Opinion: Will Third Party Developers Stick With the Nintendo Switch?
They say you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but I can’t help asking the following question. I keep seeing third party games being announced for the Nintendo Switch. I think its a great thing. I love that third party games are coming to the system. I hope we see more. That said, will the third party developers stick with the system? Will they bring more games? Nintendo fans have been down this road before. We have been burned a few times. So, lets take a look at the evidence so far and try to guess what’ll happen to third parties and the Switch.
The Nintendo Gamecube wasn’t an extremely successful system but there were a lot of third party games on it anyway. However, when Nintendo went to the Wii, third party developers either started backing away or bringing low budget B titles to the system. And then there was the Wii U and how third party developers quickly backed away from that system.
Of course, if we are looking at things from a handheld perspective, instead of a console one, third party developers have been a lot more supportive of the Gameboy, DS, and 3DS line of systems. If developers view Switch as more of a handheld than a console, perhaps they’ll stick with it.
There is one publisher, though, that may already be thinking of backing away from the Switch. One of the members of the team that’s bringing FIFA 18 to Switch recently said that the Nintendo Switch is difficult to develop for. We saw that attitude from members of EA with the Wii U too. EA was supposed to support the Wii U a lot but never did. Of course, EA hasn’t ever been a big publisher on Nintendo so that may be nothing to worry about. That said, EA currently has only one game scheduled for the Switch and how well it sells may tell us if they will stick with the system.
Some of the developers that are bringing games to the Switch is surprising. I speak specifically of the support that developers like Rockstar and Bethesda are giving the Switch. Rockstar has had one or two games on Nintendo platforms in the past but never a major title like L.A. Noire. Bethesda has never had a game on a Nintendo platform. Skyrim is coming to the Nintendo Switch this year! Both announcements are huge for the system. If these two developers stick with Nintendo, the sky is the limit as to who else will jump on board and how much support the system gets.
Speculation has also been brewing about Square Enix bringing Final Fantasy 15 to the Switch in some form. Square has already released one title for the system and we are supposed to get three more! If Final Fantasy comes back to Nintendo, that would be huge.
Ubisoft should be mentioned here too. The Mario + Rabbids game that they did is fantastic and next week Rayman Legends comes to the Switch too. So it looks like Ubi will be giving the Switch a lot of support. The Wii U got some support from them but hopefully they’ll stick around longer this time.
There are also publishers like Warner Bros, with their LEGO games, that always support Nintendo hardware. The LEGO games were even on the Wii U. Lego City Undercover was even an exclusive for awhile! Nintendo will always have some third party support, but the support its getting lately is pretty amazing.
I can’t help but worry though. What if these upcoming third party games don’t sell? What if other developers share EA’s perspective that the system is difficult to work for? Nintendo using carts instead of discs placed Nintendo in an interesting situation. The system wants to be a console and a portable. I think we are better off letting the third parties believe that its just a portable because they seem more comfortable with Nintendo’s handhelds. The big N has had trouble getting triple A console games for awhile now.
I think as long as the system continues to sell well and as long as people buy these third part games, we’ll see continued support the Switch. I am hopeful that more third party developers will jump on board. I really hope everything works out. I think with Nintendo games, third party games, and Indies on board, the Switch could be the ultimate video game system right now. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!
What do you think of third party developers on the Nintendo Switch? What games are you looking forward to seeing on the system?