April 1st, 2020, 12:03 Posted By: wraggster
People buy Nintendo consoles because of Nintendo games. It's an old adage that is broadly true. If you're not interested in Nintendo's roster of famous characters and franchises, then there's very little reason to buy into its platforms.
That's not to say third-party games cannot perform on Nintendo machines. Indeed, we've seen some third-party successes from Bethesda, CD Projekt, Ubisoft and Activision on Switch over the last year, and I'm sure the upcoming slate of 2K releases will achieve decent results -- although I'm not convinced by the logic of releasing them all on the same day.
But generally third-party games are not the reason people buy Nintendo consoles. If you look back at the best-selling games across every single Nintendo platform, you have to go back to the Super Nintendo and Street Fighter II to find any third-party game in the top ten. Only Ubisoft's Just Dance has come close in the last 20 years.
The reliance on first-party creates a challenge for Nintendo when trying to generate momentum for its devices. Inevitably there will be times when its biggest studios simply don't have anything to show. In the first year of Switch, Nintendo launched four mainline titles based on its biggest selling IP -- Zelda, Mario Kart, Splatoon and Super Mario. That's some of its most acclaimed development teams done and finished and not likely to return for three or four years.
Wii U has given Nintendo a number of titles it can spruce up, update and re-release to fill gaps in the release schedule In that regard, Wii U has been Nintendo's secret weapon this generation. Wii U's commercial failure is well documented, but the games it released on the platform were far from disappointing. From the very moment the Switch launched, Nintendo had a slate of high quality HD games that comparatively few people had played. Three of the ten best-selling games on Switch -- Mario Kart 8, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and New Super Mario Bros U -- were all initially Wii U games.
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