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Amir0x
demodded, not denutted
(07-19-2013, 09:57 PM)
Amir0x's Avatar
I think we've all seen it before. The wholesale blaming of developers for not trying hard enough on Nintendo platforms. The blame adjustment from Nintendo to everyone else for not doing their job. How many times have you seen a variation of this post across the internet:

Here we go, another developer blaming Nintendo for not trying hard enough. You know, maybe if they made games as high quality as Nintendo their games would sell as well too! Shocking, I know.

I've probably come across such posts ten thousand times on GAF alone. But is it really a case of third parties not trying hard enough? If we can agree that, yes, of course there will always be exceptions to what I'm about to say, I feel the following is a good explanation for why we are where we are.

If you believe it's tl;dr, the short answer is Nintendo caused every single one of their own problems with third parties. Now they have a reputation for it and they have yet to show they're willing to change. They get the success they do on handhelds because they have basically a monopoly on sales, and if Wii U was the only console selling at all it too would get all the games.

_____________________________________

A HISTORY LESSON
_____________________________________

During the NES era, Nintendo leveraged its considerable power to put into place many actions that either hurt consumers or hurt developers.

Three notorious examples, which come from this fairly succinct and decently sourced write-up about the situation, states the following:

During the preceding generations, a video game programmer would simply purchase the equipment to construct games for a system from the system's parent company. The programmer was then was free to design any game without permission from the company. (A prime example of this was the video game based on the "Porky's" movies released by CBS for the Atari VCS/2600.) Yamauchi did not like this freedom given to the designers. So he had his engineers create a chip that would lock out the instruction code from any cartridge, unless that cartridge contained another chip, called a "key-chip." This "key-chip" had a certain disabling code. The disabling code was then patented by Nintendo and copyrighted.4 The result was that it became illegal to reproduce the code, without Nintendo's consent. Nintendo then made specific contracts that companies must agree to abide by in order to receive permission to reproduce the "key-chip." This gave Nintendo complete control over its third party licensees, and they used that control to propel the Nintendo Entertainment System farther. Specific deals were made which prevented these companies from producing games for any competing home system. Because of Nintendo's considerable market share, few companies argued with this policy. The result was that many competing systems were driven to extinction because of a severe lack of games. Companies like Atari and Sega could not hope to compete with a system with over 100 new games each year, when they could only produce a dozen or so annually without the help of third party licensees. This propelled Nintendo's domination of the market further.

Another example about how consumers might have been dragged into their negative net:

Nintendo began orchestrating game shortages sometime in 1988. This was called "inventory management" by Peter Main, an executive in charge of public relations at Nintendo, but was really to keep the customers on a short leash. By limiting the amount of product available, Nintendo could keep the demand for the product high. The editor of one toy-industry journal noted that "Nintendo has become a name like Disney or McDonald's. They've done it by doling out games like Godiva chocolates." By design, Nintendo would not fill all of the retailers' orders and kept half or more of its library of games inactive and unavailable. In 1988, for instance, 33 million NES cartridges were sold, but market surveys indicated that upwards of 45 million could have been sold. That year retailers requested 110 million cartridges, almost 2.5 times the indicated demand. These practices would greatly benefit Nintendo, but drive many smaller software firms out of business. Certain titles would be produced, then sold very slowly over the span of a year, and the profits would not come in fast enough to keep these small companies afloat. The toy and electronics as well as department stores became dependent on Nintendo, in addition to most game producers. This gave Nintendo a great deal of clout in dealing with companies who were used to throwing their muscle around.

This, obviously, also could hurt developers.

In the electronics and computer industry, you can expect equipment to reduce in price over time. When new devices are created that make older ones obsolete, the older devices are reduced in price to compete with the newer ones. This is clearly evident if one simply peruses the want-ads in their local paper and notes the prices of computer systems that were considered state of the art a year previous. This logic applies to all aspects of the computer and electronics industry, including video games. Why then between 1985 and 1989 did the Nintendo Entertainment System only lower $10 in its price?

This was exactly what Attorney Generals from all fifty states were wondering when they began investigating the activities of Nintendo of America in 1989. They found that Nintendo had been fixing the price of systems and games in the stores, using intimidation to influence retailers to abide by their wishes, and were making astronomical profits. Nintendo had been doing this since they first brought out the NES in 1985. They had strived to construct the system inexpensively, however, it was being sold at the same price as the competing systems. An antitrust action was brought up against Nintendo by these same Attorney Generals, and on October 17, 1991, District Court Judge Sweet granted approval of settlement agreements.

As we can see, in the aftermath of the NES, Nintendo already developed a reputation from strong arming developers and forcing them to make decisions not in their best interest. They also had no qualms hurting consumers, but unfortunately consumers weren't as plugged in at the time and generally didn't know the shit Nintendo was pulling. But developers did, and they carried that with them.

Here is another source that touches on some things here.

_____________________________________

ENTER THE FUTURE
_____________________________________

After the SNES and Genesis battled it out to the death, a new player was about to enter the arena. This was the PlayStation. Immediately, Sony was set to disrupt the industry by implementing a low-level media set top ideal; plays music CDs, plays games on CD. They would continue to ever after slowly implement cutting edge technology that allowed them to leverage the media set top ideal... DVDs for PS2, Blu-Rays for PS3.

Why is this important?

Well, it leads to the next of the reasons Nintendo received the reputation for being bad for third parties.

Nintendo decided to make an N64 that only utilized cartridges. The size of the cartridges ranged from 32 MBit to 512MBit, which put them immediately in stark contrast to where the industry was moving for their games. On CDs, developers had around 700mb to play around with, amongst other advantages. They lost on loading speed, of course, but consumers and developers alike were willing to take that sacrifice to advance gaming in far more substantive ways. When Sony had that legendary ad with FFVII making fun of the lack of space on cartridges, it was a wrap. The idea had settled in and the market chose for Nintendo.


Our very own mrklaw expanded on this point:

I was working for a games company doing a PS1 and N64 game and the differences were stark.

Lead times from Sony DADC were tiny, you could order a small amount of stock knowing you could request more with maybe one week turnaround, so your inventory risk was low. And minimum orders were really small. Plus the cost of production was also low (think it was around $10 per disc including printed manual and case, delivered to your warehouse).

Nintendo by contrast on N64 had large minimum orders, expensive costs to produce the carts depending on memory size, whether you had battery backup ram for saves etc, and the lead times were horrendous - 6 weeks or so. So you had to hedge your bets right from the start. If you ordered low you'd have retailers with no stock and by the time you could replenish the opportunity would have passed. Overstock and you risk being left with piles of unsellable cartridges which you've taken the hit for. You could wipe out profits instantly with a tiny mistake in sales predictions.

From this point on, Nintendo would always find a way to isolate itself from the rest of the gaming community. They would always create their stable of groundbreaking game experiences which everyone talked about, but there was also always a tacit acknowledgement that in some way Nintendo simply wasn't tuned in to the needs of the market.

_____________________________________

THE DOLDRUM DAYS
_____________________________________

After this, Nintendo still seemingly didn't understand that it needed to be tapped into the latest industry trends. Nintendo, always just a little behind the rest of the pack when it comes to technology, missed out on how the market was going to shift with DVDs.

Instead, they went with a a proprietary disc set up that only allowed 1.5GB, immediately putting them once again significantly behind not only market trends, but in allowing the ability for third parties to function in an uninhibited manner. Compounding this issue was the fact that Nintendo released a year late, couldn't play MOVIE DVDs (something that was starting to become very important by the time GCN released) and they were entering into the market against a system which had already contributed to the demise of Dreamcast, already dominated the talk about technical power (thus contributing to the illusion that somehow GCN was behind there too) and had to contend with image issues with the "lunchbox design" that really didn't play well with some audiences to the point where it became a running joke.

None of these issues existed in isolation, but they formed yet another image of Nintendo out of touch with the times. Not only that, they created a platform which once again had limitations which the developer would have had to work around (the size limitation of the discs), and the fact that it wasn't selling particularly well only served to enhance this problem. Once again, as we can see, Nintendo create an environment which made it impossible for third parties to exist without problems.

_____________________________________

THE COMEBACK KID
_____________________________________

Now we come to the big one. In the simplest of ideas, Nintendo decided to leverage its outsider status by coming up with a now famous blue ocean strategy which involved - in much the same way Sony did with CD and DVDs - disrupting the industry. But they decided to do it at a much more fundamental level.

With the motion control tech of the Wii, the industry was set afire by the reaction consumers had. Not only that, but the games would function on DVDs which, for most of the gen, was really all that most games needed. So why didn't this change third parties perspectives toward Nintendo?

Now let's consider for a moment what I've already articulated at length. Third party developers already had a bad history with Nintendo, and were hesitant to just jump back on board. But there is a far more important thing that happened.

Because Nintendo may not have limited their system by the size of the storage space or the size of the install base, but it limited the system by the extremely limited power the system had relative to the Xbox 360 and PS3. This immediately caused the problem of making the system near impossible to release competent ports for. Not only that, Nintendo was woefully behind on yet another of the industries latest trends, online integration. Sony was as well compared to Microsoft, but they had the pieces in place to make it something worthwhile. Nintendo simply did not.

So what happened here? Well, developers initially started their investments thinking the PS3 was going to be the industry leader, and after the price reveal they didn't change their strategy. Why? Because they realized that even if PS3 wasn't the market leader, it is smarter to release games that can be PS3+360+PC than just the Wii alone. The Wii put itself in a position where not only were the ports it could potentially receive extremely difficult to make comparatively (everything from the basics of an engine would have to be completely redesigned to critical online features being stripped out because of the horrendous online infrastructure), but most games would have to be made for Wii alone in mind if they were to really take advantage of the systems Wiimote technology and thus be competitive.

The result is what we saw. The Wii, one of the most successful systems of all time, had middling developer support that started out OK and eventually drained to AWFUL. And who caused this? I think we can safely say it was Nintendo.

_____________________________________

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THINGS STAY THE SAME
_____________________________________

Nintendo by this point realized that their blue ocean strategy was a winning position, and wanted to find something that was similarly disruptive to the market. What they settled on, ultimately, was a Gamepad which essentially turned the console into a DS in terms of potential application in games but also allowed key features like asymmetrical gameplay and OffTV play.

Unfortunately, this is where things took a turn for them. For they settled on a technology that, as we can now see, is simply not enough to draw people to the platform on its own. So much so that the Wii U is currently selling at levels that are comparable to the worst any major platform has ever done.

But that's not all. Once again, Nintendo decided to utilize tech that is an entire generation behind its [about to be released] competitors, forcing once more for developers to have to choose between focusing on making games that'll largely work for the lowest common denominator of a single platform, or focus on really pushing the PS4-XboxOne-PC port environment. As we saw with the last gen, they decided to do the ladder, thus instantly putting the Wii U in a terrible situation. But did they make this happen, or did Nintendo?

Frostbite Technical Director on Why Frostbite never came to Wii U
Nintendo's comically awful virtual console Wii U release list
Wii U hacked (this is bad or good depending on which side you're on)
Madden 25 not coming to Wii U (one of the biggest franchises on Earth)
Battlefield 4 Skipping Wii U
Problems with Wii U OS/firmware updates
Iwata discussing what is wrong with the Wii U including 'game delays, understaffing, etc'
A topic discussing the completely empty Japanese Wii U release schedule
A topic where Nintendo themselves discusses Wii U's complete lack of momentum and other problems
Deep Silver: No Wii U titles from us (Saints Row/Dead Island/etc)
CNet: Nintendo's Big Problem
The Wii U won't be getting Unreal Engine 4
Here is a thread showing video evidence of the inhumanely atrocious Wii U OS and its loading speeds (this is finally being worked on, thankfully though)
February 2013 NPD
January 2013 NPD
March 2013 NPD

Reading through the links carefully can give you the impression of how messed up things are for Nintendo right now. And it's all because of decisions they made.

They decided to sell the system with a prohibitively expensive Gamepad that forces them to sell every system at a slight loss, thus making hasty price drops extremely difficult strategically
They decided not to go into this gen prepared, thus causing massive delays in the release of what would have been pivotal Nintendo properties and causing the install base to all but stall completely
They decided to release a platform that is once again woefully behind its competitors, making ports more financially and developmentally complicated

_____________________________________

DISCUSSION
_____________________________________

The list goes on and on. But the point I am making is that... yes, third parties do not support Nintendo platforms well. But it is Nintendo's fault, and it remains Nintendo's fault, and it has always been Nintendo's fault.

But... maybe my ideas are wrong. That's why this discussion topic exists. I believe fully to have laid out in stark detail the precise reasons that led to the current market and development conditions for Nintendo, but I specifically want to hear from those who have blamed third party developers for not trying enough to see if this changes any minds.
Last edited by Amir0x; 07-19-2013 at 11:11 PM.
apana
Member
(07-19-2013, 10:02 PM)
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I think there is plenty of blame to go around, everyone likes to take the path of least resistance. Personally I don't care too much at this point, I think Nintendo should expand first party and try to do more third party partnerships.
fart town usa
Member
(07-19-2013, 10:07 PM)
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Nintendo brings their problems on themselves. This has been clear as day since the N64.

Edit-

Great OP BTW.
Amir0x
demodded, not denutted
(07-19-2013, 10:07 PM)
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Originally Posted by apana

I think there is plenty of blame to go around, everyone likes to take the path of least resistance. Personally I don't care too much at this point, I think Nintendo should expand first party and try to do more third party partnerships.

But is it "taking the path of least resistance" - which implies some sort of laziness - or simply financial realities which dictate any business?
GloveSlap
Member
(07-19-2013, 10:07 PM)
It is a shame, but its hard to feel bad for them. They made their bed and continue to make it. I felt bad for the Dreamcast, because Sega actually put forth their best effort.

I used to love Nintendo and I want to love them again, but they have to actually bring it for a change.
Sponge
Member
(07-19-2013, 10:09 PM)
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That was a very enjoyable read. It's slowly became clear to me that Nintendo either doesn't care about having third parties or just doesn't know how to keep them. I think they know as long as they have their first party support, and people continue to enjoy that, then they are safe.
daxgame
Member
(07-19-2013, 10:09 PM)
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They sure are to blame, but I always found the cartridge and mini-DVD thing to be absolutely ridiculous. They had every single right to protect from piracy and cartridge's loading times were better too. So that had nothing to do with developers, and if it had, meh, I can't blame Nintendo there.
Taichu
Member
(07-19-2013, 10:10 PM)
I think third party developers have a tougher time competing with Nintendo-developed games... A Mario platformer is going to outsell a third-party platforming game. Sometimes it is better for them to pick up gamers who have a Playstation or Xbox and not a Wii.
Amir0x
demodded, not denutted
(07-19-2013, 10:13 PM)
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Originally Posted by daxgame

They sure are to blame, but I always found the cartridge and mini-DVD thing to be absolutely ridiculous. They had every single right to protect from piracy and cartridge's loading times were better too. So that had nothing to do with developers, and if it had, meh, I can't blame Nintendo there.

Whether they had a "right" is clearly beyond any point I'm making. Of course they have a right. And the development community and the gaming market has a right to respond that they were wrong.

If you create a system which has limitations the others don't have, and most of the community is moving in that direction, then you'll stand out, all alone, having to hold your dick wondering where everyone went.

Whether you personally agree that the loading times and "piracy protection" was worth the sacrifices Nintendo made with the development community and with consumers is clearly besides the point.

Originally Posted by Taichu

I think third party developers have a tougher time competing with Nintendo-developed games... A Mario platformer is going to outsell a third-party platforming game. Sometimes it is better for them to pick up gamers who have a Playstation or Xbox and not a Wii.

:/ I... I think I addressed exactly this type of comment in my opening post ;)
Shadow Hog
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(07-19-2013, 10:15 PM)
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Originally Posted by Amir0x

But is it "taking the path of least resistance" - which implies some sort of laziness - or simply financial realities which dictate any business?

I don't think there's too much distinction here. Finance is tight right now, so companies are taking the path of least financial resistance, and greatest financial gain.
Vashetti
Member
(07-19-2013, 10:15 PM)
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It feels as though they thought they never had to make another home console after the Wii.

It genuinely feels as though they heard rumours of PS4/Xbox One on the horizon and thought "oh shit, we have to release a new console!"

I am perplexed as to why they didn't invest in HD development earlier. All of their development teams are now going through the HD growing pains that all the other developers and studios went through over EIGHT years ago.

The issue with third-parties they brought upon themselves. People buy Nintendo consoles for Nintendo games, and Nintendo themselves obviously know that. There's little support for other developers so they go elsewhere where they know their games will actually turn a profit.
JordanN
Junior Member
(07-19-2013, 10:15 PM)
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What mostly makes it Nintendo's fault is the fact they never stop alienating third parties.

The dilemma could have been over with the Gamecube but they still let pride get ahead of them. I can't think of any other company who would do that.

The day Nintendo makes a console that doesn't have any BS tied to it is when they should rightfully expect to be supported. A shame that would only happen if every senior management was fired.
Amir0x
demodded, not denutted
(07-19-2013, 10:16 PM)
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Originally Posted by Shadow Hog

I don't think there's too much distinction here. Finance is tight right now, so companies are taking the path of least financial resistance, and greatest financial gain.

Right, but having to do something because otherwise it literally doesn't make financial sense is not the same as deciding not to do something because, say, you just don't want to put in the time or effort.

Developers and publishers are doing what they feel is most financially sound. And expecting any business to operate differently would be at best fairly bizarre.
Snowden's Secret
Banned
(07-19-2013, 10:19 PM)
That's a lot of text to prove that Nintendo is to blame for third party relations, which is true, but it doesn't disprove that third parties are to blame for their poor sales on Nintendo hardware, which is also generally true.
StevieP
Member
(07-19-2013, 10:20 PM)

Originally Posted by Amir0x

Developers and publishers are doing what they feel is most financially sound.

Unfortunately, I've seen dozens of examples of the exact opposite of this statement. Though I guess you did preface it with "what they feel"
cloudyy
Member
(07-19-2013, 10:20 PM)
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Originally Posted by daxgame

They sure are to blame, but I always found the cartridge and mini-DVD thing to be absolutely ridiculous. They had every single right to protect from piracy and cartridge's loading times were better too. So that had nothing to do with developers, and if it had, meh, I can't blame Nintendo there.

Yeah, I never got the data size argument, especially the mini-DVD, why would it be true for Nintendo but didn't happen with the 360's dvd vs PS3 blu-ray?

The way I see it, most publishers just don't care anymore/never cared about Nintendo systems the same way most Japanese publishers never cared about the PC market. They probably all have their reasons, be it financial, technical, motivational or whatever.

Originally Posted by JordanN

The day Nintendo makes a console that doesn't have any BS tied to it is when they should rightfully expect to be supported. A shame that would only happen if every senior management was fired.

Yes, that's probably the reason for no 3rd parties since the N64. smh
Last edited by cloudyy; 07-19-2013 at 10:26 PM.
gngf123
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(07-19-2013, 10:27 PM)
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As a "how we got here", this is a very good read. Yamauchi-era Nintendo made a lot of decisions that third party developers really didn't like. I personally feel this is still a surprisingly large part of why there is still this problem today. John Carmack for example has detailed some of the problems he had with them, and I believe has said that it put him off developing anything for them for a while, although now he seems to have mostly gotten over that.

Things should be improving now, Nintendo really do seem to have tried to make themselves friendlier to third parties. Yet, the only real change we are seeing is from indie developers. WiiU third party support was going south real fast, long before the thing even launched (and therefore long before "no sales" ever became a relevant counterpoint). EA being the most notable example of this.

No, I do not believe it is a power issue, and I don't believe it was the case with the Wii either. Instead, I believe third parties are mostly targeting a target market that Wii/WiiU owners do not match up all that much with. The "hardcore" crowd will be heading towards consoles where games like CoD or Battlefield sell significantly more, and those consoles are also where third parties target.

Note, when that isn't an issue, sometimes you see it going the other way around. Monster Hunter Tri became a Wii game because a PS3 version of the game would have cost significantly more money.
Visualante2
Member
(07-19-2013, 10:29 PM)
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I have to wonder if in this increasingly digitial world if Nintendo is still artificially creating shortages as seen on high profile portable launches.

It's interesting that Mattel distributed the NES (and SNES?) in Europe where Sega was more dominant. I wonder if any of the same competitive practices were in place.

I do think you're a little harsh on the Wii third party output. A fair amount of people did make good cash on the Wii, I remember one executive basically saying the cheap Wii shovelware (Carnival Games, Deca Sports etc) was subsidising high budget PS360 releases that under performed.
Rockandrollclown
lookwhatyou'vedone
(07-19-2013, 10:29 PM)

Originally Posted by JordanN

What mostly makes it Nintendo's fault is the fact they never stop alienating third parties.

The dilemma could have been over with the Gamecube but they still let pride get ahead of them. I can't think of any other company who would do that.

I'm not entirely convinced Nintendo buys into the urgency of third party support. Their first party games sell so incredibly well on their home consoles that they seem to be ok with that. As consumers we shouldn't be ok with it, but as long as people excuse Nintendo with "I buy Nintendo consoles for Nintendo games" it will never get better. I maintain a true Nintendo fan would hold Nintendo's feet to the fire. I like Nintendo games, it'd be nice if I didn't have to have two consoles to get Nintendo games and third party offerings.
JordanN
Junior Member
(07-19-2013, 10:29 PM)
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Originally Posted by cloudyy


Yes, that's probably the reason for no 3rd parties since the N64. smh

So you want to pretend every Nintendo console is perfect?


Originally Posted by Rockandrollclown

I'm not entirely convinced Nintendo buys into the urgency of third party support. Their first party games sell so incredibly well on their home consoles that they seem to be ok with that. As consumers we shouldn't be ok with it, but as long as people excuse Nintendo with "I buy Nintendo consoles for Nintendo games" it will never get better. I maintain a true Nintendo fan would hold Nintendo's feet to the fire. I like Nintendo games, it'd be nice if I didn't have to have two consoles to get Nintendo games and third party offerings.

Maybe not publicly, but behind the scenes they should.

The N64 fell from the sky like a shot bird when third party support looked superior elsewhere and they were only going downhill from there. Just selling Nintendo games will doom them to becoming niche.
Last edited by JordanN; 07-19-2013 at 10:33 PM.
dcx4610
Member
(07-19-2013, 10:31 PM)
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It baffles me how Nintendo can be so innovative but so behind the times at the same time.

It seems if it's something they didn't invent/innovate, they shy away with it.

D-Pad, shoulder triggers, 4 button face layout, analog stick, rumble, and motion control are all things Nintendo made standard and are now on every system made.

Meanwhile, they reject genuine advances in technology or features people want. Removing A/V in favor of RF on the NES, moving from cartridge to discs, playing movies, saying HD was too early to adopt, saying online play was too early to adopt and for the past two generations, acting like hardware and power doesn't matter.

It's so frustrating to try to support Nintendo. They are a paradox.
ViewtifulJC
shots fired? we run!
(07-19-2013, 10:33 PM)
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Originally Posted by JordanN

So you want to pretend every Nintendo console is perfect?

and MS/Sony consoles are perfect?
Metal B
Member
(07-19-2013, 10:34 PM)
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I don't get, the bad repetition Nintendo gets in the NES-Era in hindsight. The console-Industry was a mess at the time as Nintendo entered the market. The infamous videogame-crash happened and Nintendo had to trick stores, that they would sell the NES at all (that's why the NES looked so different from the Famicom). The console-industry had no other to blame then them self, since it was an chaotic wild-west market at this era. Everyone was dumping games like crazy without any filter for the consumer with a much more interesting PC-marketing evolving. So they stopped buying consoles. Nintendo brought order to the market, which of course hurt many developers and brought unwanted restriction. Yes, Nintendo went overboard with it, but the industry needed this kind of stability at this time.

But at some time Nintendo wasn't needed anymore and, it is right, that the company didn't get the hint in time to change as well. But i like there willingness to be different and not following trends.
Last edited by Metal B; 07-19-2013 at 10:37 PM.
JordanN
Junior Member
(07-19-2013, 10:35 PM)
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Originally Posted by ViewtifulJC

and MS/Sony consoles are perfect?

Compared to Nintendo, they always made consoles free of critical restrictions/barriers.

They were not behind on the CD's/DVD's, they do not have a severely outdated online model, their controllers are not unorthodox, their hardware was never underpowered and people actually buy third party games.

I'm not sure how anyone on this site can say truthfully, Nintendo is on the same level. Although I'm willing to listen if you can provide for me right now, why every Nintendo console starting from the N64 are sooooooo much better than the competition for third parties to do business with. Go.
Last edited by JordanN; 07-19-2013 at 10:40 PM.
mrklaw
MrArseFace
(07-19-2013, 10:37 PM)
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didn't they control release slots for publishers too? so you could only release a certain number of games per year, even if you could produce more?

When Playstation and CD came along it really showed up how crazy carts were, both from a price and inventory management perspective. I was working for a games company doing a PS1 and N64 game and the differences were stark.

Lead times from Sony DADC were tiny, you could order a small amount of stock knowing you could request more with maybe one week turnaround, so your inventory risk was low. And minimum orders were really small. Plus the cost of production was also low (think it was around $10 per disc including printed manual and case, delivered to your warehouse).

Nintendo by contrast on N64 had large minimum orders, expensive costs to produce the carts depending on memory size, whether you had battery backup ram for saves etc, and the lead times were horrendous - 6 weeks or so. So you had to hedge your bets right from the start. If you ordered low you'd have retailers with no stock and by the time you could replenish the opportunity would have passed. Overstock and you risk being left with piles of unsellable cartridges which you've taken the hit for. You could wipe out profits instantly with a tiny mistake in sales predictions.
JordanLMiller
Member
(07-19-2013, 10:38 PM)
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Lol no. Nintendo is somewhat responsible, but third parties have been doing themselves no favors either.
daxgame
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(07-19-2013, 10:39 PM)
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Originally Posted by Amir0x

Whether they had a "right" is clearly beyond any point I'm making. Of course they have a right. And the development community and the gaming market has a right to respond that they were wrong.

If you create a system which has limitations the others don't have, and most of the community is moving in that direction, then you'll stand out, all alone, having to hold your dick wondering where everyone went.

Whether you personally agree that the loading times and "piracy protection" was worth the sacrifices Nintendo made with the development community and with consumers is clearly besides the point.

That's a silly argument. The gaming market did not respond to "cartridges" nor "mini dvds" ;). They weren't seriously a problem for the consumers. (relatively bad) Sales had nothing to do with that, just like Wii proved by using his own, smaller, DVDs.
Besides, they don't look like a considerable limitation to me for developers.
gngf123
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(07-19-2013, 10:39 PM)
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Originally Posted by mrklaw

didn't they control release slots for publishers too? so you could only release a certain number of games per year, even if you could produce more?

Correct. I believe the restriction was 5 games per year, and an order of at least 10,000 cartridges.

IIRC Third parties ended up getting around this by creating tens of subsidiary studios, with each one applying for their own license.
EloquentM
aka Mannny
(07-19-2013, 10:39 PM)
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They're arrogant and stubborn. they've pretty much always been this way. This is why I always chuckle when people say that Nintendo doesn't know what they're doing. Unfortunately they know exactly what they're doing and for gamers it's wrong.
Mr.Awesome
Banned
(07-19-2013, 10:42 PM)
here's the simple, correct version: Nintendo is by far the most prolific and greatest publisher of all time in the industry. Others cannot compete with them on a long term basis. If given the choice between Nintendo games and other games, Nintendo games will win out. Consumers vote with their wallet and Nintendo becomes a victim of their own success.
cloudyy
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(07-19-2013, 10:42 PM)
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Originally Posted by JordanN

So you want to pretend every Nintendo console is perfect?

I wouldn't pretend any console to be perfect. PS3's slow Blu-ray that requires game installs, 360's RRoD and it's giant AC adapter, Wii's retarded account system. They all have their problems but none of those matter in the context of this thread imo.
mrklaw
MrArseFace
(07-19-2013, 10:43 PM)
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Originally Posted by Mr.Awesome

here's the simple, correct version: Nintendo is by far the most prolific and greatest publisher of all time in the industry. Others cannot compete with them on a long term basis. If given the choice between Nintendo games and other games, Nintendo games will win out.

That might be a reason why they haven't gone entirely bankrupt, but it isn't answering the OP's point
Tripon
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(07-19-2013, 10:44 PM)
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Originally Posted by JordanN

Compared to Nintendo, they always made consoles free of critical restrictions/barriers.

They were not behind on the CD's/DVD's, they do not have a severely outdated online model, their controllers are not unorthodox, their hardware was never underpowered and people actually buy third party games.

I'm not sure how anyone on this site can say truthfully, Nintendo is on the same level. Although I'm willing to listen if you can provide for me right now, why every Nintendo console starting from the N64 are sooooooo much better than the competition. Go.

Really? Sony and MS never made consoles with restrictions or barriers?

Sony is the same company that said no to importing 2D sprite games for America on the PS2, and MS's current Indie's restrictions cuts out a potentially significant revenue stream.

The very nature of the PS3 architecture shows that at least at one time, Sony thought they could force 3rd party developers to follow to their schedule and their schedule only.

I won't even get into MS's initial XBox One's DRM.
mantidor
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(07-19-2013, 10:44 PM)
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The biggest irony is that the Nintendo that had the biggest third party support (SNES) was also the most ruthless and awful in its third party treatment. I don't think it's as simple as "Nintendo brought it on themselves" specially when they keep improving and improving. They are funding Bayonneta 2 for Christ sake.
ebullientprism
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(07-19-2013, 10:44 PM)
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Originally Posted by Taichu

I think third party developers have a tougher time competing with Nintendo-developed games... A Mario platformer is going to outsell a third-party platforming game. Sometimes it is better for them to pick up gamers who have a Playstation or Xbox and not a Wii.

I really dont understand this thought process. The same third party developers dont seem to a problem releasing shooters when they are competing with CoD on the PS360.
Casual
Banned
(07-19-2013, 10:46 PM)

Originally Posted by Mr.Awesome

here's the simple, correct version: Nintendo is by far the most prolific and greatest publisher of all time in the industry. Others cannot compete with them on a long term basis. If given the choice between Nintendo games and other games, Nintendo games will win out. Consumers vote with their wallet and Nintendo becomes a victim of their own success.

Maybe pre-2000. Plenty of teams have them beat in both quality and quantity since then.
Neff
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(07-19-2013, 10:47 PM)
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They haven't been the same ultra-aggressive Draconian shitheads they were in the '90s since the '90s. It seems corporate feels die hard.
Sponge
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(07-19-2013, 10:48 PM)
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Originally Posted by Casual

Maybe pre-2000. Plenty of teams have them beat in both quality and quantity since then.

Absolutely.

If it wasn't for Nintendo keeping Sakurai by the throat to work on Smash, and Retro working on Tropical Freeze, I still would not have any interest in the Wii U.
botty
Disney Infinity is the greatest, most successful game ever made. I LOVE DISNEY INFINITY.
(07-19-2013, 10:48 PM)
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The list goes on and on. But the point I am making is that... yes, third parties do not support Nintendo platforms well. But it is Nintendo's fault, and it remains Nintendo's fault, and it has always been Nintendo's fault.

I guess you can say this. Nintendo has marketed its brand as family friendly, and so the general public will always associate Nintendo with "kiddie," for lack of a better word. On the other hand, the other two consoles have a more adult image, and that works perfectly with the triple A titles third-party games that are all hyper violent and selling by the millions. This is most likely why Sony's and Microsoft's efforts into the kid-friendly zone will never rival Nintendo's, and vice versa for the adult friendly zone. The sales don't lie on this end. Though I do believe you get some occasional anomalies, like that Golden Eye Wii game, but then people probably bought that based on nostalgia.
onipex
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(07-19-2013, 10:49 PM)
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Originally Posted by Amir0x

Nintendo by this point realized that their blue ocean strategy was a winning position, and wanted to find something that was similarly disruptive to the market.

Wii U stratergy isn't Blue Ocean. Blue Ocean is selling to a group that outside of your core market. Wii U is targeting the core market first, which is Red Ocean. There hasn't been any push to tagert a non core gamer audience yet. They are sticking with the same thing they did with the 3DS and getting the same results they got with the 3DS launch and aftermath.

Originally Posted by Iwata

Therefore, in promoting the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U, we have announced that we would like “width” and “depth” to coexist. With the Nintendo DS and the Wii, the approach of “width” was well accepted by many people; however, what we did in terms of “depth” was not satisfactory for some consumers. This time, we would like consumers to be satisfied in both aspects. In order to do so, we started to work on the “depth” aspect first, and the current and existing software you can see for the Nintendo 3DS is based on that idea. In the future, the approach will evolve. By exploring the development both from width and depth standpoints, it is our intention to satisfy a wider audience with one gaming platform. Our approach for the Wii U is basically the same. By doing so continuously, we are expecting that the number of game users per household will increase and as the gaming population increases, we believe we can create a sustainable video game market. We would like to materialize what I have said for both the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U in the future.

Snowden's Secret
Banned
(07-19-2013, 10:49 PM)

Originally Posted by Amir0x

Because Nintendo may not have limited their system by the size of the storage space or the size of the install base, but it limited the system by the extremely limited power the system had relative to the Xbox 360 and PS3. This immediately caused the problem of making the system near impossible to release competent ports for. Not only that, Nintendo was woefully behind on yet another of the industries latest trends, online integration. Sony was as well compared to Microsoft, but they had the pieces in place to make it something worthwhile. Nintendo simply did not.

I also see this point up a lot, but I'm not sure it holds water.

It may explain why Wii didn't get ports of 360/PS3 games, but why didn't it get quality, core oriented PS2 era ports? Those proved right out the gate that there was a strong demand for that sort of software (Twilight Princess, Resident Evil 4). Why didn't more of those ever materialize?

Why didn't more PS2 era original games appear? The risk was far less; development costs were much lower and the audience much larger.

Why didn't Wii get PSP games?

If hardware not being up to the competition in terms of horsepower was an issue, why did the DS have so much third party support? Third parties hadn't developed PS1/N64 level games in years. Where was the Final Fantasy III-level effort from a third party on Wii?

Why is there so much quality 3DS software from third parties, if they packed up the PS2 tech prior to the Wii?
StevieP
Member
(07-19-2013, 10:49 PM)

Originally Posted by Casual

Maybe pre-2000. Plenty of teams have them beat in both quality and quantity since then.

They're currently the 4th biggest publisher in the world (below activision and a couple others, someone feel free to post that chart - don't have it readily available). That's with a focus on 2 platforms, rather than a dozen like the big 4. Despite their current market dud, they're doing something right.
JordanN
Junior Member
(07-19-2013, 10:49 PM)
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Originally Posted by cloudyy

I wouldn't pretend any console to be perfect. PS3's slow Blu-ray that requires game installs, 360's RRoD and it's giant AC adapter, Wii's retarded account system. They all have their problems but none of those matter in the context of this thread imo.

This thread concerns Nintendo's third party support. It's a proven fact certain flaws have proved detrimental to how they receive support.

How you can say that's an opinion seems foreign to me.

Originally Posted by Tripon

Really? Sony and MS never made consoles with restrictions or barriers?

Restrictions that block out third party support from happening in the same vein as Nintendo? Because that's the only message I'm sending.

In truth, no one should have a console full of stupid restrictions. However, expecting to be supported while enforcing those restrictions is what creates problems of third parties running away.
Last edited by JordanN; 07-19-2013 at 10:54 PM.
Eteric Rice
Junior Member
(07-19-2013, 10:51 PM)
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I think one thing they need to do is make some first party games in some genres they don't have a presence in yet. A first or third person shooter that would attract people who like those types of games, for instance.
MasterBalls
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(07-19-2013, 10:51 PM)
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It's an unsolvable problem, or so it has seemed to be. Whether it's lack of tech, lack of the proper audience, or lack of Nintendo's co-operation, there's always some sort of problem.
Zombie James
(07-19-2013, 10:52 PM)
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Very good OP that hits on the major points.

Much like Sony, I think what Nintendo needs now more than anything is a serious culture change. Looking back, Nintendo's console victories only seem to come when they catch lighting in a bottle or use bullshit business practices. Out of the last four home consoles they've launched only one was successful, and even then it could be argued that it was only successful because it was the "it" item to have with a finicky casual audience that quickly abandoned it after the novelty wore off. Iawata's Nintendo tries too damn hard to cater to an audience that doesn't give a shit about games. When it works, congratulations, you've got Oprah and Ellen and mommy bloggers on your side (though I would argue this doesn't help the software situation at all). When it doesn't, it bombs. That isn't a good track record for success.

I still think there's still hope, though, but they need to make serious changes.
GamerJM
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(07-19-2013, 10:52 PM)
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This is a fine OP, but just speaking for myself, I still don't really care that third-parties don't support Nintendo platforms. I'd say at least a good third of the games I play period are published by Nintendo, so when I buy a Nintendo console I know full well that what I'm getting is going to mainly play Nintendo games. And I'm okay with that. Of course it's Nintendo's fault, but I'm still not convinced that Nintendo is really attempting to sell a platform for a lot of third-parties to develop games for. I still think they make hardware that's meant for Nintendo, by Nintendo. Third-parties are just bonuses.
casmith07
Member
(07-19-2013, 10:53 PM)
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Great OP.

I think they should:
  • Expand their first party studios and internal teams. The HD era requires more resources. They need to get there.
  • Expand their second party studios as well. Nintendo needs to find their Naughty Dog. Some would say it's Retro, well, DKC Tropical Freeze says otherwise.
  • Go for broke on the hardware. If the Wii U costs $349 and over $100 of that is the GamePad, then next time around, forego the gimmicks and spend that $100 in R&D for the actual guts of the console.
  • Repair 3rd party relationships. This one I lay at the feet of NOA, which they can accomplish by...
  • …Nintendo Co., Ltd. giving NOA more power at the negotiating table when it comes to publishing games and acquiring agreements for projects. Nepotism with Iwata at the top, and "old blood" archaic business practices need a shot in the arm, and I believe NOA would have the people capable of making that happen, at least to get things jump-started.
  • Lastly, the marketing department needs an overhaul. It's as if they fired everyone after the wildly successful "Wii would like to play" campaign. This is another one they need to go outside of their usual channels, hire people you normally wouldn't.

Sorry for length. That's my opinion on the matter.
Lunar15
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(07-19-2013, 10:56 PM)
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The entire company needs a paradigm shift in order to reverse a lot of the damage. Not sure that can ever really happen.
Mr.Awesome
Banned
(07-19-2013, 10:56 PM)

Originally Posted by Casual

Maybe pre-2000. Plenty of teams have them beat in both quality and quantity since then.

How? Mario is still far and away the platforming king. Kart is still the most popular racer. Smash is still the most popular fighter. Pokemon the most popular RPG. Zelda only very recently lost its footing as the critical king of adventure. The Wii series captured audiences thought to be impossible for gaming. If anything, I think Nintendo has only furthered itself from the pack since they have yet to show signs of age.

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