While consoles and third parties are in a troubled relationship, often it is. It is marked by their sometimes antagonistic relationship to third party developers and publishers a sentiment that, to be fair, has often gone both ways. The current condition where third parties support the Nintendo console is in play, so it’s always an unpredictable exercise. It is pretty hard to get out of the box of a single game without having to change something.
The state of Nintendo’s third party support for home consoles reached a dismay with the Wii U a console that, ironically, was actually revealed on the back of the promise of more third party titles that the Nintendo consoles would otherwise have been unable to sell while Xbox and PlayStation players ate on them. However, the frightened and dated Wii Us and its tepid sales meant that most other parties wouldn’t commit to it, and that those who did that were burned, and that those who didn’t frequently do that with efforts that seemed impossible compared to what you would have literally everywhere else.
The Wii U is probably the culmination of all the reasons that Nintendo home consoles failed to keep the third party, while the Nintendo 64 failed to maintain the third party dominance against Nintendo. From poor hardware to weak services, from a unique controller to a difficult development environment, to institutional issues such as those that could not communicate with third parties, or rely on the latest technological developments and the modern technologies, from poor sales to poor branding and public perception, and the lack of storage capability, and the lack of knowledge and technology, the problem of the same kind of situation that has forced the system into unreliable consequences, has been largely ignored.
By the time the Wii U was done, Nintendo was a non-entity in the broader home console market. It seemed like recovery from this phase would be hard, if not impossible. Even though a platform holder had previously experienced the same situation in the same way (Sega, with Saturn), and were unable to change their fate as they did by the Dreamcast. Nintendo’s core strength has always been their first party games but even they’d be unable to survive a home console that would be as orphaned by third parties as Wii U had been.
This is the difference that makes the switch really great. I don’t necessarily mean sales (or branding), although they are of course pretty impressive. But as far as the Switch is concerned in this subject, the Switchs very showing up with third parties is extremely impressive. Not just because at this point the Switch has become the most robust third party supported system in Nintendo history, it comes from the Wii U.
The Wii U seems to be a wake-up call for Nintendo, who understood what was wrong with that system, because this time there was a concerted effort to deal with these issues. The Switch is obviously inferior in the form of raw specs and hardware power to the PS4 and Xbox One (who were its contemporaries for the majority of its time), however, its earliest version was an extremely modern chipset, a powerful technology that allowed industry standard engines and development environments to operate on it without problems. Even though this wasn’t enough for Nintendo in the past, they have often built up something capable and then expect third parties to come to it themselves, from their own initiative. Nintendo finally understood that this is now how things are working in the industry now, that platform holders should take the initiative from early on to ensure that the support of a new platform is as painless and easy to support as much as possible.
While trying to get the parties to go with the new system, instead of waiting for third parties to build their own stuff on their own, Nintendo has made use of their own power to start the business. This also included getting all sorts of third party games on board (scoringSkyrim and Bethesda support for the Switch early on was a way of showing the public they were looking for for a fair amount of third party games, including ones that had traditionally stayed away from Nintendo platforms, on board this time), but also working with Epic and Unity to make sure their industry standard engines (Unreal and Unity respectively) would work on the Switch (Nintendo continued the efforts many times, but as much as they did on
Nintendo also understood that their traditional development environment and documentation was simply not up to the industry expectations at this point. After turning to someone else for help in this case, Nvidia, who was also supplying the SoC for the Switch, was to design the entire development environment and kit for the Switch, which was built to give the same extension of the new Nvidia dev tools and that would turn it into a convenient solution for most parties. The controller was standard and simple as it was, in a way that no additional functionality was needed to replace the core functionality developed by third parties. They teamed up with a mobile communications company to design their online network for them and make it, not bad, but apparently it’s not so functional, that it’s not, but it’s a secret that other parties can’t be deterred by it, if no else.
The long run after losing almost every console of the Nintendo console, the bulk of their third party support was lost, as it was, knowing that we would stick around on a system where they encountered an audience. Nintendo realized that they need to make sure that Switch owners actually bought a game beyond just Nintendo. So, as far as the rest of the industry concerned, Nintendo started co-marketing third party games hitting the Switch, pushed them to the Switch audience relentlessly via all the channels that they viewed, giving them the most interest on the eShop home page, in their Nintendo Direct & Social Media sites, and beyond. The system library is full of technology and prestige, but unlike some traditional third party products (which can involve an increase in power, or cost of manufacturing equipment, or just taking orders for marketing and putting up prices), and so it made sense to sell third party games of all ilk as the world’s first ever titles. Whether they were indie or a AAA, Japanese or western, the sales push for games like Hollow Knight has been creating huge success stories on the platform. This has created a cascading effect of Switch owners being more willing to take the experience beyond Nintendo’s own.
But the greatest success of the Nintendo Switch was its perseverance and perseverance. This is important but the Switch inherited third-party support from previous Nintendo consoles (whereever it was left of it by now), and also from Nintendoshandhelds. Nintendohandhelds always supported third parties, so that kind of support for the Switch was generally guaranteed. But but the main attraction of both games is still the physical importance. While it wasn’t enough for the Switch to get more handheld Japanese games, like dungeon crawlers or visual novels like Nintendo handhelds usually do, it must have got the same kind of games that the other home consoles are. Maybe not all of them, but enough of them that could be claimed they were in the conversation. And that’s the one point where Nintendo put their efforts.
From ensuring that Square Enix (the traditional kingmaker from third parties of Japan) was on board, and began a major project ready to show for the Switch from the beginning, to letting third parties like Blizzard and Bethesda, who had not been on Nintendo platforms since decades (if ever) on board, and marketing their games to ensure they were visible and did well, the team went hard to score the most symbolic wins for the Switch.The Elder Scrolls? Is it that Switch.Diablo? You and my friends! How it got in the house? A little better now.Dark-sized-minded souls? You’re dead? Yeah. Mainstream gang hits like Fortnite and Rocket League? Okay, I wonder if I haven’t been a jolly. EvenFinal Fantasy 7, the game that was probably single handedly symbolizing the Nintendo’s fall from grace in the industry, made its way to the Switch. It was weird, but they kept in the loop, and figured out so that IPs like Nird and Persona, which have big Nintendo adjacent audiences, would finally come into the system, so they would also stick with the eu, but never become so comprehensible.
After the initial preparation, support for the Switch exploded from all angles. The infinite support is obvious, and at this point, almost every major indie game has tries to make a beeline for the Switch often even when the Switch can not run their own games (it is still curious to see how The Outer Wilds or No Mans Sky will be wrangled to run on the platform). While Japanese third parties were a few years old, but with certain exceptions (like Sega, and Bandai Namco, etc) they seemed to be fully on board, rethinking the platform, and their games are being remastered as long as they are capable of doing it, so they make no more reliant games like Capcom withMonster Hunter Rise).
The AAA western third parties support is certainly not quite the same level as those other categories, but still pretty impressive in its own right, given the fairly weak system like the Switch and the western third parties can keep away from the previous generation from being fairly slow to win. Its even getting support in any genre and from quarters traditionally not associated with any console, for example, a games console, one PC-centric simulation and strategy, as well as being available on the Switch in abundance.
The amazing thing is the switch did all this while still keeping on with the rules of third parties that tended to support the Nintendo handhelds and the earlier consoles. She still got, for example,Shin Megami Tensei V andThe Great Ace Attorney. This stuff like the console and the PC-adjacent third party that it got didn’t replace the stuff Nintendo fans already liked and bought their systems for, it came complete with that all.
The Nintendo Switch is an indie console with a remarkable library which is a system, a single system where you can playZelda, Mario, Smash, Pokemon, Animal Crossing, Final Fantasy, Splatoon, Dark Souls, Monster Hunter, The Elder Scroll, Diablo, Overwatch, Trios Bandicoot, Santalo, Fortnite, Golden Horse, Big Two, Super Hero, Midips, War-tights, Dragonlands, World War Two, Affinity, Arm At this point, there’s an absurd abundance of support from third parties around the switch. Although all of the games are still missing, it’s still surprising how much it is getting. After the switch is finished, it will be a system where you can bounce from Skyrim, Persona 5, Breath of the Wild, Monster Hunter Rise andGrand Theft Auto, all by a single pair.
The bridges burned early and late in the Nintendo 64 era were repaired. Although EA and Namco may continue their best to sour the party, now the Switchs position with third parties is secure. The ball is now in the Nintendos court to ensure that they can, too historically, transition this momentum to their next system, turning their achievements off one system to its successor is where it has battled most, so their journey to the Switch successor will be interesting to follow.
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