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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Why do you think Nintendo has not cared/hated 3rd party developers for most of their history?

So I was surfing the web and I've always wondered, why Nintendo has always struggled with 3rd party support for nearly every console besides the NES and SNES?

The reasons I hear most from people is was cause the "N64 used cartridges which were expensive and couldn't hold much storage which pissed off developers","the Gamecube used small DVDs which were too small to hold PS2/Xbox games", and "the Wii and Wii U were severely underpowered to get multiplats".

These are reasons that for a long time I held that belief that it was the reason why they've struggled with support. However,while most of these reasons definitely contributed a lot to a lack of 3rd party support for these systems, I started to have my doubts that these were the ONLY reason why developers left after thinking about the PS2 and PS3, both systems were considered difficult to develop for yet they've had plenty of 3rd party support, even with the Switch right now despite being quite underpowered and having somewhat expensive cartridges they're getting great 3rd party support. So what was stopping Nintendo from getting 3rd party support on other systems especially the GameCube where the small Discs from what I heard wasn't a huge problem for most game developers. 

I began to research deeper into Nintendo's history, stuff that mainstream gaming media won't really discuss and I found out very interesting things regarding Nintendo's history with 3rd parties.

This video gives a good idea of how anti-3rd party Nintendo was when developing the Gamecube, the video is 11 minutes long but long story short, this is all the things Nintendo was doing when developing the gamecube:

-Delayed Development Kits

-No urgency to gain 3rd party support

-Didn't approach 3rd parties

-Satoru Iwata and Hiroshi Yamauchi "didn't believe in overwhelming 3rd party support"

-Charged much higher licensing fees than Sony & Microsoft

-Shortage of development kits

-Called 3rd parties "useless companies"

-Felt PS2 wasn't a threat

Hiroshi Yamauchi was quoted saying that "People think Sony already won just cause they got all software developers on their side. However, times are different now its no longer a race to see how many useless companies you can get on your side."

Satoru Iwata and Hiroshi Yamauchi both had the same philosophy that they didn't need 3rd party support and in fact criticized 3rd parties for porting the same game on all consoles, they stated they didn't believe in 3rd party support.

We had Sony and Microsoft embracing the flood of 3rd party developers and encoraging them to develop for their systems through lower licensing fees and more monetary incentive, while Nintendo was outright REFUSING to gain 3rd party support.

This makes it clear to me that Nintendo didn't give a shit about 3rd parties at all and the discs issue with the Gamecube wasn't the biggest issue at all, it was Nintendo's refusal to gain any support.

Their actions do speak even louder than their words though, since the NES they've seemingly been anti 3rd party. In the NES they've charged high licensing fees and prices for cartridges, essentially forced 3rd parties to abide by an exclusivity contract where you could only produce 5 games a year and a very strict quality control policy. Purposely prioritize manufactering THEIR games while 3rd party games deal with shoratges, ect...

The N64 I'm sure one of the reasons why they've chose cartridges was to profit off of cartridges purchased by 3rd parties, they didn't give a shit about 3rd parties feelings regarding cratridges and how expensive they are.

I already went over the Gamecube.

And with the Wii, Wii U and Switch. Nintendo didn't want to become a 3rd party system so bad that they outright decided to go into a different direction not directly competing with Sony and Microsoft's multiplat systems. I know people may argue back saying that with the Switch and Wii U Nintendo was approaching 3rd parties. However, if they really prioritized getting full 3rd party support on those systems, they wouldn't have created those systems as underpowered as they were and use a foreign architecture compared to their competitors. Also, I'm sure if Nintendo gave some sort of extra monetary incentive to 3rd parties they could've gotten even more, which is a standard for Sony and Microsoft to do.

It seems bizarre to me that Nintendo would go so out of their way to deny 3rd parties on their system. It seems too lucrative of an opportunity for any video game console company to give up. Especially when you're Nintendo where the ultimate system that has Nintendo's great 1st party games along with full 3rd party support seems like it would dominate the industry and leave Sony and Microsoft in the dust.

It really makes me wonder, why?? Why would Nintendo just refuse to be an all in one 1st and 3rd party system and downright hate and deny 3rd party developers.

This article gives a good idea of why Nintendo simply didn't want 3rd party support, and based off the sounds of it Nintendo just didn't want to create a console that was too similiar to their competitors, Nintendo has always had a philosophy that they still hold to this day that "we don't follow trends,we create them" and it seems like Nintendo just wanted to make a system that stood out to people with their 1st party games being the forefront of their successes. To them, making a console similiar to Sony and Microsoft it boring for them.

My theory is this, Nintendo is more than a company full of business men, they are also passionate game developers. My theory is that Nintendo developers sort of felt envy and hatred towards 3rd party games since they compete with their own games for attention and Nintendo developers might feel some type of way knowing that people prefer 3rd party games over their own games. Also, it seems like Nintendo couldn't understand the appeal of violent games and seemed to hate it, according to a former Nintendo employee, one Nintendo executive supposedly stated," Consumers don't want fun anymore, they just want to kill people in HD" when trying to explain why the Gamecube was failing. Nintendo execs didn't want to create a console where violent games were the forefront, they couldn't understand how it was fun to consumers and wanted to create a system that fit their own image, they didn't WANT create a system similiar to the PS2 and Xbox where they all had the same violent games, to them making a system like that is boring. Even if it meant losing millions Nintendo was willing to do this to create the system THEY want, not what they should do.

What do you guys think, why do you think Nintendo has always hated 3rd party developers for most of their history?

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Well it seems like Yamauchi was an arrogant cunt, so that alone answers the question for a period of time. Arrogant cunts generally don't have many friends. As for the rest of the time, it seems like they've just been focused on themselves first and foremost and hoped that everything else would fall into place after that.

To compare it to planning a party:

Yamauchi: "I'm having the best part ever with blackjack and hookers! If you're not as cool as me then don't even bother trying to come!."
Other Nintendo guys: "Hey, I'm throwing a party. Come if you want, or not, your call" *spends the rest of their time trying to plan the best party they can*
Sony/Microsoft: "Hey, I'm throwing a party. It'd be great if you could come". *spends the rest of their time making/handing out flyers for the party*

They had by far the biggest console on the market with the NES, so they used that to force third parties into exclusivity deals. That also carried over to the SNES. Even though the Mega Drive/Genesis put up one hell of a fight. The Playstation came along and games became cheaper to mass produce because they were on CDs and when it became a huge hit, the third parties had no problem leaving Nintendo in the dust.


Nintendo see's themselves as game developers 1st and formost. 3rd party are partly competition to them, they dont want them to have too strong a foot hold (on nintendos own platforms, they much rather sell larger amounts of their own software). Nitnendo strategy seems really smart though, they rake in  huge profits. Many of their titles are cheap to develope too, and sell really well.... they laugh all the way to the bank.

Sony see's themselves as a platform holder 1st and formost. They want make their liveing off of takeing cuts from others makeing profits on their platform. Their dreams are probably to grow the platform numbers to go into the 200-300m range, if they could.... sadly reality and greed get in the way.
With movie studios, and focus on scenematic experiances & story telling, they try bring that to their games. Sony are probably the ones that spend the most on titles, and while they ofc make returns, they arnt anywere close to nintendo's. Good 3rd party support, is good for the platform, and their cuts.... they go out of their way to help 3rd party.

Microsoft see's themselves as a service pervider, they want people locked into their services with subscriptions. Having to make 1st party bangers, to drive things, or grow the platform to 100m+ users to make good profits isnt their way. Monthly locked in fee's build up over time, and your less reliant on 1st party output of big huge IPs that do numbers. They want lots of smaller experiances, comeing around often on a service you, you feel like you get your value out of.

Last edited by JRPGfan - on 07 February 2021

The origins of this was that in the 1980s, Nintendo put a limit on the number of games they would allow each developer to publish on their platform. The Atari 2600 had many, many games, but many were garbage shovel-ware so consumers felt ripped off. Nintendo tried to stop this by having a "Nintendo Quality Control" and force developers to produce fewer, better games. Whether or not it worked isn't too relevant. The feeling was always that it was harder to release a game for Nintendo.

There was a short period where hardware between consoles was just very different (PS1 vs N64), so maybe some platforms were a PITA (PS3 Cell Processor?), but those times have passed now.

In terms of the more modern times, I don't think that it matters much: developing a game costs many $$$$ and there isn't much that Sony or Nintendo can do to help you. What we see now is that the correlation is more to how many units something sells (Switch is doing very well) rather than some developer outreach program run by Sony or Nintendo.

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What I think is that the gaming media has done a great job of shaping a narrative where Nintendo is out of touch with gaming whenever they don't conform to the norm. What both your video and the longwinded article completely leave out is that both Sony and Microsoft spent tremendous amounts of money to lock out Nintendo platforms from certain games. The article you linked was published right before Switch's launch and carries the tone that Nintendo was once again doing their own thing and set up to repeat their failures out of stubbornness.

This is the point where you have to activate your criticial thinking and connect the dots. The most obvious thing four years after this article is that Nintendo's direction has set them up not only for one of the best-selling consoles of all time, but resulted in the biggest game library a single console has ever amassed. Then you look around and consider which third parties aren't on board with Switch and - surprise - it's the same third parties that have been on the payrolls of Sony and Microsoft for the longest time. They will keep telling the public things like Nintendo is hard to work with and that third party games don't sell on Nintendo consoles, but then you look at Switch and can't get around asking if it's really Nintendo who is out of touch with the market and reality.

There's no general disdain that Nintendo holds against third parties, however, what goes through Nintendo's entire console history is a disdain for third parties who want to dictate how Nintendo has to run their business. Nintendo had limited the amount of games per year that third parties could release, because Nintendo wanted to protect the market they had built; Atari had not done this and Atari died because third parties destroyed the market. When the PlayStation settled in, it became the norm that third parties expected to get special treatment in form of various kinds of payment; Nintendo has not played along with this, but it's not entitled third parties who are portrayed as evil, it's Nintendo for not handing out money to companies who have no reliable track record of improving Nintendo's console business.

The gaming media has really done a great job of warping perception. Whenever Nintendo gets pitted in a situation vs. a big third party like Activision, Electronic Arts etc., then you'll get an army of gamers who will immediately side with the third parties on the issue. But when you take a step back to look at the business philosophies of all these companies, Nintendo is the one that is treating gamers the best by far, because their monetization systems aren't anywhere close to as vile as what third parties are pulling off game after game. So why is it believed that the company who treats its customers the best must be the one that is performing the most upsetting business practices behind the scenes, rather than the companies who are already full of bullshit in the public space? Because the gaming media has done that good of a job over the last 2+ decades.

I don't feel pity for gamers who whine about unfinished games and greedy monetization in games, because more often than not, that's the direction of gaming that they've actively supported for a long time by speaking up against the Nintendo way. Gamers on PS and Xbox are facing problems that don't exist on Nintendo consoles, so whenever someone tells me that I should be angry at Nintendo for not complying to the demands of the big AAA third party publishers, I can only laugh. While I am not a Sega fan, I can at least respect the company for turning Electronic Arts down when Sega's choice was either no EA support for Dreamcast or discontinuation of their own sports games which were of higher quality than EA's. Sega may have ultimately exited the hardware business, but they were pro-gamers until the end.

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

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Shipments

Another day, another Javi post about Nintendo :o

Yamauchi didn't want 3rd party games at first place, for him the NES was only the support to sell 1st party games (since they were making games, and the console is here to play those games).

"Quagmire, are you the type of guy who takes 'no' for an answer ?"
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They get smaller profit margins  that's all 

I'd say 3rd parties dislikes Nintendo more than Nintendo dislikes 3rd parties 

Sony always offered better deals, higher revenue margins and even invested their own money for 3rd parties produce their games. Nintendo never bothered with any of that, hence 3rd parties will support Sony as much as they can. They actively want Sony to succeed and take over Nintendo's market share

Most of these questions can be simply answered by Yamauchi's actions. He put some serious setbacks for thirds during the N64 era with the thinking that thirds would support Nintendo by default because that's what they did the last two generations, and this left a scar on the thirds' relations with Nintendo that to this day Nintendo still tries to take it off.

Switch Friend Code: SW - 1286-0025-9138

If nothing else Nintendo can afford to focus on just its own stuff and profit: outside of the Wii U and V.B I don't think any console or handheld has caused a net loss for them. But I do think that Third parties have more of an issue with Nintendo than the other way around at this point. I we need a list of 'games that could easily run on the Switch and make money that aren't on it' again?

The Democratic Nintendo that a paradox? I'm fond of one of the more conservative companies in the industry, but I vote Liberally and view myself that way 90% of the time?