If we go into a retail store and look at the game section, we see an overabundance of hit titles for Playstation and Xbox. Top tier quality and Game Of The Year IP’s lay about in those two sections. When we get to the Nintendo section though, it’s very sparce. A lot of marvelous line of indies, first party, and third party completely low in quantity. At first, that may seem worrisome but in actuality, it’s better than you think.
If we go back to the Nintendo Entertainment System, there were policies in place for games to be on that system. Limited games from companies, Nintendo Seal of Approval, and other rules hindered some releases. Konami for example, had to form Ultra so games like Metal Gear, TMNT and TMNT II: The Arcade Game, could be release with games like Contra, Blades Of Steel, and other Konami games that had the silver backgrounds. When Super Nintendo came along, a lot of rules were removed and getting games on the system was easier. This made a lot of companies accumulate a lot of revenue with massive sales, keeping a lot of them afloat.
Once N64 and Gamecube came along, the gaming industry was shifting and third party ran to Sony and Microsoft. With all these changes, players and consumers didn’t stay connected to Nintendo and Xbox and Playstation became the face of gaming. It also became one of the reason for a lot of closures and loss of revenue.
During the PS3 and 360 years, if a title didn’t sell a certain million in sales, there was the possibility to close down. One game could make 100 or more employers lose their job. Even if the game was well receive among reviewers, the sales are all that matters. Having the best tech and graphics doesn’t always guarantee enormous sales.
Nintendo on the other hand is a different road. One game that kind of start it all was Cooking Mama. Yes, that Cooking Mama on Nintendo DS from 2006. Cooking Mama actually kept Majesco Entertainment, it’s publishing company, in business. With it being priced at 19.99 and selling 4 million copies in total, it was a stepping stone for companies to make profit.
Even with Wii and Nintendo 3DS, companies like Square Enix, Capcom, Sega, XSeed, and others, were putting titles, and yes some was sholveware, that was selling surprising well than the big budget IP’s. It was odd. Why was this happening?
Yes, even with Wii U, there was another shift that happen. The world of indies. Of course, 360 paved the way for it but who would’ve known that it took Nintendo to turn things around. As more indies and kickstarter titles started to take form on Nintendo’s platform, Microsoft and Sony was drifting away from them. It was about the cinematic and interactive experience than skill and fun. The ideas that were obscure but if developed right, would become a hit title.
In it’s 3rd year of availability, Nintendo Switch has a long list of titles that has kept many companies in business. There’s less closures happening and titles like Dead Cells, Astral Chain, Golf Stories, Octopath Traveler, and other games have had their own success stories. The games I mention can go toe to toe with games like Gears Of War, Demon Souls, and other high profile franchises.
It even kept companies in business due to the overwhelming success of physical games and collector editions. Double Dipping has become a staple for Switch than the other consoles. Even with PC. This fascinating movement has been the thing Nintendo is known for. Having that particular generation’s hardcopy. There is a level of value having that cartridge, mini cd, or CD. The more people buy them and hold on to them, the special the meaning (and bigger the library) you have.
This business practice isn’t nothing new but companies see if a game does better on Nintendo compared to its original release, they become grateful and who knows, may push for more Nintendo recognition to have their title on it. It could be out of greed. It could be out of necessity. It could be that the player base will double or tripple their purchase. Companies pay attention when they read “I hope there’s a Switch version” or “I’ll wait for the Switch version”. Dead Cells is a perfect example. Even Hades and Minecraft Dungeons.
There’s some form of magic that Nintendo has. Some may say it’s the fan base. Some may say that Nintendo has a lot of collectors flocking to the platform for the Limit Run avail. It may be a certain form of entertainment and way of gaming. No matter what it is, it’s been helping developers and publisher realize that the audience you weren’t mindfully attracting, is buying your merchandise more on through Nintendo. Digitally or physically or both.
Nintendo might not have the greatest in tech but it has allowed a lot companies to be around throughout the generations of console. Ask Sega, Atari, and others who haven’t been able to make it like they have. As a new generation of consoles come, those companies will make decisions that may affect Nintendo and its base. Don’t fret though, I believe Nintendo will always be there to help them out if they don’t make a big splash.