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Let's imagine a scenario where the Wii U was a success

Jubenhimer

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Nintendo's Wii is one of the most iconic, if a bit divisive, platforms in gaming. With innovative motion controls, and broad appeal. The 100 million selling console practically saved Nintendo that generation, who was coming off of the lackluster GameCube. With such a hot product on their hands, how did they follow it up. By tossing out everything that made the Wii a success in favor, something bloated, clumsy, and 5 years behind every-other device at the time. I am of course, talking about the Wii U. While the Wii was Nintendo's most successful home console, the Wii U was its least successful, at just 13 million units sold worldwide. Yes, it was worse than the GameCube. Large parts of that has to do with its terrible marketing, outdated, over-designed architecture with an equally over-designed tablet controller. And while third parties originally backed it due to the strength of the Wii brand at first, majority of them packed their bags for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as the poor sales and dated architecture of the system wasn't worth the effort.

But let's say none of that happened, what if instead of the over-complicated mess we got, what if the Wii U was an actual proper Wii follow up that was successful? If Nintendo had common sense at the time, here's how I think it would've happened.

1. It's 2008, Nintendo is riding high on the success of the Wii. However HD TV's are becoming more common, and with developers starting to get better at leveraging more powerful consoles, the Wii's lack of AAA support starts taking a tole on the system's reputation. Many label the console as just a casual machine. Nintendo sees this is a problem, and immediately begins work on its next console. Nintendo gathers a small group of software developers to prepare them for HD game development. This will make sure the company is prepared for getting AAA HD games and engines out in a regular fashion. Yoshiaki Koizumi, Director of Super Mario Galaxy, is put in charge of the new platform. Iwata tells him to take what the Wii did well, but make it better. Koizumi assembles a team to prototype the Wii's successor.

3. Koizumi notes the diminished presence of local multiplayer on consoles, and wants to make a system that you can play with friends and family right out of the box. After months of prototyping, the final controller, two detachable remotes that click to a controller grip, and can be shared for multiplayer, is decided. Koizumi feels the Wii Remotes lack of buttons limited its versatility, and aims to avoid that mistake with the successor. For hardware, Koizumi decides to go with x86 as the main processor, and he and his team struck deals with companies like Epic Games to provide the necessary software and development tools for the system, which was designed to be as easy as possible to develop for. Koizumi sees the struggles of Japanese developers making games for HD systems, and wants to make a console that's as simple and accessible to them as possible. A scaled down Wii PowerPC chip is also included, making the system backwards compatible. Nvidia was chosen to provide the GPU, which is based on the latest Graphics tech from desktop PCs

4. At E3 2010, Nintendo shows the Wii successor to developers behind closed doors. Developers are impressed with the system's power, and innovative controllers. Saying its a natural evolution of the Wii. By March 2011, Developers already have dev kits for the console. Rumors begin floating around that it's around 3x as powerful as the PS3, and has detachable controllers with a base that succeed the Wii Remote, and have more advanced motion technology. Nintendo pulls back the curtain at E3 2011 with the final name, Wii Duo. Duo (meaning 2) signifies both the sequel to the original console, as well as its built in 2-player controllers. The Wii Duo Joy-Con controllers are shown. They can be used together in the included grip, detached for motion controls, or shared with a friend for multiplayer. Each has HD Rumble, and 3D IR pointers, the left Joy-Con has a microphone and headphone port. Games are shown from third parties including Darksiders 2, Batman Arkham, Tomb Raider, Tekken, among others. Nintendo shows tech demos demonstrating the system's power, and controllers, confirms its backwards compatible with all Wii games and accessories. It's slated for a Holiday 2012 release.

5. At E3 the following year, a pre-E3 Direct is held talking about the philosophy of the console, as well as how it builds on the accomplishments of the Wii. Miiverse is introduced. A social service that allows communities to talk about games. Pro Controller is revealed. Then at the E3 conference that year, Wii Duo gets a more detailed introduction. Tomb Raider 2013 is demonstrated, featuring superior graphics than the other versions, along with a new optional control scheme courtesy of the Joy-Con. Reggie talks about what makes Wii Duo different from the Wii, and says that it takes it to the next level. Nintendo starts revealing first party games, including 2 new original titles. One, a 2-player party game from EAD Tokyo, produced by system architect, Koizumi, showing the Joy-Con's two player features. The other, a shooter from the Animal Crossing team called, Splatoon, which takes advantage of the Joy-Con's new 3D pointer. Iwata comes on stage, says he's proud of what they accomplished with Wii, but feels they could do better. Says Wii Duo will unite hardcore and casual audiences on one system. More games are shown including Batman Arkham, Injustice, Assassin's Creed III, Tekken Tag Tournament, Final Fantasy (working Title), Truama Center, Just Dance, and more. More first party games are shown, including a new Fire Emblem, Wii Fit, WarioWare, and a rail shooter from Platinum Games. Miyamoto comes out on stage and shows off the long awaited Pikmin 3. The dual 3D pointers of the Joy-Con let you control 2 commanders at once, there's even a co-op mode by passing one to a friend. Releases in Holiday. Iwata comes back on stage, says they have one more surprise, a brand new Super Smash Bros. game coming to both Nintendo 3DS and Wii Duo.

6. Wii Duo launches on November 19th for $299.99. EAD Tokyo Party game is a pack-in. System releases to massive hype, with a diverse slate of launch titles. Sales outpace the Wii at launch. The remainder of the generation sees Wii Duo consistently getting first and third party games, including a slew of indie titles thanks to the improved eShop policies.

This is just a rough idea of what Nintendo should've done with the Wii successor.
 
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Well, I just want a NintendoLand sequel, not to write that lovely game out of history. Forget the gaming-sphere reviews; it was the most fun family game of the decade.
 
D

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I don't think much would be different now if it had done better. It seems to me that the Switch was just inevitable. They needed to get to where they could consolidate their console and handheld. They march to the beat of their own drummer and are mostly successful due to making big profits selling their type of games to people who like them enough to buy their hardware to play them, along with the handheld gamer market where they've always been strong.

Consolidating lets them not split development between two platforms and should eventually lead to more game output (probably taking a while to get the former handheld teams staffed up and experienced in making HD games). The combined platform means all their base has access to all their games, which should drive up their already very high attach rates and ramp up profit.
 

Cynn

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The Switch is basically a Wii U controller made free of the console. If the Wii U was successful we would still get a Switch I think. It’s too perfect an evolution.
 

Al3x1s

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It'd have to be a real Wii 2, evolving that concept further rather than altogether dumping it. Sure, it wouldn't reach the same heights, just as 3DS didn't reach the DS heights, but it'd do more than well enough. It'd probably get new hits like Beat Saber without requiring VR thanks to improved motion controls that take the Wii remote + nunchuck scheme to the next level with precise tracking on par with the likes of Oculus Touch and other VR controllers and similarly to those enough inputs on both hands for any type of game to work, including fighting games, while still having great FPS/TPS thanks to that pointer control method pioneered on the Wii, still untouched for console FPS controls. The controllers would obviously also be fully wireless rather than joined by a cable. With that, there'd be no GamePad or the semi-portable gimmick so they'd have to continue their portable line, most likely with something that resembles the Switch Lite rather than anything that has TV output or separated motion controls, as that'd mean it competes with their own home system, the real Wii 2. For next gen we would see them do a Wii R that is the same concept evolved further and fully VR capable, wirelessly with tech similar to the GamePad tuned to 90fps and higher resolutions. The portable successor wouldn't take the Oculus Quest route, to avoid competing with the Wii R, but instead get beefied up specs (similar to the 3DS being a beefied up DS). Both well after PS5/Xbox2!
 
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JordanN

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Wii U would have needed to be Xbox One level to have made an impact. I don't think being 3x more powerful was going to do it.

MS & Sony where doing whatever they could to extend the PS3/360's lifespan and in a way, it kinda paid off. Game development had gotten so much more lengthy and expensive, it wasn't like the past when you could break out a new console and wow people immediately with games to show them.

IMO, they would have been better off just killing the 3DS and making their own PS Vita handheld on steroids. They always had the handheld market on lock and the Switch was pretty much a return to form after they exploited the Wii's success and the Wii U came at a time where Nintendo was never going to win a hardware race in the home console market.
 

DESTROYA

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Why?
In reality it was a utter failure , there’s no going back. I bought one and had fun with it.
We could all question what went wrong but that never changes the past.
 

Jubenhimer

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Wii U would have needed to be Xbox One level to have made an impact. I don't think being 3x more powerful was going to do it.

MS & Sony where doing whatever they could to extend the PS3/360's lifespan and in a way, it kinda paid off. Game development had gotten so much more lengthy and expensive, it wasn't like the past when you could break out a new console and wow people immediately with games to show them.

Keep in mind, 8th generation wasn't that huge of a leap over 7th generation, with the Xbox One and PS4 only being around 4x more powerful than previous generation. So 3x the power of the PS3, still would've put Nintendo at the weaker end of the generation, but not nearly as much as the Wii.
 

JordanN

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Keep in mind, 8th generation wasn't that huge of a leap over 7th generation, with the Xbox One and PS4 only being around 4x more powerful than previous generation. So 3x the power of the PS3, still would've put Nintendo at the weaker end of the generation, but not nearly as much as the Wii.
Both PS4 & Xbox One had 16x the memory of the last gen consoles (512mb vs 8GB). PS4 had a 1.8 Tflop GPU whereas the PS3 was about 250 gflops.

It was at least an 8x jump.

Unless Wii U had made a huge sales impact like PS2, where developers could afford to make it the lead platform or ignore others, it was just going to be weak again for multiplats.
 

Jubenhimer

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Both PS4 & Xbox One had 16x the memory of the last gen consoles (512mb vs 8GB). PS4 had a 1.8 Tflop GPU whereas the PS3 was about 250 gflops.

It was at least an 8x jump.

RAM was the main limitation of last generation, 256 megabytes was bad even in 2006.

Unless Wii U had made a huge sales impact like PS2, where developers could afford to make it the lead platform or ignore others, it was just going to be weak again for multiplats.

Wii Duo would've had all the PC-based technology powering the PS4 and Xbox One, so while it may have been weaker, it would've been just easy to program for.
 

JordanN

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RAM was the main limitation of last generation, 256 megabytes was bad even in 2006.



Wii Duo would've had all the PC-based technology powering the PS4 and Xbox One, so while it may have been weaker, it would've been just easy to program for.
I just can't see developers trying to justify it unless a hardcore market was there.

The Wii sold more units than the PS3/360 but developers still preferred the HD twins.

Even when the Wii U was advertised as having the same games as PS3/360, it still missed out on important titles like Grand Theft Auto. The market just isn't there anymore.

Nintendo sells their consoles to sell their games. People buy Playstation & Xbox to buy 3rd party ones instead.
 
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Vawn

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We would have gotten the better version of Breath of the Wild with gameplay still correctly focused around the Sheikah Slate/Wii U gamepad.
 

IzzyThePush

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System releases to massive hype, with a diverse slate of launch titles.

Dude, do you even know Nintendo? The N64 launched with only 2 titles: Mario 64 and Pilotwings 64. Super Nintendo had a handful. Gamecube had a handful. Nintendo is NOT the company that pushes a diverse launch lineup. It's not in the company's DNA.
 

Meesh

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I'm gonna be honest, I think the Switch was destined to be, it's the next evolutionary step from the design of the U.
I think an interesting scenario, and probably slightly more plausible, is if the WiiU was a success how much more successful would the Switch be?
Would we have more support out of the gate? Would they have gone with a slightly beefier model to accommodate some devs? What would we be playing right now?
 

LordOfChaos

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Honestly? The failure was good for them. I almost wouldn't have had it another way. They've still only partially learned their lessons, but in failure Nintendo made quicker progress than I'm sure they otherwise would have.
 

Jubenhimer

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I just can't see developers trying to justify it unless a hardcore market was there.

The Wii sold more units than the PS3/360 but developers still preferred the HD twins.

Even when the Wii U was advertised as having the same games as PS3/360, it still missed out on important titles like Grand Theft Auto. The market just isn't there anymore.

Nintendo sells their consoles to sell their games. People buy Playstation & Xbox to buy 3rd party ones instead.

Nintendo would've gotten third party games if they had an appealing system. The Wii was catered to a different market than the PS360, and the Wii U was just clumsily designed top to bottom. The Switch is a well engineered and simple device and wouldn't you know it third parties are supporting it and people are buying games for it.
 

FStubbs

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Wii U would have needed to be Xbox One level to have made an impact. I don't think being 3x more powerful was going to do it.

MS & Sony where doing whatever they could to extend the PS3/360's lifespan and in a way, it kinda paid off. Game development had gotten so much more lengthy and expensive, it wasn't like the past when you could break out a new console and wow people immediately with games to show them.

IMO, they would have been better off just killing the 3DS and making their own PS Vita handheld on steroids. They always had the handheld market on lock and the Switch was pretty much a return to form after they exploited the Wii's success and the Wii U came at a time where Nintendo was never going to win a hardware race in the home console market.

So the Switch Lite or the Switch undocked.
 

JordanN

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Nintendo would've gotten third party games if they had an appealing system. The Wii was catered to a different market than the PS360, and the Wii U was just clumsily designed top to bottom. The Switch is a well engineered and simple device and wouldn't you know it third parties are supporting it and people are buying games for it.
I'd say they're supporting it in spite of those things.

When Playstation 5 and the next Xbox debut, we're going to see Nintendo left behind again in 3rd party support.

So the Switch Lite or the Switch undocked.
Pretty much, but released much more earlier. Like in 2013 or 2014.
I honestly wouldn't have cared if it was just 50% more powerful than Vita. Sony saw the writing on the wall and handhelds just couldn't support the AAA market the same way the PSP could.

The 3DS was meant to leach off the PSP's market but Nintendo still manage to screw up by only giving the system one analog nub/stick. The 3D gimmick also wasn't going to be the same game changer that the touch and dual screen was with the first DS.
 
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Jubenhimer

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I'd say they're supporting it in spite of those things.

When Playstation 5 and the next Xbox debut, we're going to see Nintendo left behind again in 3rd party support.

Not really. AAA games are getting fewer in numbers these days, mostly due to the sheer costs of making them. Which is why publishers are increasingly turning to lower budget projects. The Switch will profit from these games, and already is with the likes of games like Valkyria Chronicles 4, Crash Team Racing, Daemon X Machina, Gods & Monsters, Mega Man 11, Octopath, Oniaki, among others.
 

JordanN

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Not really. AAA games are getting fewer in numbers these days, mostly due to the sheer costs of making them. Which is why publishers are increasingly turning to lower budget projects. The Switch will profit from these games, and already is with the likes of games like Valkyria Chronicles 4, Crash Team Racing, Daemon X Machina, Gods & Monsters, Mega Man 11, Octopath, Oniaki, among others.
Nintendo always gets kid friendly games or the occasional Japanese support. This was even true for the Wii.

But they are still not included from the big AAA hitters like GTA, Battlefield, Metal Gear Solid etc. And when the next consoles come out, the tech gap will widen again.
 
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Jubenhimer

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But they are still not included from the big AAA hitters like GTA, Battlefield, Metal Gear Solid etc. And when the next consoles come out, the tech gap will widen again.

But like I said, AAA is a much more contracted market today than before. Third parties only release a handful of them every year these days. Companies like Square Enix and Take-Two have established indie divisions to help boost their output because of it, and Mid-budget games are starting to make a comeback because of it as well. The Switch will profit from the rise of the lower end markets. You can argue it already is.
 

Danjin44

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Nintendo always gets kid friendly games or the occasional Japanese support. This was even true for the Wii.

But they are still not included from the big AAA hitters like GTA, Battlefield, Metal Gear Solid etc. And when the next consoles come out, the tech gap will widen again.
But Nintendo is not really chasing same market as PS4/Xbox, people buy Nintendo system because they get games that no other system has and I'm not just talking about first party but their third party exclusives like Astral Chain, Daemon X Machina, Bayonetta and Shin Megami Tensei V. People need accept that Nintendo is no longer chasing after powerful system.
 

JordanN

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But like I said, AAA is a much more contracted market today than before. Third parties only release a handful of them every year these days. Companies like Square Enix and Take-Two have established indie divisions to help boost their output because of it, and Mid-budget games are starting to make a comeback because of it as well. The Switch will profit from the rise of the lower end markets. You can argue it already is.
Indies are everywhere though. Heck, PS4 literally debuted back in 2013 with the promise of putting indies front and center.

As for being profitable, some indies game are, some are not. Some of these same studios are striving to break even to begin with. They don't have massive resources like AAA publishers have from the start.

Edit: My mistake, I got the numbers flipped around. It's 77% of indies who reported making a profit.


 
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Jubenhimer

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As for being profitable, some indies game are, some are not. Some of these same studios are striving to break even to begin with. They don't have massive resources like AAA publishers have from the start.

Sure, there are some Indies who struggle, but the same can be said about major developers as well.

The point is, it's the lower end markets that will shine Switch. The Indies, the remasters, the mid-budget titles, etc.
 

JordanN

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Sure, there are some Indies who struggle, but the same can be said about major developers as well.

The point is, it's the lower end markets that will shine Switch. The Indies, the remasters, the mid-budget titles, etc.
They make up gigantic revenue in comparison.



And this is just one publisher (Activison/Blizzard). I would argue the lionshare of all profits we see in the game industry do come from AAA businesses.

This chart doesn't add up with the narrative. You say only 22% expect to recoup the costs, but the chart says that 22% represents no. 78% do seem to profit off their games.
I just spotted this error. Edited my post to fix it.
 
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Jubenhimer

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Edit: Here is a survey done back in 2015 that reported only 22% of indie developers made a profit.


Gamasutra - New survey looks at the economics of indie game development

This chart doesn't add up with the narrative. You say only 22% expect to recoup the costs, but the chart says that 22% represents no. 78% do seem to profit off their games.

They make up gigantic revenue in comparison.



And this is just one publisher (Activison/Blizzard). I would argue the lionshare of all profits we see in the game industry do come from AAA businesses.

You don't need to make massive amounts of money to break even on a game. It all depends on the development costs. Most Indies do seem to profit from their games according to the chart you gave earlier.
 
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Sub Boss

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We would have the same current Switch but it would be called the Wii Switch, with Wii Switch sports , Wii Party Switch and other things. Wii U already is like a very early prototype Switch
 

JordanN

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You don't need to make massive amounts of money to break even on a game. It all depends on the development costs. Most Indies do seem to profit from their games according to the chart you gave earlier.
Yes, but AAA publishers are the ones raking in billions of dollars to offset this.

Who do you think has more market value? Companies like Activision-Blizzard being valued at $17 billion in total assets, or the start-up indie studio that maybe sells 5,000 copies at $10 each?

You could probably find 10 indie studios and put them together, they still wouldn't be valued as much as Activison/Blizzard or EA or Ubisoft.
 
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Jubenhimer

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Yes, but AAA publishers are the ones raking in billions of dollars to offset this.

Who do you think has more market value? Companies like Activision-Blizzard being valued at $17 billion in total assets, or the start-up indie studio that maybe sells 5,000 copies at $10 each?

Doesn't matter, because both have shown they can co-exist with each other.
 

JordanN

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Doesn't matter, because both have shown they can co-exist with each other.
If your point was that Nintendo was going to use Indies to offset the loss of the 3rd party AAA market, I'm saying that's not completely accurate.

Indies are everywhere, even on Microsoft and Sony's own consoles. The footprint they have on the industry doesn't compare to the AAA giants who do make billions of dollars year after year, even after you factor in big AAA games failing.

A game like Grand Theft Auto 5 is already responsible for making $6 billion dollars alone. I can find the numbers but I'm willing to best most indie games put together still fall behind this.

 
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Jubenhimer

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If your point was that Nintendo was going to use Indies to offset the loss of the 3rd party AAA market, I'm saying that's not completely accurate

Not just Indies. But also mid-budget titles from major publishers. Like I said, companies like Take-Two and Ubisoft are delving more into lower end markets because it's too expensive to make AAA games regularly. And with the Switch being a success, they have an incentive to pursue less graphically intensive games in the market. Ubisoft is a prime example, as they've recently been trying to diversify their portfolio to maintain a consistent release slate for shareholders. Same deal with Square Enix. Switch may not get the AAA stuff from major publishers, but the lower end titles are mostly gaurenteed from them.
 

JordanN

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Not just Indies. But also mid-budget titles from major publishers. Like I said, companies like Take-Two and Ubisoft are delving more into lower end markets because it's too expensive to make AAA games regularly. And with the Switch being a success, they have an incentive to pursue less graphically intensive games in the market. Ubisoft is a prime example, as they've recently been trying to diversify their portfolio to maintain a consistent release slate for shareholders. Same deal with Square Enix. Switch may not get the AAA stuff from major publishers, but the lower end titles are mostly gaurenteed from them.
Why wouldn't they just port these games to Playstation/Xbox/PC?

The market for all 3 is just as big if not far bigger. There isn't much incentive to keep them exclusive unless we're talking games that does benefit Nintendo more (i.e kid friendly or Japanese).

You're basically arguing that Indie/mid budget games will continue to make profit over time which I don't disagree with. But these profits aren't just being limited to Nintendo but the whole industry.

Meanwhile 3rd party AAA games is a whole market generating billions of dollars which Nintendo doesn't see the same returns as MS/Sony/PC does. The indie/mid budget market doesn't come close to plugging that hole.
 
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Jubenhimer

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Why wouldn't they just port these games to Playstation/Xbox/PC?

The market for all 3 is just as big if not far bigger. There isn't much incentive to keep them exclusive unless

I never said exclusive either. Incentivising mid-budget games also benefits other platforms too. They get a more diverse library of games than otherwise.

You're basically arguing that Indie/mid budget games will continue to make profit over time which I don't disagree with. But these profits aren't just being limited to Nintendo but the whole industry.

My point is that the Switch has a lot to gain from the indie and rising mid-budget markets. So it'll continue to get games from third parties for a while.

Meanwhile 3rd party AAA games is a whole market generating billions of dollars which Nintendo doesn't see the same returns as MS/Sony/PC does. The indie/mid budget market doesn't come close to plugging that hole.

Remember also, that the Switch doesn't compete for the same audience as the main 2. It's focus is more on providing what the PlayStation and Xbox consoles can't offer rather than trying to be your main platform. Sony and Microsoft are direct competition, Nintendo's more of an auxiliary market. In that sense, the Switch is more handheld than console.
 

JordanN

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My point is that the Switch has a lot to gain from the indie and rising mid-budget markets. So it'll continue to get games from third parties for a while.
But how?
I just explained, these games are everywhere.

Remember also, that the Switch doesn't compete for the same audience as the main 2.
That only applies to actual Nintendo games or kid friendly games.

But Indie games in general? Both MS and Sony have been making aggressive pushes since this gen started. And PC had indie games before all 3 home consoles got started.




It's focus is more on providing what the PlayStation and Xbox consoles can't offer rather than trying to be your main platform.
What about the Switch makes it technically superior to others? We've already been through the gimmick of motion controls.

Nintendo's more of an auxiliary market. In that sense, the Switch is more handheld than console.
That's not an argument for making a game exclusive to it. Games on PC can be played on laptops or even handheld PC like this. but I would argue that's because it's easy to scale, not necessarily because they were designed that way.



GTA is not a handheld game even though it could be played on one.

If someone made a game for Switch, it would still play exactly the same if you were forced to play it behind a TV screen.
 
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PhoenixTank

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Nvidia was chosen to provide the GPU, which is based on the latest Graphics tech from desktop PCs
Between 2008 and 2010? I can't see a Tesla based Nvidia chip improving the Wii U's chances. Definitely not a Fermi chip either!

As to what the scenario would look like:
 

Jubenhimer

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But how?
I just explained, these games are everywhere.

Sure, but more often than not, the Switch versions do just as well as, if not better than their PS4 and Xbox One counterparts. Countless Indies have reported higher sales on Switch than anywhere else.


That only applies to actual Nintendo games or kid friendly games.

But Indie games in general? Both MS and Sony have been making aggressive pushes since this gen started. And PC had indie games before all 3 home consoles got started.



Sure, but again, the Switch version often does as well as, and often better than the other versions. So long as sales are this good on Switch, developers will continue to support it with games that work well on it.


That's not an argument for making a game exclusive to it. Games on PC can be played on laptops or even handheld PC like this. but I would argue that's because it's easy to scale, not necessarily because they were designed that way.



GTA is not a handheld game even though it could be played on one.

Again, I never argued about making them exclusive. I'm just saying that so long as the Switch can run these games, developers will keep releasing them.
 

Jubenhimer

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What about the Switch makes it technically superior to others? We've already been through the gimmick of motion controls.

Not superior necessarily, but the switch offers a selling point that the other two can't deliver as well, that being portability. Also motion isn't a gimmick when it's iñ everything now.