives not to move games over, and it needs to put out that large cartridge so it is made easier to publish on the Switch. The reason publishers have opted for the smaller cartridges now is the cost and the lack of faith that the Switch would take off, so they minimized risk by buying the lowest cost options....but they now want the big ones, as they have seen the Switch's success.
@Ralizah As far as I love and support Nintendo, that's true. Bloodbourne, Nier:Automata... Made me jealous sometimes.
I am more for good games, exclusives or not. For instance, joining the Rocket League world has been fantastic. And Cuphead would be a GREAT addition even without exclusive status.
But to your point, Nintendo certainly cannot shoulder the load on big-title exclusives alone . It gave us a boatload on the Will U but it did not move units.
It would be nice but it’s not realistic.
Big 3rd party AAA publishers want to maximise their sales. That means being on all systems most of the time. They might offer timed exclusivity if the money hat fits but otherwise no.
The only other reasons for exclusive third party content is stuff that really wouldn’t fly with the audience on a different platform (so a lot of the JRPGs on PS4 that wouldn’t sell at all on XBox One), stuff developed in close conjunction with the platform holder (i.e Mario & Rabbids) and stuff that’s heavily dependent on the features/power of a particular console. Or a combination of the above.
We might (should!) see a lot of Japanese games targeting Switch first and foremost... but I’d still expect any that would do ok on PS4 to make it onto that platform too.
@Agent721 That issue with the cartridges memory and costs needs to be solved from both sides, Nintendo and 3rd parties. We as consumers should not to be dealing with the production costs of it or the extra download we need to do in order to play the game. When we buy phisical we just want to own the whole thing for a reasonable price.
Always welcome, and a sore spot for Nintendo historically the last several console generations. I do see a shift in the tides, but it still would be nice to see more.
Tomb Raider / Shadow of the Tomb Raider PLEASE!!!
God, was that a brilliant concept. Shame about the execution.
Great piece. I don’t feel that exclusives are the be all and end all for Switch but they would certainly help to get Switch out to a wider market and it’s something that Nintendo can control if they choose to.
Nintendo are not exactly known for admitting to mistakes and so much is right with the Switch.
However, 3rd party exclusives could do to be nailed down and online functionality definitely needs sorting out as well as wireless headphone functionality! And proper wireless headphones not the current set up which is pointless.
2018 promises to be another great year for Nintendo and the Switch but it also needs to be the year that the little niggles are ironed out to fully push the little power house even higher!
Bring it on!!
I dunno about you lot, but I'd buy another Muchables level game again.
This was a really well written and surprisingly balanced article.
I don't need Third party games on Switch- got my PS4 for that.
What I would like to see is Nintendo stop relying on tried and tested franchises.
Mario, Zelda, Pokemon... I know what I'm going to get with them.
They are 'safe' games, but they don't excite me- not in a way Horizon, The Last Guardian, Detroit, God of War, Spider-Man... do.
If this means they go out and sign some exclusivity deals for new IPs, then so be it, or they could reinvest that Switch money by opening up more First Party Studios.
Sony and Nintendo have very different business plans. Nintendo likes to reinvent the old, Sony likes to constantly keep moving. It's one of the reasons PlayStation doesn't have an iconic mascot in the way Nintendo has.
Very different approaches, but it works for both.
AAA 3rd party, this must be a joke
Switch will get a few inferior versions but that's it, oh also last gen games
Having said that i only own 2 games on switch and both are 3rd party, Skyrim & Doom. Not interested in anything until wolfenstein and then Prime4.
Switch is better of with AAA 3rd party exclusives rather than ports
Any developers games are welcome as exclusives, so long as they’re good. But I would like some exclusives from industry veterans like Square-Enix, Capcom etc. Existing or new IPs that would become a big hardware seller.
Yakuza came to Wii U in Japan.
You take back your comments about Ninja Bread Man. That game is a classic.
MGSV and Fallout new vegas pleease
I feel like a bit of a dinosaur here, but I've only ever been a one platform guy. Be that 48k ZX Spectrum, Amiga, PS1... then I went Nintendo. 3DS and now Switch.
I'm totally stoked we get LA Noire (gawd, that ending...), Skyrim, Doom - these are titles I never thought I'd get to play cos I don't have the time, money or inclination for a multi-platform house.
I don't really care about the age of a game or if it's an old port or platform exclusivity - just give me good games.
Console exclusives in general are plain anti consumer.
There just are symptom of the industry being competitive more than anything.
There are many games I would like to play, but I'm not going to but a console just for 1 or 2 games.
I Would Love to see more Square Enix exclusives can you imagine if we got a switch exclusive re-boot of something like final fantasy 7? That would really be something . I think Nintendo are doing fine so far I just hope this year also some has big hitters as we’ve already had a ton of those in year 1 !
Eh, I'm fine either way. I used to care about 3rd parties, but after years (decades?) of them ditching Nintendo, I just became apathetic. Would love to see stuff like Overwatch or Kingdom Hearts, but frankly I have enough to play from Nintendo themselves, and I don't need any more games on top of that.
Don't expect many exclusives from Western studios. Japanese devs like Level-5 and Atlus should bring stuff some stuff to the table sooner than later.
In the mean time Read Dead Remastered plz!
Star Wars - and not just the LEGO games (but I will take those too). Like the Wii Star Wars Rogue trilogy that never released.
Don't see how 3rd party exclusives helps really. Nintendo already has all the exclusives it needs, it makes them, Wii U had some of the best exclusive games last gen, didn't help. If you start to go looking to 3rd parties for exclusives in a way that means you are letting them off the hook for multiplats.
Doesn't matter how many Wonderful 101 or Zombi U or Lego City Undercover Switch gets if it doesn't get CoD, Destiny and RDR.
Exclusives has never been Nintendo's weak point, Zelda, Mario, Smash, it has exclusives to spare, what it needs from 3rd parties are the games people want. FIFA, Doom were a great start, but it needs more of those.
No matter how many 3rd party exclusives Switch gets, XCX is so much better than FFXV, people are still going to mainly talk about the games it's missing.
Rockstar ports will do wonders.
Red Dead Redemption on the go would be glorious.
We may see 3rd party exclusives, but don't expect anything extravagant save for Bayonetta and NMH3.
Also, what the deuce is Retro working on??
I think it's worth pointing out that 'true' AAA 3rd-party exclusives are a thing of rare beauty on any system, certainly any homeconsoles these days.
One could argue, that the Switch is already poised for a stronger line-up in this regard than the still more established Xbox One, which has about zip to show for itself in that regard right now, not to mention exclusives at all - 1st party or otherwise.
Cuphead is amazingballs, no doubt, I love that game, but a) it's hardly 'AAA' in the conventional sense and b) it's also on Steam, so a 'console exclusive' at best (which is going to be true for about everything else going forward though).
Anyways, the PS4 is an almost uniquely strong position in terms of quality AAA 3rd-party support, even though some of it is due to external circumstances (not really sure there is much of an audience on the Xbox One for Danganronpa for example, a game that is very niche, and very Japanese). Sony just has a reputation going back to the PSX for these kind of Japanese-centric games, and thus it managed to stick with an audience that is - at least in part - open and even interest in games that cannot make significant inroads with western 'Madden' and/or 'Fifa' crowd.
Microsoft tried last gen, when they partnered with Mistwalker for some very decent exclusives jRPGs, but even that was not enough to make the Japanese care and to draw that particular audience away from the PS3 (despite the PS3 not really being anywhere near as amazing in terms of niche Japanese games/rpgs as the PS2).
Now, to get to my point, much of those games were talking about (the likes of e.g. SMT games and their spin-offs) previously home on the PS2 have moved to handheld/DS/3DS in recent years. Seeing as the Switch is (despite what Reggie said a while back) obviously poised to succeed the DS, it could be very well placed to indeed see a great influx of 3rd-party exclusives ... just not necessarily from EA, Activision or other western powerhouses, but from smaller to midsized Japanese developers/ publishers.
I can totally see the next Yoko Taro game being a Switch exclusive ... why not? Octopath Traveler (okay, SE is hardly small or midsized but anyways ^^) is already a first step in that direction. More apt would be mentioning the next SMT game by Atlus and No More Heroes 3 by Grasshopper.
Hence this is really a matter of perspective ... you should fully expect strong 3rd-party support for the Switch in the next 12+ months, just not necessarily mainly from the likes of Ubisoft (although they might be one of if not the strongtest big western supporter going forward), but from Japanese companies and not all of that is going to be either AAA or indie, but that sweet so-called 'AA' spot in between. Some of them will be supported or (co-)founded by Nintendo like Bayonetta 3, but most will just naturally flow to the Switch, as that is where they former DS/3DS/PS2 audience has went.
I want to raise another point here though. I feel that THIS, right now, is the time for Nintendo to splurge and either fund new studios or outright buy some. They've got the cash, the revenue should stay steady at the very least, and content is crucial for keeping up the momentum when the inevitable PS5/XboxWhatever announcement keeps coming rolling around next year.
You want to have to be able to audiences then, that your system is anything but outdated. You want to be able to show that it is a thriving ecosystem filled with great games, and with even more great content in the pipeline. Don't just sit there and HOPE for exclusives to happen ... make it happen yourself in as many instances as possible, and to that end expand your development ressources. The timing seems right.
To be fair, most of those games are on PC as well, and they would be on Xbox if it had any presence in Japan, or Nintendo's system if it can run the games and if they didn't screw up with the Wii U. The only real third party exclusive (like Bayonetta 2 and 3, and W101) is Bloodborne, it's a game Sony co-developed and funded.
That's why I don't think developers start developing exclusively for Switch out of nowhere. The only reason it happened with Japanese games on Sony's hardware (even though they're often on PC as well), is because there was no other hardware to release the games on, because the Wii U was a joke in terms of sales, and so is the Xbox One (in Japan).
Unless Nintendo pays for it, I doubt it's going to be an exclusive. There's literally no point in keeping a game exclusive if there's another system that can run the game as well.
Not so much bothered about 3rd party exclusives, but Nintendo need to work on getting GTA5 on the Switch.
@Agent721 I definitely agree with the point that Nintendo needs to start creating more third party exclusives. Part of why Microsoft is and will always struggle to get back into the game is because Sony is wiping the floor with exclusives from third parties (as well as their own first party support).
Yes it is expensive to do this, but when you start selling hardware, software and, in the future, the online service starts to create a nice tidy profit, financing it should be much easier. The only problem is Nintendo hates spending money on purchasing exclusives as a whole, or even developers.
More games like Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle need to happen. Nintendo has plenty of IPs and plenty of game genres that they have not explored before (real-time strategy games being one of them until Mario + Rabbids). The potential is immense.
I just need More Cute games, Rhythm games, Cartoonish Boxing games, The Sims 4, Classic Final Fantasy ( 8, 9, 10, 10-2, 12, Tactics), World of Final Fantasy for Switch and i will be happy to play.
3rd party exclusives are unnecessary when Nintendo's first party is so attractive. There are also a nice amount of 3rd party ports on the Switch that become superior to the other versions just from portability. I can take Enter the Gungeon anywhere on this planet. Sony and Microsoft can't do that.
I think that 2018 will be the Year of the Ports for the Nintendo Switch, more so than 2017.
Most publishers were caught off by the Switch’s success so any title they might be developing for it it’s obviously in its early stages still. We probably won’t see many exclusives until 2019.
But porting games is much faster than developing new ones, so I expect a healthy amount of ports throughout the year so publishers can benefit from the Switch’s success while developing new games for it.
While I agree with the general premise of the article, some of the franchises mentioned are not exclusive and when they have been it wasn't always Nintendo's fault. Both Yakuza 1 and 2 got HD remakes on the Wii U, so one should ask Sega as to why these, or Yakuza 3-5 or Kiwami never came or will come to Nintendo's console (power definitely not being the issue). Same with Persona, the 3DS gets the spin-offs but none of the mainline games have appeared, again without explanation. I just hope Nintendo doesn't sign any dumb deals like the one they had with Sega over exclusive Sonic games last gen. If they moneyhat a game it might as well be from a developer who would be up to the task
@Alikan That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Not only third party exclusives are necessary, they are even indispensable to keep the Switch going strong.
Nintendo can’t maintain this momentum only with its first party games as great as they might be.
A healthy amount of third party exclusives is paramount to keep the Switch relevant for the years to come.
As long as Atlus is making SMT V then that's all the 3rd party support I'll be needing.
Anything else is a bonus really, there are some good third party exclusives on Nintendo systems but they sadly can't compete with the first party offerings...
It's a strength and weakness that's pretty much exclusive to Nintendo.
I'm looking forward to 3rd party Switch exclusives Project Octopath Traveler and Shin Megami Tensei V.
Great piece. It makes me sad that some of the best Nintendo first and third party IP (I'm looking at you, Konami) are in no mans land, but there are new devs and titles all the time to keep things going. It is still mental to think that there are games that only started development when the Switch launched which are still a way away. Housemarque (resogun and NEX machina) stated their disappointment with recent sales. If starfox needs a few years to get another crack at an epic on rails shooter, I'd love to see a smaller twin stick game in the lylat system from them. I'm amazed Nintendo didn't step in with scalebound. It's clear that the Switch is doing numbers that will justify third party exclusives, it's time for consumers to be patient and Nintendo to carry on with what they've started.
Bayonetta 3 GotY 2018
I bought my PS4 to play the Uncharted games so, yeah, exclusives can be pretty important.
Right now we know of four of them: Project Octopath Traveler, Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, Bayonetta 3, and Shin Megami Tensei V. That's a great start honestly.
I'm sure we'll see more mid-tier exclusives in the future. The eventual Ace Attorney 7 will surely be a Switch console exclusive for example.
I hope they have some exciting announcements coming soon. I'm not very excited by a new Kirby or Yoshi game.
Floor Kids and Runner3 are indie exclusives. One is ground-breaking and brilliant, and the other is 99% likely to be fantastic as well.
Anyway, as many have said, almost any game on the console is a PORTABLE exclusive. (Unless it’s also on iOS, 3DS, or Vita, that is.) This is a major part of the value proposition, as thousands have already said
@russkn87 100% agreed! Rise of the Tomb Raider is one of my favorite games of this generation! I don't care if it runs at lower settings, let me bring that masterpiece on the go!
Pumped for octopath traveler!
Where is Super Monkey Ball...?
I would rather have a much higher 3rd party release rate, so we get to the point where virtually all 3rd party games release on the switch.
Exclusives are much less important to me. They just deprive someone without a switch from playing a specific 3rd party title.
Nintendo needs to be careful that Sony or MS don't do a "switch 2" before they do, as that might end things badly. Even a portable PS3 would be incredible.
I agree completely. Hopefully they come out this year and not next year.
Hopefully the upcoming direct will reveal some new partnerships. I would hope some of the Japanese publishers have been approached with similar propositions to Bayonetta.
And I agree completely about MSFT vs Sony. I’m not sure why MSFT thinks it’s ok to not have more exclusives.
@gortsi Well it's true that the Wii U did get the Yakuza 1&2 HD remakes, it unfortunately flopped pretty badly in Japan, if I'm not mistaken it's the only Yakuza game to do poorly upon release there. It's that failure that discouraged Sega from releasing more Yakuza games on Nintendo platforms believing that they wouldn't sell as well. Although that could change, seeing how the Switch is crushing it in Japanese sales, so the notion of a Yakuza release on the Switch is still possible.
They don't need to be 3rd party EXCLUSIVES, not really. While that would help, just having more big name 3rd parties releasing on the Switch would be a lot of help for the system. Exclusives would mean they don't have to compete with other systems in the endless "which version looks nicest" contests, but just having the option to have that big 3rd party title on the go, instead of chained to your TV is plenty of reason for many people to consider the Switch version of 3rd party titles.
Switch exclusive means the game will make good use of the HD rumble, touchscreen and joycon dual motion controller. A port or a multi-platform usually uses these hardware functions as a gimmick, if the game is exclusive to Switch they will integrate it more deeply and more in-depth without worrying about compatibility on other platforms.
And without the soulless microtransactions!
I want to see a host of Multiplatform blockbuster games, I also would love to see some classic PS1, PS2 and even PS3 generation games as well... so many good games from last generation would be perfect remade on the Switch.
Third-party exclusives would result in better quality games that are specifically designed to run at optimal performance on the system they are created for.
The third-party multiplats are hit-or-miss when it comes to performance on the Switch. Their best selling point is that they are portable, but some of them can't even do that! I was sad when I found out RiME was such a failure, and WWE2K18 was a hot mess.
I think that era of failed promised titles may be over, though. At this point, I hope developers know what can run on the Switch before they make any promises. BUT, third-party exclusives would be golden!
Actually... spot on.
Most of PS4's 3rd party exclusives aren't exclusives by intention, but from lack of any other viable alternative. Xbox has proven to not be a healthy market for Japanese games, and Nintendo flunked the ship with Wii U. Now that there's finally a viable alternative, some of those games will start making their way to Switch, at least, the ones that can run on the system easily anyways.
"Don't see how 3rd party exclusives helps really. Nintendo already has all the exclusives it needs, it makes them, Wii U had some of the best exclusive games last gen, didn't help"
The Wii U's first party exclusives didn't help either. It's problem was not the games but the marketing which then lead to less support and games. But a system needs exclusives or exclusive features – the Switch has both.
There is a rather small amount of games that are actually considered system sellers. On Nintendo's side it's Mario, Zelda and Pokémon (which isn't even fully Nintendo) and that's pretty much it.
Games like Travis Strikes Again, Bayonetta 3 (1 & 2 even), SMT V, Project Octopath Traveler, Metroid Prime 4, Animal Crossing, Xenoblade 2 and so on are no system sellers, on their own. It is the combination of all sorts of different games like these that sells systems.
Most importantly these 3rd party exclusives need to take advantage of the unique hardware at hand with the Switch. While I’d love to see GTA5 or Star Wars: Battlefront II on my portable perfection, there’s little chance that will happen. Something that takes advantage of the bite-sized, pick up and play nature of the switch and doesn’t focus on the graphical weaknesses is the only way we’ll get there.
I think back on the days of the DS where I had Star Wars: Episode III on my PS2 and DS. Completely different games, (neither close to perfect in 2005) but both were fun cool experiences. The PS2 version had movie clips and an awesome fighting mode. The DS had a very SNES approach with challenege and a unique starship multiplayer that was very entertaining at the time. We don’t need uniform experiences, just something. Also, taking advantage of
motion controls isn’t always a bad thing when done right. (Lightsaber, finally?)
I totally agree with the premise of the article. There are way too many ports and not enough exclusives.
However, there are sone mistakes in there as well. @Dom
NieR: Automata is not a PS4 exclusive and there are a few games like Floorkids which are technically third party exclusives as well (since the only difference between indies and companys like Ubisoft is their size and both aren't first party).
@lemonjellydude to be honest I don’t mind if Nintendo didn’t get exclusivity on Square Enix games, I would love to see the whole Final Fantasy collection on Switch, especially the upcoming remake of 7.
@JaxonH Yeah, there's no reason why a game like NieR or Danganronpa won't release on the Switch. Likewise, there's no reason to assume the Switch will see a similar flood of third party exclusives, because the game is going to be on PS4 as well. Unless a dev feels crazy and wants to do some unique experience with the Joy-Con or something like that, but I doubt that would ever be a high budget game.
Imo Im not so confident that switch will get many 3rd party AAA exclusives, that would mean devs and publishers would be missing the other 90+ million people who game on the other home consoles.
I'd love to see it happen, but I believe we'll need another 10 million switch units sold through at least before any serious movement in that direction.
I'd like to see something like sunset overdrive make it's way to switch, that game would be perfect for the switch crowd, and unfortunately for insomniac , going Xbox exclusive , exclusive , exclusive (anyone who saw the MS e3 would get that) was a death spiral for a title that deserved more.
@russkn87 MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY. The Tomb Raiders would be incredible on the Switch.
I don't see it happening. As far as third-party's go, it will most likely be downloads (that where already available on other platforms). Sure there's Doom and Wolfenstein 2, but If that's truly the start for proper third-party support has yet to be seen.
Not the best example of 3d party game. I want GTA V not "Mario+Bandits"
I cannot see the point in third party exclusives as opposed to first party. As a consumer, to me there's no difference. They may as well be first party. The only thing Nintendo needs to focus on is continuing the one big release a month thing. That sustains interest and makes you want to stay in the loop with regard to what's coming up for Switch. And start building hype for the new Zelda already, concept art me!
@shani Nier Automata is a console exclusive, which, for the purpose of this op-ed, makes it a third-party PS4 exclusive. Floor Kids is a great title, but it falls under the indie banner for me.
@Agent721 That's simple. Microsoft did have exclusives early on in the generation but early negative views around the console and praise for the PS4 saw a slaughtering in sales. This meant that games often way outsold on the PS4 compared to the Xbox One. The last games they properly tried it with were Rise of the Tomb Raider and Dead Rising 4. Both failed sales wise.
Seeing that these exclusives didn't help shift huge numbers of units, Microsoft from what I understand basically started to limit the funds available to create software and therefore buy into exclusives for the system leaving Phil Spencer where he is today. That's how corporates like Microsoft work. Whereas Sony and Nintendo have a very different mindset which is why they both will likely outstay Microsoft and Xbox.
Nintendo does not need to pay developers for exclusive content, it already employs a massive team of people to do that job.
More quality games is always a good thing from 3rd party developers, I'm always up for that. What I don't want are an endless load of metroidvania/castlevania clones as the switch deserves better than that...
New and original gameplay is what we need, Mario and rabbids is a shining example of that
i have written and debated about this subject in such great length that not to write something here when the topic comes up would be criminal...
As much as i would love to see this, this is very unlikely to happen in any great detail, at least not with developers who really matter, now lets face it the best 3rd party games are coming from western developers, with the exception of Capcom, Square Enix and Nintendo themselves, Jp developers are so far behind now its almost laughable.
The best exclusives on any Nintendo hardware will always be from Nintendo, this is partly to do with Nintendo's unwillingness to spend the kind of money these 3rd party developers are asking for to make exclusives, but there is something more sinister at play here from the 3rd party developers themselves. Something that has been at play since the Nes days
It's no secret that Nintendo and 3rd parties have always had a strained relationship, but what is less known is the sheer level of contempt that many of these third parties have for Nintendo.
Many people at the top of companies like EA, Blizzard ect all came up during the late 80's and early 90's, during Nintendo's dominance in the market, many have memories of Nintendo's lock out chips, how Nintendo made it hard for these developers to get by, how many found more success in making games to directly compete with Nintendo on other hardware rather than create games for Nintendo.
This all obviously changed when Sony came strolling in and Nintendo's dominance in the gaming market started to wane, many developers put their contempt for Nintendo to bed, but they didn't let it rest for good.
Then Nintendo had a resurgence with the DS and the Wii and we see the contempt that many of these developers, now very successful themselves, have for Nintendo, EA's comments about the Wii being 2 GameCubes glued together spoke more loudly than intended, the games themselves were much worse, some of the worse ports imaginable came from some of the biggest game developers in the industry, on what was at the time the best selling gaming device.
There is also the added beef between Western developers and Japanese developers, that revolve around the hardware system wars, its been no secret that Xbox is unpopular in Japan, but this isn't just the case with Xbox, this is the case with every gaming hardware that has come to Japan from another country, the Japaneses tend to shun western products and stick to their own, the only time when they will adopt western products is when their own is no where near as good (smart phones being a big example here), but outside of a few products, the Japanese will largely stick to their own.
Now when it comes to this practice Nintendo are by far the worse, they have no problem locking out other countries from content exclusive on their hardware, so i would not expect to see 3rd party exclusives on Nintendo any time soon. Nintendo will get 3rd party ports because the developers who make those ports are not interested in seeing Nintendo dominate the market that they make a living in and 1st party exclusives made by Nintendo themselves because Nintendo are not stupid, they know they burned bridges with these people that will never be rebuilt, they would never try an aggressive attempt to buy out 3rd party exclusives like Sony has done, if that isn't enough then get a ps4.
To be fair, the Wii had a vast array of spectacular 3rd party exclusives. Many of which did't remain exclusives, likely because sales on Wii didn't amount to what was hoped.
But from Dead Space Extraction over Mad World and Boom Blox to Red Steel 2, there really was a wealth of quality efforts.
As I see it, the main reason we won't get many 3rd party exclusives on Switch is because any hype surrounding motion controls has gone, and developing cross platform is now so easy there isn't much reason to stay platform specific for any developer.
Big AAA publishers aren't the only 3rd parties around, and even if they were, their main beef with Nintendo now is that they aren't allowed to force players to use their own online infrastructures. That and I'd suspect Nintendo are pretty strict with the micropayment models as well, but I really do not know.
The Switch is region-free, you can even access the Japanese eShop on a western Switch, so locking content out is not the big problem it used to be.
You also talk of some developer's previous contempt for Nintendo. Blizzard released StarCraft on N64. EVERYBODY released stuff on the Wii. Any current situation isn't based on contempt harbored since the NES/SNES days.
If anything, Nintendo ticked off a bunch of their most adamant supporters quite recently, with not supporting WiiWare games properly on Wii U, and not letting smaller successful Wi/DS/WiiWare and eShop developers stand first in line for Switch development kits. This was their chance to stay on good terms with the new crop of developers and quite many of them feel a bit burnt now.
"Unique USP"? USP means "unique selling point", so it's a "unique unique selling point"?
Also: " the desire to capatilise on"
@Pod You say that everyone made games for the Wii and while this is true, you just need to look at the quality of 80% of 3rd party games, many of them ports, on the Wii to realize how little to no effort was made making games for the Wii, the top 10 rated games on the Wii are all from Nintendo themselves, The wii was Nintendo's most popular home console and it didn't even have games like Oblivion or GTA 4. That Starcraft 64 you mentioned was the last game Blizzard released on any Nintendo console (this actually includes both of Nintendo's best selling hardware, the Wii and DS), mentioning this actually further proves my point.
Unlocking "region locking" by Nintendo on their hardware makes no difference when many Japanese developers dont release digital copies of their games and do no release physical content outside of their own countries. If the developers themselves will lock western consumers out, what difference would it make that Nintendo region locks or not, i thought the gaming community got hip to that trend even before the WiiU.
while it is true that 3rd party developers are not all big AAA companies like EA, Rockstar or Blizzard, many great games can come from the Indie market, but i wouldn't bet on these to help Nintendo get through the next 5+ years with no meaningful 3rd party support (i do count ports and multiplats as meaningful support though, it doesn't have to be exclusives), especially if Nintendo intend to merge their handheld and home consoles, which seems to be the case.
This article briefly touches on the subject of Nintendo and 3rd party issues
this one goes into in a little more depth about the history and how it all began, while all this might sound negative, my point of view is actually rather positive, i believe that Nintendo has thrived perfectly fine without extensive 3rd party support the likes of which Sony and to a lesser extent now Microsoft. This has allowed Nintendo to develop their own 1st party content to the stage where 90% of Nintendo's software releases these days are genuinely awesome games that are critically acclaimed.
I do believe that Nintendo will need 3rd party support but ports of old games or current gen multi-platform games will do perfectly fine for the Switch going forward, they wont need exclusive 3rd party content and even judging by articles such as this on Nintendolife.com
Nintendo probably wont be getting exclusive 3rd party content, and that is perfectly okay.
@Dom But NieR:Automata is also available on PC?
@shani yup, but we're talking consoles here after all.
@Dom Ah, now I get what you meant by 'console exclusive'. I though you meant it was a title that's exlusive to consoles.
As a Nintendo and PC user, I don't make that distinction between 'console' and 'PC', because in the end all consoles are just modified PCs (in case of the Switch a tablet PC). I just see them all as different platforms in the same pool, so that's where my confusion came from.
@shani No problem mate I sometimes forget the terms we all use so often sometimes have different meanings. Thanks for letting me know.
I don't disagree with most of what you say.
Though saying Nintendo won't have exclusive thrid party support at all is probably an overstatement.
And let's be fair here, while StarCraft was indeed the last Blizzard game on any Nintendo system, it was also the second only. They just never bothered much with Nintendo, but lately they have been talking about whether their big hitter Hearthstone ought to be available on Switch.
And while I absolutely agree that most of the third party "exclusives" on Switch were outright garbage, I'd like to go on record for saying that there actually were a lot of solid titles, among them the titles I mentioned to begin with in my previous post.
While both Activision, EA, and Ubisoft all released stinkers on Wii, they all did provide class efforts as well.
@Pod Blizzard actually released 7 games for Nintendo hardware, all of them in a 10 year time period, then randomly Blizzard stopped support but actually having read more into this, it had more to do with Blizzards shift towards MMO gaming rather than shunning Nintendo.
Id rather see a consorted effort made by these developers to port their older games or current multiplat games rather than a shoddy attempt at making exclusive games for Nintendo if im really honest on this.
to some degree you are right though, Ubisoft, EA and Activision among others did make some decent games on the Wii, but with such a large install base they hardly scratched the surface on Nintendo's own first party exclusives, these developers while they like to make creative and qwerky stuff, they also want to make money.
I was going to copy and paste it here but id rather not bother, if you do a simple search of the best 7th generation selling games, look at the best overall, of the top 10, most belong to Nintendo, then look at the cross platform ones, aside from cod 4 and gta 4 none of the other games even scratched the top 10. reading this, you would realize who made all the money.
The developers you mentioned, would have secretly been wishing for an end to Nintendo's dominance for the next generation (which did happen), because you only need to look at the best selling games of the last gen to realize that 3rd party developers had their market share hugely eroded by the very company they were attempting to help dominate the gaming market (Nintendo themselves), and that must be a hard pill to swallow.
If you knew that making a game for a hardware manufacturer who is also competing against you in the software market would take resources away from you to create other games and help them to dominate both the hardware market through number of games and the software market through the quality of their own games thus taking profit away from you, well you would either not create games for that hardware manufacturer (Nintendo) or you would invest very limited resources at all (which with ports, limited resources are fine as long as its ported correctly) - to simplify it, If Nintendo does well, then most 3rd party developers suffer for it, because the vast majority of the games that will be sold on Nintendo consoles will always been Nintendo own first parties couple that with the fact that they would have the most install base so to not release games will be stupid. Kind of like a "damned if you do and Damned if you dont" situation
This was the situation developers were in during the 7th gen and like i said, i work in sales and have studied business extensively for my career, this is an extreme hard pill to swallow.
You might need to reread that last section twice because its a bit of a brain full, took me a bit to articulate it.
@Gaeus "It is the combination of all sorts of different games like these that sells systems."
Well yes, every little bit helps, but I think it's more important for Switch to get multiplats like Overwatch and Madden then exclusives like say Child of Light or Octopath. I don't think exclusives are all they are cracked up to be. Sunset Overdrive on Xbox is 1 of my favorite games, so is Ori and the Blind Forest. Cuphead has been really well received. PS4 is still kicking Xbox's butt though. I'd rather big companies work on getting their big multiplats working on Switch like Destiny 2, Overwatch, SW:BF2 and RDR2 then spending their time making exclusives that may not sell themselves or the system.
I am actually completely with you on your assessment of the 7th gen situation. Publishers didn't want to risk big budgets because the very real possibility of any title in almost any genre being overshadowed by a Nintendo first party title is just too big.
Producing more titles on smaller budgets, and hoping for a "freak accident of success" seemd a better option.
Which is why I am so happy to see Nintendo having caught on this time around, and NOT opening the Virtual Console on launch day. This means digital releases from third parties don't have to compete for early adopter dollars with all-time big hitters like Mario World and Ocarina of Time.
Furthermore, they do NOT have a user score system, which on the Wii, Wii U, DSi and 3DS really only served to make sure that Nintendo's first party titles looked considerably more attractive than any digital or physical 3rd party release.
Things are looking much better for the 3rd parties this time around, and many report splendid sales numbers.
My big reason for thinking we stil won't see many exclusives is simply that Switch isn't THAT special from an interactivity standpoint. We might see quite many PC/Switch indie/AA titles, but that's of course not the same as true exclusivity. And that isn't really an issue either as I see it.
On the Wii, I was happy people made the effort. Games like Red Steel 2 and even Let's Tap would not have been possible anywhere else at the time, and provided me with much enjoyment.
Ultimately, we'll see whether we are right in the coming years, regardless of how we arrive at the conclusion. Maybe we will both be surprised.
If Switch had 8gb i'm sure more games would be coming this way. 4gb is very low in these days... 4gb is not even minimal requirement anymore on top 3rd party games. Well we'll see
@Fight_Teza_Fight But wouldnt Last Guardian, God of War and Spider-Man ALSO all be safe franchises for Sony as well. Every platform has their exclusive franchises which they recycle but you cant say BotW was just another Zelda formulaic game.
@Pod yeah a part of me hope this turns out to be the case, but i really haven't noticed this new approach you mentioned yet, 3ds is a huge example but Nintendo seem to have that market to themselves so 3rd parties either make games for them or nobody at all but we just need to wait and see if they continue this with the switch or if like you said they change their approach.
I see a very healthy library of ports and multiplats which we really haven't had on a Nintendo product for a long while. If im really honest though, i just dont see why 3rd parties would be willing to make exclusive games for Nintendo, while knowing that Nintendo will themselves release games that will compete with the 3rd party ones but time will tell. But like i said before another part of me would be happy with no 3rd party exclusives or a small handful like special additions of guitar hero that has exclusive switch abilities ect...
Also judging by recent 3rd party announcements it seems to me that this is exactly what will be happening (ports and current gen multiplats).
We shall see. Many bigger 3rd parties did not have anything ready for the Switch launch, and have been caught off guard by the relatively unexpected success of the system.
Maybe have announced that they're making SOMETHING now, but whether it's exclusives or not remains unclear.
Something like Octopath Traveler might remain exclusive, but there's no guarantee of it, and even it's from a big publisher, it's still more of a AA experiment.
Agree that 3rd party exclusives are an area that Nintendo should seek to grow, but I can't see it happening anytime soon. All the evidence suggests that Publishers are focused on the risk adverse, cost efficient porting of older titles to the platform. That will hopefully lead to some "day and date" releases of new titles going forward (late 2018/ early 2019), and then maybe late 2019 we'll see an install base that warrants taking the punt on a system exclusive. I don't believe comparisons with Wii are useful. Whilst Switch does have the motion control mechanic, it's surely the "play anywhere" that stands out to developers and publishers as the key USP, and that's a USP that doesn't require exclusive content - just bring the same PS4/XOne game across.
@Agent721 I'm not sure how Japanese law works regarding the efforts to "not port your games to Switch", clearly it's at least weakly enforced if there is anu trust legislation for that, however that will be harder to do to western publishers, and the majority are US based, and while an exclusivity contract is perfectly ok, an inclusivity contract of "everything but competitor X" could easily be brought up on collusion charges.
"The Big N needs to mix things up for 2018 and evolve its tactics, adding a much-needed fourth pillar that’s been noticeably lacking thus far: the third-party exclusive." I agree it's an area that should be focused on, but surely the Virtual Console is the bigger and more lucrative fourth pillar that's been lacking (Neo Geo titles aside).
@StuTwo "and stuff that’s heavily dependent on the features/power of a particular console. Or a combination of the above."
Looks grim.... I really hope that computing device patent will be something, as it can help secure these titles. Sure, doesn't work in handheld, but it's that or nothing.
@nocdaes Sure, nostalgia sells, just look at Crash Bandicoot. That said, how much can they feasibly make off of that, comparatively to new games?
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