Nintendo Should Become A Pure Software Developer

11 comments, 839 points

Nintendo have put themselves in a precarious position in terms of hardware releases. With the Wii and now the Wii U looking to be well weaker than their generational counterparts, Nintendo are forcing gamers to buy more than one console to appreciate a good variety of gaming. This could be a dangerous path, as many gamers will instead opt to purchase the platform with more variety and third party developers than the more focused first party platform.

The Wii’s strength came from casual gamers more into Wii Fit than Zelda. Casuals who prefer party games than a long single adventure. Even with the Wii, the casual gamer was seen as unreliable with a pretty mediocre software attach ratio to number of Wiis sold. By being exhausted of third party games as well, the Wii never struck the fancy of the more hardcore gamer. Sure, Nintendo can still rely on their core fanbase that love games like Mario and Zelda, but that wouldn’t get you much more than Gamecube numbers.

With the Wii U out now, hardcore gamers have once again voted with their wallets. It looks like they prefer to wait for true next-gen consoles from Sony and/or Microsoft for their future gaming needs. Granted, the Wii U hasn’t seen any real core games that would help it sell more numbers (I’ve never understood not having killer launch titles for any console), but even then, third party developers are looking to be pushing aside Wii U versions of their games until the Wii U becomes relevant.

Nintendo should definitely consider becoming a pure third party developer. Perhaps not now, as it would kill the Wii U, but perhaps in the future. By being out of favour with hardcore gamers, there’ll now be 2-3 generations of gamers who probably have never touched a Mario or Zelda game, purely because Nintendo has chosen to release weak consoles rather than push technical boundaries. Well, they can probably keep their handheld hardware division at least. The danger is that Nintendo is continuously alienating gamers who purchase a Nintendo console. The core fanbase of Nintendo have to purchase other consoles too(or a PC), while other hardcore gamers will just skip the Nintendo console.

By going third party, Nintendo will again be able to reach a large majority of hardcore gamers with their franchises. Even if it is just for one generation before resuming hardware sales. By putting their first party titles into more hands, they will attract more gamers with their renowned quality. Essentially bait gamers with their games.

There is no doubt Nintendo games would sell on other consoles. Whether it be by Nintendo fans or by willing new gamers, there will be an audience for their games. Nintendo, as a company, has been argued as a company for the gamers. Perhaps it is time to give back to gamers by promoting their games on a larger scale, rather than holding it hostage on their own console, and thus terms. The main danger for Nintendo is that they will continuously lose gamers the more they focus on hardware that isn’t up-to-date.

What do you think? Should Nintendo stubbornly stay a first party software developer for their own consoles, or should they broaden their horizon?


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    1. There is a fundamental problem wit this article. Nintendo has more hardware experience than sony and Microsoft when it comes to game consoles. So this article is suggesting the one with the most experience by far to step down its trone and make soft on people with less experience then itself? Its like saying apple should stop making ipods and macs and release everything on samsung computers/windows 8. It does not make much sense

    1. No you didn’t, there’s been fairly positive opinions from people who bought one, despite the fact that it still has games coming out soon. Would you care to explain why it sucks?

  1. I see the “hardcore” are still fighting the good ol fight in wanting Nintendo to become the next Sega. 10+ years later and you guys are still bitter that Nintendo is still a player in the industry in terms of hardware.

  2. On the contrary, considering their precarious financial position, Sony would benefit from becoming a pure software developer. There will always be considerable interest in their video games, but they can’t afford to keep going in the industry the way they have the last five years or so.

    By staying in favor with hardcore, Sony got left behind when the casual market came to grow the size of the industry, and whereas Apple’s iOS platform stumbled upon casual by happy accident, Nintendo saw it coming and made a money printer out of their last console because of it.

    Sony is set to release their next game console, but do you really think they can afford to keep going as it is? Their drop to junk bond status isn’t an incidental occurrence, They’re bleeding money right now, and although devs and analysts like their hardware enough that they see stock price increases whenever they make announcements, it’s becoming harder to ignore the fact that Sony is just bleeding money on gaming.

    If Sony cut their losses and started making games for other platforms, they could expand the appeal of their first party titles to a wider audience. Sony’s already been cutting and closing studios left and right (Superbot being the latest.) Games like Ape Escape, Gravity Rush, Sound Shapes, Patapon, Ico, etc would find bigger audiences in their competitor’s platforms. Kratos has a comparable name recognition to Mario and Sonic, and could easily spearhead that transition as well.

    If you’re trying to say Nintendo has an uncertain future, you will have to point that finger at Sony first. Sony barely scraped by profitability in 2012, dropping off various businesses like hot potatoes and pretending buying Olympus will mean something for them. Sony is going to close in the next five years or so if they don’t get smart and bow out of the businesses they can’t afford to be in anymore, such as TVs and gaming hardware.

  3. I thought Nintendo makes really great consoles and handhelds. Nintendo is going to be a pure third party software publisher/developer and makes games on Xbox 720, Playstation 4, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and new Apple video game console? Well maybe, but not yet. Maybe I’ll wait until we’ll see what happens.

  4. The only reason a lot of these people want Nintendo to become a games-only publisher is because they know Nintendo makes fantastic games but they just can’t bring themselves to purchase a Nintendo console because of the negative connotations the so-called “hardcore” gamership place on them.. The problem isn’t with Nintendo consoles, it’s with people ashamed to embrace them..