Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Third party Switch ports don't necessarily need to sell as much as PS4 to be successful

An argument I often see leveraged against the Switch is that third party games "don't sell on it", and that because many games sell better on PS4, that means their Switch sales are bad and there's no reason to keep bringing them over.

This reasoning, however, doesn't really hold up to scrutiny. Let's cast our memories back to the Wii. 5 Call of Duty games were ported to the Wii from 2006 to 2011. With the exception of COD3, these all sold less than 2 million, yet they kept coming, year after year. If they weren't profitable, Activision would've called it quits after 1 or 2. Sure, sales were a fraction of the PS3 and 360 versions, but that didn't matter; they obviously did well enough to earn money.

Generally speaking, it's not all that expensive to port a game that already exists. The game itself may need to sell millions in total to turn a profit, but a port might only need to sell, say, 500k to recoup the costs of conversion.

Take Skyrim on Switch; it's well on its way to cruise comfortably passed the million mark, (if it hasn't already) and while it probably won't sell as much as the PS4 version, it doesn't need to; as a port, it could likely do 800k lifetime and still turn a profit for Bethesda, and at the end of the day that's what matters, not whether it's the best selling version, but whether it makes money.

Now, obviously there are other factors, like how difficult a specific game would be to port. But the arguments that "oh it sold less on Switch so it wasn't successful" or "it wouldn't sell as much as the PS4 version so why bother" are fundamentally flawed and illogical.

Last edited by curl-6 - on 01 July 2018

Around the Network

Selling less than on another platform obviously turn it in less successful, but I rarely see it used as argument. It is mostly it sold so low that the port was meaningless, and that isn't selling a little less than PS4 or X1 but considerably less.

And devs aren't dumb. So we pretty much know also that if a port can be made and turn profit they will more likely do than not. So this should also debunk any theory of conspiracy that a port isn't on Switch because devs are dumb or hate Nintendo.



duduspace11 "Well, since we are estimating costs, Pokemon Red/Blue did cost Nintendo about $50m to make back in 1996"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8808363

Mr Puggsly: "Hehe, I said good profit. You said big profit. Frankly, not losing money is what I meant by good. Don't get hung up on semantics"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=9008994

DonFerrari said:

Selling less than on another platform obviously turn it in less successful, but I rarely see it used as argument. It is mostly it sold so low that the port was meaningless, and that isn't selling a little less than PS4 or X1 but considerably less.

And devs aren't dumb. So we pretty much know also that if a port can be made and turn profit they will more likely do than not. So this should also debunk any theory of conspiracy that a port isn't on Switch because devs are dumb or hate Nintendo.

How much it sells versus other platforms ultimately doesn't matter as long as it's profitable. If a game sells 5 million on PS4 and 1 million on Switch, but the Switch port makes money, then it is successful.

And devs/publishers are human, they make mistakes sometimes. Surely you're not suggesting video game developers have never made a bad decision?

Last edited by curl-6 - on 01 July 2018

curl-6 said:
DonFerrari said:

Selling less than on another platform obviously turn it in less successful, but I rarely see it used as argument. It is mostly it sold so low that the port was meaningless, and that isn't selling a little less than PS4 or X1 but considerably less.

And devs aren't dumb. So we pretty much know also that if a port can be made and turn profit they will more likely do than not. So this should also debunk any theory of conspiracy that a port isn't on Switch because devs are dumb or hate Nintendo.

How much it sells versus other platforms ultimately doesn't matter as long as it's profitable. If a game sells 5 million on PS4 and 1 million on Switch, but the Switch port makes money, then it is successful.

And devs are human, they make mistakes. Surely you're not suggesting video game developers have never made a bad decision?

but is it really fair to expect a game to sell 5 millions units on switch and 5 millions units on PS4 when there is 18 million switchs out there, and 80 million PS4 ?



curl-6 said:
DonFerrari said:

Selling less than on another platform obviously turn it in less successful, but I rarely see it used as argument. It is mostly it sold so low that the port was meaningless, and that isn't selling a little less than PS4 or X1 but considerably less.

And devs aren't dumb. So we pretty much know also that if a port can be made and turn profit they will more likely do than not. So this should also debunk any theory of conspiracy that a port isn't on Switch because devs are dumb or hate Nintendo.

How much it sells versus other platforms ultimately doesn't matter as long as it's profitable. If a game sells 5 million on PS4 and 1 million on Switch, but the Switch port makes money, then it is successful.

And devs are human, they make mistakes. Surely you're not suggesting video game developers have never made a bad decision?

I'd be surprised if the developers even had the choice of which platforms they wanted to release the game for; I'm pretty sure it's the publisher who makes that decision, unless the developers own the IP and got a concession from the publisher.



Around the Network
VGPolyglot said:
curl-6 said:

How much it sells versus other platforms ultimately doesn't matter as long as it's profitable. If a game sells 5 million on PS4 and 1 million on Switch, but the Switch port makes money, then it is successful.

And devs are human, they make mistakes. Surely you're not suggesting video game developers have never made a bad decision?

I'd be surprised if the developers even had the choice of which platforms they wanted to release the game for; I'm pretty sure it's the publisher who makes that decision, unless the developers own the IP and got a concession from the publisher.

That's a good point actually, I didn't think of that. Post amended.



Call of Duty on the Wii is not at all a good example. COD wasn't pumping out Billions of Dollars until after MW2 and Black Ops, so any profits Activision did gain from that was good because they didn't see the mountain of cash they were gonna get from milking COD on the Ps3/Xbox. Since COD truly erupted around 2009-2010 to its levels that it is now, plus its two year development cycle, the last Black Ops and MW3 was already in their way, and would have been counterproductive to cancel. Plus it would be a good time for Activision to test the waters of a then popular COD in a big fanbase.

Also Skyrim was in every other system aside from my printer, porting a 7th gen title to newer gen would be pennies compared to its development and porting costs. The real testament to your statement would be if Bethesda decides to continue supporting the Switch if deem Wolfenstein II to be profitable. Wolfenstein II is a new game, and has no 7th gen counterpart. Meaning, its a clean slate.



Agree. But people are too busy with their console war and prefer not to think.

The third party games on Nintendo Switch will always have the disadvantage of the release date and price compared to other versions, but as long as the game is not broken, I believe that most have a chance to make a profit.

Last edited by alejollorente10 - on 01 July 2018

Switch Friend Code = 5965 - 4586 - 6484

PSN: alejollorente10

Liquid_faction said:
Call of Duty on the Wii is not at all a good example. COD wasn't pumping out Billions of Dollars until after MW2 and Black Ops, so any profits Activision did gain from that was good because they didn't see the mountain of cash they were gonna get from milking COD on the Ps3/Xbox. Since COD truly erupted around 2009-2010 to its levels that it is now, plus its two year development cycle, the last Black Ops and MW3 was already in their way, and would have been counterproductive to cancel. Plus it would be a good time for Activision to test the waters of a then popular COD in a big fanbase.

"Milking COD on PS3/360" and making some extra cash from Wii ports are not mutually exclusive. You can have both, and they did. If COD on Wii was not making money, they would not have brought over 5 of them over 5 years. If World at War didn't earn its keep, it was easily early enough to pull the plug on Black Ops and MW3.



It's not a question so much of profit, but rather whether the profits would be higher by using that port money in a different way.

If I'm only going to get 10% profit from a port but 20% from using that money on a different project, its pretty obvious which is a better use of a company's resources.