Nintendo’s upcoming console codenamed, ‘NX’ is shrouded in secrecy, and no-one really knows what the latest device will entail. There are various rumours stemmed from patents which suggest the product will be a hybrid mobile/home console unit and create a brand new experience. Unfortunately, Nintendo’s previous effort, the Wii U, fared quite badly due to poor marketing and a lack of third-party support.
The Wii U branding confused consumers and made them believe it was an accessory for the original Wii. Furthermore, the console’s lacklustre power and strange launch date before the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 alienated third-party developers. It didn’t take long for key publishers including Ubisoft to discount the system because of the small user-base and terrible sales. This has been a major problem in the past few generations for Nintendo, as they rely too much on first party titles. While their IPs are incredible, the company cannot ignore third-party support for a prolonged period.
Despite this, it appears Nintendo hasn’t learnt anything from their mistakes, and could struggle to entice third-party developers to support the platform according to The Ori and the Blind Forest director, Thomas Mahler:
“This is actually THE singlest most annoying thing for every dev out there. We also talked to Nintendo and got absolutely nothing – I’ll never understand that. And just to be clear, it’s not just Nintendo, every hardware manufacturer is treating their devkits and their unreleased consoles like they’re the second coming and are insanely secretive about it to a stupid degree in todays time. It’s not even that the hardware isn’t finished (duh), but you could at least give me the goddamn specs, so we’d know what to build s**t for!”
“What’s needed to sell hardware is goddamn good software. With Nintendo not having any devkits out there at this point and probably even wanting to sell it in 2016, I can already guarantee that they’ll just not have any software support, since nobody can just jumble games together in less than a year. I mean, you can, but it’ll be garbage.”
“The same is true for Engine Support – Get Unity and Epic to support these consoles WAAAAY ahead of release. By the time the console launches, it should be EASY for developers to develop games for these systems, things shouldn’t just only start at this point. I want the goddamn devkits or at least proper hardware specs ideally 2 years before release – Keep all the developers updated, start a forum where devs can chat and figure out all the problems everyone’s having, instead of everyone just having to deal with it. None of that’s happening anywhere and it’s just braindamaged.”
If this is the case, Nintendo really doesn’t understand the current market, and cannot rely on their first party games forever. There will be a point when dedicated Nintendo fans begrudge the lack of third-party games and need to purchase another console to access other titles. Clearly, this might not be true and an example of a developer venting frustrations online. However, it doesn’t look good, and raises questions about Nintendo’s management.