Speaking Level: Is Nintendo Making As Many Video games As It Used To?

Wii U Games© Nintendo Life

Somewhat over seven years in the past, Nintendo made a giant, however understated transfer that will go on to have an unlimited influence on its future: it unified its handheld and console divisions. On the time, this simply appeared like a transfer that will enable the 2 sorts of growth groups to raised share concepts and growth assets, however there have been additionally rumours floating about that instructed the corporate was doing this to gear up for a brand new unified {hardware} idea. Some anticipated this could imply a hybrid sort of {hardware}, whereas others predicted that video games can be made which might play on each a hypothetical future Nintendo console or handheld. As it might occur, each teams ended up being proper, in a approach. Nintendo formally unveiled the Change itself a bit over three years after the merging of its divisions, whereas it unveiled the Change Lite a few 12 months in the past.

The transfer to a single platform was largely lauded as the fitting one, given each the corporate’s then-recent struggles with residence console recreation growth, and the truth that Nintendo handhelds had all the time been the strongest pillar of its enterprise. One of many (many) causes that the Wii U failed was as a result of prolonged ‘droughts’ between notable releases; vital third events releases have been all however non-existent on the platform and the Huge N was nonetheless determining pump video games out persistently in HD.

Thus, it was surmised that having all Nintendo growth employees engaged on one platform would absolutely imply that the amount and growth workflow of recent video games can be significantly elevated and improved. In the course of the newest Nintendo shareholder briefing, President Shuntaro Furukawa even echoed this sentiment in one among his responses. When describing why he believes the Change has been constructing such nice momentum he stated:

…The second issue is that Nintendo’s growth assets are focused on growing content material for a single platform, Nintendo Change.

Switch, Lite & Games Flatlay© Nintendo Life

The important thing factor right here, nonetheless, is that it appears loads of followers as soon as believed the concentrated growth assets would end in a denser and extra constant stream of recent, distinct video games. For instance, wanting again at this text posted shortly after the Change’s reveal, many feedback reference an expectation that the Change can be receiving successfully double the quantity of video games of a typical Nintendo residence console. The considering behind this was that each one of these video games that would exist on a hypothetical handheld gadget would now be produced on the Change as a substitute, thus padding out the discharge calendar.

Now that we’re comfortably a number of years into the Change’s lifespan, the query then is that this: Has Nintendo really met these lofty expectations, or have been they misguided?

For the needs of this investigation, we determined to tally up each recreation Nintendo was a part of from the Wii U/3DS period and evaluate these numbers with what we have now now within the Change period. To maintain the checklist centered, we went with video games that Nintendo each printed and had some vital degree of involvement in growth. A superb instance of this could be the Mario & Luigi collection, which has all the time been developed by Alphadream, an exterior studio not owned by Nintendo. One other one can be Bayonetta 2, which was developed by Platinum Video games, however financed and partially overseen by Nintendo.

Even so, we have not included each recreation that Nintendo printed, as many titles have been third-party video games that have been merely promoted by the corporate in particular areas. Good examples of this could be the Yo-Kai Watch collection or the Bravely Default video games, each of which have been printed by Nintendo within the West, however wouldn’t be thought of part of Nintendo’s personal slate.

Moreover, launch dates have been decided by the primary time a recreation was made obtainable on the market for the primary time. More often than not, video games got here out in Japan first, however there have been a number of stragglers that noticed a Western launch first, through which case, we recorded that launch date.

We pulled our numbers from these curated lists on Wikipedia which word seemingly each recreation launched for every Nintendo system. And whereas, sure, a publicly changeable website like Wikipedia actually does have its pitfalls, we dare you to discover a extra thorough and properly-sourced checklist of each recreation ever made for a Nintendo platform.

That each one being stated, the numbers are as follows:

3DS video games

3DS Stack© Nintendo Life
Yr Variety of 3DS video games launched by Nintendo
2011 13
2012 15
2013 10
2014 8
2015 21
2016 16
2017 14
2018 6
2019 1
Complete: 104

Wii U Video games

Wii U© Nintendo
Yr Variety of Wii U video games launched by Nintendo
2012 4
2013 13
2014 12
2015 10
2016 8
2017 1
Complete: 48

Wii U/3DS Video games Mixed

Yr Variety of Wii U and 3DS video games launched by Nintendo
2011 13
2012 19
2013 23
2014 20
2015 31
2016 24
2017 15
2018 6
2019 1
Complete: 152

Change Video games

Yr Variety of Change video games launched by Nintendo
2017 11
2018 18
2019 19
2020 (thus far) 9
Complete: 57

So, to research this a bit, we’ll begin with the Wii U. For the primary 4 years of its existence and following the standards we set, Nintendo was credited with thirty-nine Wii U releases. The Change has had fifty-seven in that very same window, though we’ll concede that the Wii U solely launched on the very finish of 2012 and thus didn’t get the total 12 months. To account for this, we knocked off each Change recreation that launched earlier than October of 2017 and the outcome nonetheless comes out to forty-nine video games for Change.

On the hand-held facet of issues, forty-six video games have been launched for 3DS’ first 4 years available on the market. We might drop that to forty-five if we solely embody video games that launched up until July 2014, however the concession we gave to the Wii U doesn’t apply right here because the 3DS and Change each launched within the first quarter of their respective years. Both approach, the Change once more comes out forward because it’s seen fifty-seven Nintendo video games to this point, and that quantity is prone to go up a bit as we nonetheless have half of this 12 months to go.

Thus, from a uncooked numbers perspective, the Change has overwhelmed the 3DS and Wii U when evaluating Nintendo releases in related time frames, however that doesn’t give the total image. We’d argue that the 3DS and Wii U needs to be thought of collectively, as the 2 collectively represented the total ‘Nintendo expertise’ for any fan throughout that point and we now get that very same expertise by means of just one outlet, reasonably than two.


Now, particulars about particular growth timelines aren’t public data, so it’s unimaginable to know precisely when Nintendo started growth of the primary Wii U video games, and we’ll by no means understand how that affected ongoing 3DS growth, monetarily or in uncooked manpower. Even so, to make the comparability a bit fairer, we determined to attract strains at November 2012—when the Wii U launched and Nintendo thus turned a two-console firm for that technology—and at July 2015 (the tip of our corresponding 34-month interval right here in 2020). Bearing this in thoughts, the Change soundly loses, as its rely of fifty-seven video games doesn’t maintain as much as the collective eighty-one video games that the 3DS and Wii U delivered within the 2012-2015 interval that we’ve outlined.

So, in a nutshell, Nintendo has not developed/printed as many video games on the Change because it had finished when the 3DS and the Wii U have been the one supported {hardware}.

What will we do with this data? Nicely, it places to mattress the concept that Nintendo has been outputting the identical quantity of video games, because it most actually hasn’t. That twenty-four recreation deficit between Change releases and Wii U/3DS releases is larger than what Nintendo averaged per 12 months when it was supporting each these older platforms. In different phrases, we’ve missed out on roughly a 12 months or two of hypothetical video games that will have doubtlessly launched if Nintendo have been at the moment supporting two platforms and caught to its earlier launch tempo delivering video games of the identical technological degree.

In fact, it’s not all about uncooked numbers. On the finish of the day, all that basically issues is how glad we’re with the Change library because it stands. And whereas, sure, Nintendo might not be placing out video games as a lot because it used to, we even have a considerably increased quantity of main third-party releases and indies on the Change to compensate.

Nonetheless, we’re curious what you concentrate on this. Do you would like Nintendo nonetheless had separate residence and handheld console strains? Have you ever been glad with its output for the Change? What do you consider the Change’s library thus far? Share your ideas within the feedback beneath.

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