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Nyren's Corner: Nintendo Switch May Not Need Triple-A Third Parties

I realize that the article title may sound blasphemous, but I assure you I am not doing this on behalf of the Nintendo Defense Squad and I don’t think that you realize what this is actually about... or maybe you do because the header image should be a big hint. The title is really just an attention grabber.

One of the biggest developments in the gaming industry over the last several years is the rise of independent development teams. These teams have created many great games and brought them both to PC and home consoles. However, Steam is filled with just as much, if not more shovelware than any other platform and this shovelware prevents those true standout gems from getting the attention they should. And on home consoles, indie games are practically viewed like second-class citizens, often getting overshadowed by the latest AAA release in more ways than one. But what if there were a system where the threat of big AAA games was not present? What if there was a system in need of exclusive titles or a larger game output? Enter the Nintendo Switch.


It’s no big secret that Nintendo doesn’t have the greatest relationship with the big 3rd party publishers like EA and Ubisoft. Those companies support Nintendo systems at launch because of the respect they have for Nintendo, but that respect quickly turns into nothing either because system sales don’t pick up or there’s just something throwing off any of the games they could put on the platform. The Switch is a brand new concept, one that is not offered by its two competitors, but it is admittedly underpowered compared to the competition when viewed as the home console Nintendo markets it as and while it has more momentum leading up to launch than the Wii U ever did, third party support beyond this year is still not guaranteed, and I echo what many have said: If Nintendo wants a successful console, they need third party developers to support it. The fact is that while Nintendo has many great first party IP’s, they typically have trouble pumping out new, quality titles in short order. The Wii U had infamous game droughts where there would be nothing releasing for the system, not because of delays, but simply because all of the games were deep into development and not ready for release. So if third parties bail and don’t fill the gaps between Nintendo’s big titles, then sales will drop off because third parties do matter.

However, indie developers pledge allegiance to whomever they feel like, they release their games wherever it makes sense, even if the number of people who will buy the game is small. They enjoy making games and they follow their passions, meaning that, while millions in sales would be nice, it isn’t the be all, end all for them, especially since some of them are Kickstarter funded. If they released their games on the Nintendo Switch, exclusive or not, and those games were quality titles, they could easily become one of Nintendo’s big selling points and possibly net Nintendo exclusive titles that no other system, PC included, could boast. These indie games could fill the gaps between the big Nintendo titles and indies wouldn’t have to worry about third parties overshadowing them(If they pull out that is.).

Granted, a lot of people don’t view indie games very highly. As I mentioned before, they get viewed as second-class citizens a lot of the time. They’re the cheap diversions from the holy grails that are AAA games. People don’t regularly go looking for them unless they’ve grown bored with their bigger games. If third parties stay with Switch then the situation will not have changed from before, but if third parties do leave, the Switch could become a haven for budding independent developers and the system would sell from having this huge catalog of unique titles that could be taken and played anywhere you go. Games that many on PS4 would scoff at for not being high-end enough would look right at home on the Switch’s 6.2 inch touchscreen.

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