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The Switch is wildly popular. It's Nintendo's home console AND handheld. So why is 3rd party major studio / retail support so atrocious? [roundtable]
 
So, just to set the stage here, the Switch had 10 of the top 20 selling games in America this past December. Specifically, NINTENDO had 10 of the top 20, as literally all of them were 1st party. It does very well in Europe and Japan as well. It has already outpaced the Xbox One worldwide and is usually topping the charts across the globe.

And yet, the 3rd party major studio / retail support is not good. Well, no, to be more precise, it is VERY bad. And I can't quite put my finger on why.

There is the usual explanation of "Nintendo's own games do so well they crowd out the rest." Ok, fine. But at least on the Wii, Nintendo's last wildly popular console, 3rd parties tried! This isn't an exhaustive list, but I was looking through the game lists trying to find stuff that got decent reviews and is semi-unique to the platform, or at least not a port of an old game, and this is what I came up with:

Wii: Little King's Story, No More Heroes 1/2, Zack & Wiki, Boom Blox 1/2, Trauma Center / Team, Red Steel 1/2, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Monster Hunter Tri, de Blob 1/2, MadWorld, Muramasa, A Boy and His Blob, The Last Story, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Sonic Colors, Rune Factory Frontier, Rayman Origins / Legends, Resident Evil / Dead Space / House of the Dead light gun shooters, etc.

Say what you want about Wii 3rd party support, there were at least some solid attempts. And we got a lot of stuff we wouldn't have seen if the Wii didn't exist. Meanwhile...

Switch: Mario V Rabbids, Astral Chain, Octopath Traveler, Valkyria Chronicles 4, (upcoming) Monster Hunter Rise, No More Heroes 3, ???

Again, not definitive, but like... the Wii had much better 3rd party support? Is it BECAUSE of 3rd parties trying on the Wii and not seeing the results they wanted that they stopped trying? Or maybe the Wii had more unique hardware with the motion controls that gave developers some ideas, while the Switch doesn't to the same degree?

Also, keep in mind that THIS IS NINTENDO'S HANDHELD AS WELL. Where the everloving F is the support that the DS / 3DS got? I think it is fair to say that, despite the Switch technically being a handheld, pretty much no developers, including Nintendo really, are actually treating it like Nintendo's next handheld. It's just not even remotely comparable to the DS / 3DS 3rd party situation. But, why exactly? What is stopping it from getting "handheld" type support? Hell, what is stopping it from getting "handheld" type support from Nintendo? Remember when we were like "hey, Nintendo can focus on a single platform now, it will get a TON of games!" What happened? Was it just Covid?! But even before Covid we didn't see the output that some of us expected.

I guess one thing that should be mentioned here is that indie support on the Switch is much, much better than it was on the Wii. It gets almost all of the major indie games that the other two consoles get, and a few exclusives to boot. Is this related somehow? Are indie sales crowding out the smaller / niche market that 3rd parties used to find?

I NEED ANSWERS. What do you think is going on?

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Posted: 01/17/21, 21:17:03  - Edited by 
 on: 01/17/21, 21:55:22
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@Anand

That's a bummer about Fenyx Rising, Ubisoft seems to have a hard time selling a new IP. Starlink didn't do so well either. Though I suppose Watch Dogs is doing okay so far...

@Zero

Yeah, Mario drives sales for sure. If it were just Rabbids...I'm not sure it would have done as well. The fact that Mario & the gang are in it though? Switch owners are gonna snatch that up for sure.

One of the "launch window" games I feel could have done better is ULTRA Street Fighter II. I think it was handicapped sales-wise thanks mostly, if not entirely, because of the price point. If the MSRP was $20 instead of $40, I think a much larger audience would have bit on it.
Posted: 01/27/21, 00:04:16
I get the feeling a point Anand was making is that western publishers haven't been putting their best efforts on Nintendo systems, and so there are few examples to draw from. Which is probably true; I don't think there are very many cases of 1:1 ports for example, especially ones released the same time as other platforms, but I haven't counted.

On that note, I actually am a little surprised that Activision have not tried a Call of Duty game on the Switch. The Wii got all but one of them during that period, and the Wii U of all things still got two, and even the DS had several somehow. There aren't very many FPS games on the Switch to compete with either, so they could help fill a gap. At the least, I'd think they'd want to put Warzone on it, since apparently Fortnite has done very well on Switch, so it can be a lucrative space for free-to-play style titles.
Posted: 02/02/21, 21:20:53
@Mop it up

Agreed. Call of Duty would be an enormous fish in a very tiny pond on Switch. Activision is usually pretty keen on putting their games on like...EVERY platform so it's more than a little strange they haven't bothered with the Switch.
Posted: 02/10/21, 02:26:27
The lack of either CoD or any kind of GTA on Switch is really weird. I thought that CoD did pretty well on Wii. Maybe, like Yakuza, the Wii U performance was so bad that it salted the earth?
Posted: 02/17/21, 21:04:37  - Edited by 
 on: 02/17/21, 21:05:00
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