For years now, they have been experimenting with this "new" marketing concept, that for core games they do not need to market aggressively at all simply because core gamers like us will actively seek out information and buy the games anyway. They are wrong. We don't buy games blindly unless we like what we're seeing, and if you fail to market a game well, it will often backfire.
So for me, a totally unmarketed game is on level footing with a tiny game from some podunk company. Yes, I'll probably check it out. Yes, I'll look out for info. But only after I've already bought all the games I'm really excited for--and those largely come from companies that make an effort on promotion.
You can't say that Monolithsoft is a developer that "no one gives a fuck" about at all either. In fact, they just released two consecutive games on the DS for Bandai Namco which sold way more than Soma Bringer did. Both games had way more marketing than Soma Bringer did, and were recognizable brands. All things considered though, Soma Bringer didn't sell badly either, for a game with almost zero real marketing, it still did over 100k in Japan.
What does this tell me? It tells me that it is not who Nintendo owns or works with that is the problem, but the fundamental issue of how Nintendo chooses not to promote their own core titles, when developed externally.
Here is a list of the studios they funded and the products that came of this arrangement before Marigul was liquidated in 2003:
- Ambrella -- ... Hey You, Pikachu... Pokemon Channel. (Still exists)
- Clever Trick -- Worked on an N64 game. Was never released.
- Noise -- Custom Robo series. (Still exists, works for external publishers as well)
- Param -- Doshin the Giant.
- Saru Brunei -- Cubivore.
So in 7 years from 5 studios they got a scant handful of junker games. Since that point, basically every Nintendo-funded external studio has been neglected in the way you describe. I don't know if it's because of Marigul's failure that Nintendo acts the way they do, or if it's just incident to Marigul's failure, but there you have it.
Also I think this issue has been exacerbated since the beginning of 2008. That's around when it feels like Nintendo mid-tier core games started seriously underperforming across the board with no obvious effort to stop the bloodletting. 2009 is just a total disaster; Another Code R has to be pretty close to Nintendo's worst-selling game ever and there's no amount of logic that can figure that one out without putting some blame on positioning, awareness, and promotion.
Endless Ocean... Or rather, you can NOT see, since there's basically zero hype and zero attempts to actively promote them or provide new information.