Nintendo Back to Being Nintendo – Third Party Woes? Nah.
Third party support. After a strong first year which saw the Nintendo Switch get great support from many third party developers, E3 2018 seems to be singing a very different tune for the remainder of the year, and into 2019. While many games are coming to the system – and a good amount of third party support as well – some of it is not coming soon enough, and some is not coming at all. Nintendo has a successful console on their hands with the Nintendo Switch, there is no doubt about that. But can it survive on it’s own franchises unlike its predecessor, the Wii U?
Despite being a sales flop, the Wii U had a ton of great first party Nintendo titles that too few people got to play. The problem for the Nintendo Wii U – outside of the terrible name choice – was that there were too few third party developers ready to take on the system and develop for it. That trend seemed to end with the launch of the Nintendo Switch, but after E3 2018, the big AAA support for the system doesn’t seem to be present again.
I think back to the first press conference that opened up E3 2018, EA Play. After watching the trailer for Unravel 2, I thought there was no way this title wasn’t coming to Nintendo Switch. And then flashed the dreaded words on the screen: Coming to PS4 and Xbox One, and available today. No Switch announcement, not even something for the future. During the Square Enix conference, the company showed off more details about Dragon Quest 11. Once again, we all waited to see if the Nintendo Switch would even be mentioned during that presentation, and sadly it was not. Again, another title heading for the PS4, and the PS4 only. Is it coming to Nintendo Switch eventually? For sure, but probably 6 month or more from now.
Bethesda sent a little love the way of Nintendo Switch, as did Epic Games, but both announced launches of games that have been on other consoles for over a year now, which dampens the desire for some Nintendo Switch owners to even make the dive. If Fallout Shelter on Nintendo Switch doesn’t perform as well as hoped, will this be blamed on a late release date – after being on mobile and Xbox One for so long – or will it be considered a lack of interest from Nintendo fans? It should be the former, but the latter makes it easy to skip the Switch on future releases.
Nintendo’s first party lineup through the rest of 2018 is fairly strong, with Mario Tennis Aces coming this month, Captain Toad Treasure Tracker coming in July, Xenobalde Chronicles 2 DLC in September, Super Mario Party in October, Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee in November, and of course, Super Smash Bros Ultimate in December. One a first party front, we have little to worry about.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some 3rd party games coming to the Nintendo Switch at the same time as other consoles, and some developers – like Ubisoft for example – are also bringing exclusive content to the popular console. But is that enough?
Where is the MASS third party support? Does Nintendo need it to survive? Or can the Nintendo Switch live on it’s own content? I believe Nintendo will be just fine through 2018 and early 2019, and I hope developers will see the value of developing for the system when it begins to hit higher and higher sales marks.
What do you think?