Nintendo Admits Its Third-Party Sales Are Pretty Terrible

Nintendo Admits Its Third-Party Sales Are Pretty Terrible

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Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata has admitted what the rest of us already knew: Most third-party games on the DS and Wii sell like moldy buttermilk pancakes.

Take a look at this list of best-selling Wii games. You may notice that the top ten titles are, in fact, all Nintendo games - and the first non-Nintendo game even has Mario in it! After that, you need to look down to #15 to find a third-party title that has nothing at all to do with Nintendo (Ubisoft's Just Dance). In general, the list is very, very Nintendo-heavy, which is something that analysts, media and gamers have known for quite some time.

Nintendo knows it, too. Speaking to press yesterday, CEO Satoru Iwata admitted it was true "that the third party software sales ratio on Nintendo platforms are comparatively smaller in Japan. Wii's third party software ratio is especially low." It isn't just in Japan, Mr. Iwata.

According to graphs from Media Create, third-party sales are a paltry 26% of total Wii software sales. The DS was doing considerably better, with third-party software making up just under 50% of total sales on the platform, but Iwata admitted that it was partly due to the handheld's massive install base.

In comparison, first-party software makes up 20% of total sales for the PSP, Xbox 360, and PS3 platforms - almost the complete reverse of the situation on the Wii.

With the 3DS, though, Iwata emphasized that Nintendo could not allow this situation to continue into its next handheld generation. "We need to decrease the concern that only Nintendo software can sell well on Nintendo platforms and third party software cannot sell in the same volume," he said.

"We will not make a trend similar to the one found for Wii in Japan now ... we feel a need to have closer ties with our third party developers from the beginning."

To that end, he produced statements praising the 3DS from third-party developers behind many of the numerous titles in the admittedly impressive-looking 3DS lineup like Resident Evil, Professor Layton, and Metal Gear Solid.

"Together with the third party software people," said Iwata, claiming that the developers' expectations were humbling, "we aim to expand the sales of Nintendo 3DS, and we will never stop our efforts to expand the gaming population."

(GI.biz)

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Considering the amount of third-party software that is already being developed for the 3DS, I would say Nintendo is already making good on their promise. :P

Still, it is nice to see that Nintendo is actively working in ceasing the "only Nintendo games sell on Nintendo systems" stigma.

It's always been that way. Nintendo's software sales have been dominated by first and second party titles.

Well that's because most of the third-party support is pure shit anyways...
And no, I'm not saying that third-party stuff can't be good on the Wii. I loved Cursed Mountain and that was definitely third party.

Yeah. And the sun rises in the morning, pigs don't fly and the dead won't wake up.

TheGreenManalishi:
It's always been that way. Nintendo's software sales have been dominated by first and second party titles.

Pretty much. It's pretty much a given that if you're a regular gamer buying a DS, you're probably not buying it for Cooking Mama, you're buying it for a first party title.

It's been pretty much the same since the N64 days, but to be honest, I don't have any problem with it. The first party games are still great, and there's enough third party gems (Monster Hunter Tri, No More Heroes) to keep me satisfied.

But a change is always good, and seeing more good third party titles is nothing but a good thing.

The trouble now is that a lot of third party stuff is designed for anything, and then just cobbled together for Nintendo, which has admittedly lower processing powers. As a result, they feel rushed and poor quality, as oppossed to Nintendo, who know how their ystems work, design with them in mind, and know what their fans want.

John Funk:

"Together with the third party software people," said Iwata, claiming that the developers' expectations were humbling, "we aim to expand the sales of Nintendo 3DS, but we still want 300$ for it...bitches.

Nintendo better do something about this trend. I think a lot of companies are already well weary of the situation, EA has frequently commented about not really supporting the system. It's strange to see their unrivaled success without the help of any Call of Duty megasellers, well, but that's Nintendo for you I guess.

I love mad world and no more heroes, and I think those are third party developers? Please correct me if I'm wrong about that.

Loads of new games for the 3DS though from third party developers, may it be successful:D

What I still fail to understand is, why is it Nintendo's fault 3rd party games don't sell well on their systems and what is changing with the 3DS to supposedly turn this around?

Brotherofwill:

John Funk:

"Together with the third party software people," said Iwata, claiming that the developers' expectations were humbling, "we aim to expand the sales of Nintendo 3DS, but we still want 300$ for it...bitches.

Nintendo better do something about this trend. I think a lot of companies are already well weary of the situation, EA has frequently commented about not really supporting the system. It's strange to see their unrivaled success without the help of any Call of Duty megasellers, well, but that's Nintendo for you I guess.

I am going to link to our colleagues at Wired to explain this: The 3DS is not $300, it is 25,000 yen.

Maybe that's because the vast majority of third party games on the Wii and DS are total shit and/or made for casual gamers who only buy two games a year? What do you expect Nintendo to do? Make their games worse on purpose? The Wii and DS are not known for their hardcore games. Nintendo's franchises are pretty much the sole exception to this. Add to this the fact that Sony and Microsoft are not game developers. They are electronics companies. Nintendo is the only pure gaming company left standing that makes hardware.

Oh, Nintendo. I don't take back all those mean things I said about you, because, well, they were true... But I certainly forgive you for most of them.
Still, no matter what you do, nothing will make up for allowing carnival games to be a best seller.

Still, still, nice to see Nintendo trying to reign their shitty 3rd party library in.

Hmmm....

"Squaresoft will never have a game on a Nintendo console again" -Nintendo after FFVII was announced for Playstation rather than Nintendo 64.

Pretty sure your 3rd party relations have been bad for a while Nintendo.

John Funk:

Brotherofwill:

John Funk:

"Together with the third party software people," said Iwata, claiming that the developers' expectations were humbling, "we aim to expand the sales of Nintendo 3DS, but we still want 300$ for it...bitches.

Nintendo better do something about this trend. I think a lot of companies are already well weary of the situation, EA has frequently commented about not really supporting the system. It's strange to see their unrivaled success without the help of any Call of Duty megasellers, well, but that's Nintendo for you I guess.

I am going to link to our colleagues at Wired to explain this: The 3DS is not $300, it is 25,000 yen.

He is right, my coverter says that is 299.213 USD not 300. :P

But he does have a point that they could give us another price for no other reason than the Nintendo money god declares it so. Hell nintendo could sell it here for $1.50 if they wanted to, they are crazy enough...

Yes, but in fairness, most of the third party software on the Wii is unplayable rubbish. There's a few hits here and there, and Sega does what it can here and there as what could be called the most consistent 3rd Party developer.

Ever since the N64, 3rd party support has been all over the place. Shame, really- the occasional, very occasional good 3rd party game shows the potential that exists.

More software sells for Wii and DS than any other platform. The upshot of this is that the PS3 and Xbox have a higher ratio of third-party-sales to first-party-sales because the first party sales are so low.

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So third parties actually sell more on the Wii than they do on PSP or PS3, and they sell more on the DS than they do anywhere else.

I'd like to draw your attention to the gray bars too. Third party software on the Wii and DS look small compared to first part because the first party software sells so much better too. Nintendo's software sales dwarf both Microsoft's and Sony's. Not only do they top the charts for their own systems, they regularly top the charts for all platforms combined.

Basically, third party sales on wii compare poorly to first party because pretty much any arbitrary grouping of games' sales compares poorly to what Nintendo puts out. You can be an awesome developer raking in tons of cash and still look bad compared to Nintendo. Why would an awesome developer who is raking in cash want to complain about that though?

I think the problem has been solved for them to a degree, the main chips is the same as most of apples handheld devices now and John carmack got Rage (idtech 5) running on the iphone, Epic got the unreal engine 3 to run, Capcom managed to fit a version of MT Framework onto the 3DS.

reduce the gemometry level/texturing and along with the maximum 800x240 framebuffer which can drop to 400x240 when the 3D mode is disabled.
Which is about the sort of resolution games in the early 80's used, and the games over the
4-5 years of the current console cycle become very portable when the resolution is about 9.6 times smalller than the 1280x720 framebuffer used in most of todays console releases.

The sun shines, grass grows, and buddy? Nintendo has terrible third party support.

And guess what? IT DOES NOT NEED ANY THIRD PARTY SUPPORT.

Geez, John Funk has been following Iwata around a lot lately, hasn't he?

Okay Nintendo, this is what you have to do.

HAVE QUALITY CONTROL!

There are so many cash-ins and jumbled together mini-game compilations that it's no wonder the figures are so low. If you actually allowed more good games on the console (and i own a Wii and love the good games on it) then the numbers would be more favourable.

Nintendo admitting your problem is the first step on the road to recovery. Now ban all cheap cash in collections of mini-games for DS and Wii and we might be getting somewhere.

Like shMerker pointed out above me, third party sales on Wii and DS collectively trump anything the HD systems.

Anyways, it is good that Iwata wants to build bridges with the third-parties, but Nintendo's not exactly the one at fault here. Much of the bad third-party relationships can be traced back to those companies' general inability to grasp the gaming industry at large instead of any limitations Nintendo might have set on them. Many of them are still putting all their major resources on the HD systems, leaving their third and fourth-string developing teams to put out low-budget titles on Wii in hopes of making a quick buck. Until they learn to target all markets of gaming equally (which would require a general change of mindset, and maybe firing/demoting certain individuals), it won't be very likely that they'll be able to "get" Nintendo's systems and thus build a solid relationship.

Well, its a sign they need to improve there realtions with them so they can really puh some titles out of house

Nintendo is the Apple of the console world. We know this, we accept it, it's just how it is. The guy doesn't need to apologise.

shMerker:
More software sells for Wii and DS than any other platform. The upshot of this is that the PS3 and Xbox have a higher ratio of third-party-sales to first-party-sales because the first party sales are so low.

image

So third parties actually sell more on the Wii than they do on PSP or PS3, and they sell more on the DS than they do anywhere else.

I'd like to draw your attention to the gray bars too. Third party software on the Wii and DS look small compared to first part because the first party software sells so much better too. Nintendo's software sales dwarf both Microsoft's and Sony's. Not only do they top the charts for their own systems, they regularly top the charts for all platforms combined.

Basically, third party sales on wii compare poorly to first party because pretty much any arbitrary grouping of games' sales compares poorly to what Nintendo puts out. You can be an awesome developer raking in tons of cash and still look bad compared to Nintendo. Why would an awesome developer who is raking in cash want to complain about that though?

Mr. Fister:
Like shMerker pointed out above me, third party sales on Wii and DS collectively trump anything the HD systems.

Anyways, it is good that Iwata wants to build bridges with the third-parties, but Nintendo's not exactly the one at fault here. Much of the bad third-party relationships can be traced back to those companies' general inability to grasp the gaming industry at large instead of any limitations Nintendo might have set on them. Many of them are still putting all their major resources on the HD systems, leaving their third and fourth-string developing teams to put out low-budget titles on Wii in hopes of making a quick buck. Until they learn to target all markets of gaming equally (which would require a general change of mindset, and maybe firing/demoting certain individuals), it won't be very likely that they'll be able to "get" Nintendo's systems and thus build a solid relationship.

I liked these posts, so I am going to quote them.

I also think that Nintendo should help advertise for the better third party game developers. I mean, look how good Monster Hunter Tri did, and the crap was advertised out of that game. Then look at games like, say, DeadSpace, which no one knew about until the company complained that no one was buying it.

And I hope that the leads in Nintendo don't forfeit the Wii and only concentrate on the 3DS. They should start working on the Wii third party issues first.

I don't think the high percentage of first party sales on the DS and Wii (or at least on the DS) is so much an indictment on the third party sales being terrible than it is that Nintendo has really high first party sales.

Mr. Fister:
Like shMerker pointed out above me, third party sales on Wii and DS collectively trump anything the HD systems.

Anyways, it is good that Iwata wants to build bridges with the third-parties, but Nintendo's not exactly the one at fault here. Much of the bad third-party relationships can be traced back to those companies' general inability to grasp the gaming industry at large instead of any limitations Nintendo might have set on them. Many of them are still putting all their major resources on the HD systems, leaving their third and fourth-string developing teams to put out low-budget titles on Wii in hopes of making a quick buck. Until they learn to target all markets of gaming equally (which would require a general change of mindset, and maybe firing/demoting certain individuals), it won't be very likely that they'll be able to "get" Nintendo's systems and thus build a solid relationship.

Woah, woah back that train up. How is Nintendo not have any fault here? Imo, Nintendo has been a company that has been walking to the rhythm of its own drum for so long it has forgotten the challenges 3rd party developers have to deal with. Nintendo is like a kid on a play ground who stays away from the rest of the kids makes up his own game and then comes back to the rest of the kids and asks them to play the game he made. And guess what the rest of the kids suck at it and Nintendo sits there and doesn't get why everyone else sucks at it. First you have the gamecube, piss poor 3rd party support, why? An incredibly odd controller (compared to the other controllers) which let's be honest doesn't really port well when the games are designed to have 4 buttons designed equally in a diamond, not a huge fat button, a tiny one and two hovering ones. And you have nintendo shelling out their own special disks. And Nintendo's complete lack of care for online support which carried/made the 6th gen of gaming consoles. If you were any developer why would you bother to deal with this nonsense? Hell even as a consumer, a lot of the games that were on all three systems back in the day, the gamecube ports often were bare-bones sad excuses of a port.
Then out rolls the Wii, suddenly Nintendo is playing a completely new game of motion controls, ye old standard controller is out the window. I'm sure there are a ton of developer's out there who were just scratching there heads for the longest time as to wtf to do with the damn motion controls. Where Nintendo has teams who solely work with motion controllers and are able to master it, third party developers are most likely forced to work with the options of either juggling making games for the Wii and dealing with the motion controls while trying to also make games for the other systems or just focus on either the Wii or the other systems. And let me be honest, if I was a developer it would probably be a far smaller risk to bank on being able to make a game and easily port it to PC, 360, PS3. You reach a far greater variety of people/crowd by shooting at 3 systems rather than a single one and having to deal with those hurdles. In addition as a developer I probably don't have the financial backing like Nintendo has from selling hardware, my sales rest entirely on the software, and if it bombs on the Wii you're completely down the drain.

Let me toss out another real world example that suffers from the same problem. 3D. Cameron's technology was amazing, people were blown away by the technology and it looks wonderful. But then everyone else tries to jump on the 3D bandwagon and it's dark, looks terrible and can even worsen a movie. Why? It's because Cameron did his own thing and these other companies are constantly playing catch up and they don't have the million dollar cameras/equipment that Cameron has/had. But then you roll up with Resident Evil Afterlife, amazingly the 3D looks great (sure people may or may not like the plot, but it looks fantastic in terms of 3D). And it looks this great because they were actually able to afford the same cameras/equipment and able to hire people who knew how to use the damn stuff.

This is most likely the case with many developers. They don't have the same tech/know-how and you just get subpar or crappy games. Hell there are even games out there that are just fine but the controls ruin the game.

Same with things like the DS and now the 3DS, it isn't until Nintendo helps these developers/ holds their hands through the tech that developers will be actually make anything of quality. Since the 64/ Gamecube Nintendo has run off and done its own thing and everyone else went to go play with Microsoft and Sony. To me there its no wonder why the Wii doesn't get great support from third party developers.

Gee maybe if they didn't make consoles and handhelds that required a shitty gimmick to get over with sloping browed morons and toddlers developers might want to actually put time into developing games. I'm sure having to develop for a second screen or for god awful motion controls makes developing games a real pain in the ass.

Hmm, I'll just put my comments in bold.

Rednog:

Mr. Fister:
Like shMerker pointed out above me, third party sales on Wii and DS collectively trump anything the HD systems.

Anyways, it is good that Iwata wants to build bridges with the third-parties, but Nintendo's not exactly the one at fault here. Much of the bad third-party relationships can be traced back to those companies' general inability to grasp the gaming industry at large instead of any limitations Nintendo might have set on them. Many of them are still putting all their major resources on the HD systems, leaving their third and fourth-string developing teams to put out low-budget titles on Wii in hopes of making a quick buck. Until they learn to target all markets of gaming equally (which would require a general change of mindset, and maybe firing/demoting certain individuals), it won't be very likely that they'll be able to "get" Nintendo's systems and thus build a solid relationship.

Woah, woah back that train up. How is Nintendo not have any fault here? Imo, Nintendo has been a company that has been walking to the rhythm of its own drum for so long it has forgotten the challenges 3rd party developers have to deal with. Nintendo is like a kid on a play ground who stays away from the rest of the kids makes up his own game and then comes back to the rest of the kids and asks them to play the game he made. And guess what the rest of the kids suck at it and Nintendo sits there and doesn't get why everyone else sucks at it. First you have the gamecube, piss poor 3rd party support, why? An incredibly odd controller (compared to the other controllers) which let's be honest doesn't really port well when the games are designed to have 4 buttons designed equally in a diamond, not a huge fat button, a tiny one and two hovering ones. And you have nintendo shelling out their own special disks. And Nintendo's complete lack of care for online support which carried/made the 6th gen of gaming consoles. If you were any developer why would you bother to deal with this nonsense? Hell even as a consumer, a lot of the games that were on all three systems back in the day, the gamecube ports often were bare-bones sad excuses of a port.

Using the Gamecube's button layout as an excuse for not porting games is far-fetched at best. Any half-decent developer could've worked around that since despite the face buttons being oddly-placed, the Gamecube controller wasn't very far off from the other controllers. If that's what really damaged them, then nobody would've made games for the original Xbox because its original controller was just plain clunky. The special disks argument is also faulty, since most games didn't go above 1.5 GB, and if they did then that could be rectified simply by putting the game on two separate discs (which is what some companies did). You might have a point that Gamecube might have been hurt by the lack of online, but that certainly wasn't what made the previous generation. I remember reading a statistic somewhere that said less than half of all Xbox owners ever used XboxLive, and I'd wager the PS2's online was used even less. Even so, the PS2 still managed to be the top-player despite Xbox having a better online system, so there's no way that's the only reason.

Then out rolls the Wii, suddenly Nintendo is playing a completely new game of motion controls, ye old standard controller is out the window. I'm sure there are a ton of developer's out there who were just scratching there heads for the longest time as to wtf to do with the damn motion controls. Where Nintendo has teams who solely work with motion controllers and are able to master it, third party developers are most likely forced to work with the options of either juggling making games for the Wii and dealing with the motion controls while trying to also make games for the other systems or just focus on either the Wii or the other systems.

"Ye old standard controller" was never fully out the window. The Wii still supported the Gamecube controller and Classic controller at launch so developers could've just used those if they absolutely needed to. Yeah, some developers have limited resources, but we're also seeing big-time publishers with plenty of developing teams and tools putting all their A-game efforts on the HD systems while leaving their lowest-tier developers to work on Wii games with limited budgets and short developing times (EA and Take-Two being key offenders). In other words, those teams have the smallest of chances to be able to make anything worthwhile, but even if the game flops, the publisher's not exactly going out of business because of it.

And let me be honest, if I was a developer it would probably be a far smaller risk to bank on being able to make a game and easily port it to PC, 360, PS3. You reach a far greater variety of people/crowd by shooting at 3 systems rather than a single one and having to deal with those hurdles. In addition as a developer I probably don't have the financial backing like Nintendo has from selling hardware, my sales rest entirely on the software, and if it bombs on the Wii you're completely down the drain.

The thing is it costs significantly less money to develop a game for Wii than it does to make a game for an HD system. This means that developers don't need to sell as many copies in order to pull a profit. Look at MadWorld and No More Heroes. Those games barely managed around 500,000 copies each, and yet both Platinum Games and Suda51 were very pleased with how they sold (Suda especially. Guy was ecstatic). If those games were made for the HD systems, it's very unlikely that either of them would've pulled in any profit or broke even. Also, that doesn't apply to a lot of the companies who still give little to no support for the Wii because, again, they certainly have the money, talent, and resources for it.

Let me toss out another real world example that suffers from the same problem. 3D. Cameron's technology was amazing, people were blown away by the technology and it looks wonderful. But then everyone else tries to jump on the 3D bandwagon and it's dark, looks terrible and can even worsen a movie. Why? It's because Cameron did his own thing and these other companies are constantly playing catch up and they don't have the million dollar cameras/equipment that Cameron has/had. But then you roll up with Resident Evil Afterlife, amazingly the 3D looks great (sure people may or may not like the plot, but it looks fantastic in terms of 3D). And it looks this great because they were actually able to afford the same cameras/equipment and able to hire people who knew how to use the damn stuff.

This is most likely the case with many developers. They don't have the same tech/know-how and you just get subpar or crappy games. Hell there are even games out there that are just fine but the controls ruin the game.

If you had brought this up back in 2007 or 2008, you might have had a point with developers not being experienced enough with the Wii's controls to make anything good. Unfortunately, it's nearly 4 years later, and we've seen more than enough games that make great use of the Wii's controls, even some from third-party devs. Yet we still get things like the upcoming Ghost Recon, which is a horribly watered-down rail shooter when we know damn well the Wii is capable of much more than that. This most likely stems from certain third-parties still being incredibly lazy with their Wii games and just not even trying. Granted, some are getting better (namely, Activision's approach with the upcoming Goldeneye remake), but there's just no excuse for some of these developers anymore to continue churning out the shoddy games that they do.

Same with things like the DS and now the 3DS, it isn't until Nintendo helps these developers/ holds their hands through the tech that developers will be actually make anything of quality. Since the 64/ Gamecube Nintendo has run off and done its own thing and everyone else went to go play with Microsoft and Sony. To me there its no wonder why the Wii doesn't get great support from third party developers.

Third-parties actually got their act together mostly by themselves for the DS. They were weak at first, but when they started buckling down and putting actual effort into making and selling their games, they were rewarded quite well. Nintendo didn't have to hold them by the hand to accomplish that. Since the 3DS is roughly the same in terms of input and design, it would make sense that it'd be much easier for third-parties to jump right on board with it. I'd actually argue that the N64 and Gamecube are examples of Nintendo trying to emulate Microsoft and Sony. Heck, Miyamoto himself said that he felt that they were trying too hard to be like the other companies with the Gamecube, and even then they were still getting shunned. It really isn't Nintendo's forging of their path that's causing this rift between them and third-parties but the third-parties' collective unwillingness to adapt to this new path, something that could potentially cause severe long-term damage to them.

Back with the old Gamecube, I ended up buying an xbox later on because the third party support was getting unbearable. Especially considering the games just seemed to drag as far as release. One Mario game (damn squirt gun...) and an extremely late Twilight Princess release wore my interest out. The Wii's third party support appears to be horrendous though, so Nintendo has to provide real quality to make the console worthwhile.

On the plus side though, at least Nintendo has great first party support, thus providing games that are original for a change. That's something that I would like to see more of from Sony and Microsoft (especially Microsoft...). It at least gives the consoles a unique spark.

Consider this, if nintendo's first party devs had an HD console to work with, a console to court third party devs, Nintendo would totally ROFLSTOMP Sony/MS in the games industry instead of just simply owning them :P

Xanthious:
I'm sure having to develop for a second screen or for god awful motion controls makes developing games a real pain in the ass.

Actually, probably not (at least in the case of the DS). I'll admit I'm not coder at all, but it doesn't seem like it would be that hard to use the second screen, especially given how many games just use it as an inventory screen of some sort (which I like, as it makes things more convenient). If your game doesn't need the second screen, then just use it as an inventory or map or something to make things more convenient for the player. If you have a reason to use the second screen (for example, The World Ends With You is a good example), then there's no issue with "having to develop for a second screen" as you were going to do that anyway!

As for the motion controls, as far as I know there's no actual requirement to use them when making a game. Lots of developers do, but you don't have to. The ones that rely on them extensively are the ones who were going to take advantage of them in the first place, so not really a problem there.

 

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