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Nintendo's Switch output: Why "HD Development" isn't an issue

Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Nintendo's Switch output: Why "HD Development" isn't an issue

Consider this a response to the previous thread about Nintendo's Switch output not comparing to the Wii/DS. Many responses to that thread say that Games in general require more time, money and resources to make, and all publisher's outputs have been decreased this gen. In cases like Nintendo though, this isn't entirely true. Okay, let me rephrase that, it's true for companies like Nintendo, but not to the extent that one may think.

The problem with the argument of "HD Development" is that it doesn't take into consideration that game budgets and development time vary depending on the scope and graphical fidelity of the project. It's true that big AAA games that push the limits of graphical fidelity, with large expansive worlds and epic stories need at least 3 years and 100 people working on it to make happen these days. That's true for games like Breath of the Wild, which required a much larger team than any prior Zelda before it. But can you really say the same about Celeste? That game was made in a year and a half by one guy and a few friends, and it's one of the most critically acclaimed games of the generation. Or what about Splatoon, a game with a similar development time that ended up becoming one of the Wii U's defining titles?

It's true that Nintendo's long-running franchises require larger budgets and more resources these days because those games have higher expectations on newer, more powerful hardware. But with something like Brain Age, or Ring Fit Adventure, there are no real expectations. So they don't require the same amount of money and development time as a big AAA release does.

As a first party driven platform holder, Nintendo's entire business model revolves around publishing as many games as possible to drive hardware sales. So, when you consider that, the Switch actually has their most prolific output in years. It may seem lower vs. something like the Wii and DS, but it's not just because big games take much more to make now. Nintendo also had to support 2 platforms with separate versions of their own IP. And the indie scene was still in its infancy, so Nintendo was able to help indie-sized studios find a footing by publishing many of their games.

But with the Switch being an all in one machine, there's no longer a need to do 2 Mario Karts, or 2 Animal Crossings, or 2 Smash Bros. games, you can just have one game and move on to something else. Plus, with the indie market now much more mature than the past, Nintendo doesn't have to compete in a crowded market with a lot of their own sub-$5 million budget games on the eShop, and can instead turn most of their attention towards slightly bigger projects, ones that indies can't do just as easily, while not going into conventional AAA territory. So, yeah, Nintendo's output now may seem pathetic vs. 2 generations ago, but when you factor in the current gaming market, it really doesn't matter, because they're still way more prolific than most other big publishers these days.

In under 3 years, Nintendo has put out 30+ freshly made Switch games, plus 6 ports and re-releases. Can you honestly say the same about EA, or Microsoft?



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The New Microsoft is focused on Azure and doesn't need the Xbox brand, if it even is profitable. It doesn't even need Windows at this point, although that (and Office) is still profitable.

Microsoft is not in the race anymore. They have all the money they need. There's no incentive to make Xbox a platform for high-quality content.

Last edited by poroporo - on 07 October 2019

TheMisterManGuy said:

In under 3 years, Nintendo has put out 30+ freshly made Switch games, plus 6 ports and re-releases.

But how many of them were F-Zero?



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

RolStoppable said:

But how many of them were F-Zero?

I assume this is a joke, but if you're asking if we'll see F-Zero again, then it depends on if Nintendo finds a good idea or developer with good ideas for the series. F-Zero peaked with GX, and there's not a whole lot you can do with the series after that.



The problem in using the two platform argument is that it doesn't offset the fact that with each gen more needs to go into a game to the point that a game like BOTW would still require more than both PH and SS put together you could probably even add ST into that as well an example of this is how it required another first party studio in Monolith to help out in just creating the open world. Games like Brain Age and such may not require as much but in today's era they're not going to generate the momentum needed to sell a platform in the long run this is why Nintendo shifted focus to other more demanding projects instead and waited on these titles to later.



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I don't mind Nintendo not making a new game every month. The third party support is strong enough this time. The days of the WiiU are over. Theres just so much to play on the Switch that I don't even give it much though tbh.



RolStoppable said:
TheMisterManGuy said:

In under 3 years, Nintendo has put out 30+ freshly made Switch games, plus 6 ports and re-releases.

But how many of them were F-Zero?

Don't insult my intelligence - the answer is 1/16th of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. 

I expect an apology letter by mail. 



Wyrdness said:
The problem in using the two platform argument is that it doesn't offset the fact that with each gen more needs to go into a game to the point that a game like BOTW would still require more than both PH and SS put together you could probably even add ST into that as well an example of this is how it required another first party studio in Monolith to help out in just creating the open world. Games like Brain Age and such may not require as much but in today's era they're not going to generate the momentum needed to sell a platform in the long run this is why Nintendo shifted focus to other more demanding projects instead and waited on these titles to later.

Nintendo did a great job getting most of their mainstays out on the Switch as soon as possible. You're right that these games require a lot of time, money, and resources. And the Switch needed to be as successful as possible, as fast as possible. So it made sense to prioritize the big expensive projects to at least establish a solid base.

That being said, I think the situation would've been far worse had Nintendo still had 2 separate platforms. They were already struggling with the fact that even 3DS games demanded a lot more resources than before, and of course there was the Wii U disaster. Imagine how much worse that would be if we still had separate handheld and console systems currently? At least here, it makes things easier since resources that would've gone to a handheld Animal Crossing game, can instead be better spent on getting New Horizons out quicker.



Again, why are people leaving out the 3DS? Nintendo outputted games for both the Switch and 3DS during the first 2 years of the Switch being out.



Sogreblute said:
Again, why are people leaving out the 3DS? Nintendo outputted games for both the Switch and 3DS during the first 2 years of the Switch being out.

That's another thing people should consider as well. Many of Nintendo's teams/developers were still on 3DS projects as well, so that took away some resources from Switch games.