The Nintendo Switch has been a monstrous success so far, far exceeding and surpassing the hopes and guesses of even the most optimistic- but one thing that has been rather curious to observe has been the relative paucity of Japanese third party content on the system. Given the success of the 3DS in the country, and how much support it found from third parties there, one would have thought Japanese third party support would be a given- and yet, so far, major Japanese third parties, such as Capcom, Level-5, and Bandai Namco, have been curiously muted in their support for the hybrid console.
As it turns out, they expected the Switch to bomb, and were therefore unwilling to commit to it beyond cautious, token support at best- and now that the numbers are coming in, they are scrambling to ready their games for the system. Speaking to The Wall Street Journal (via Game Informer), Hirozaku Hamamura, chief executive of Japanese game-magazine publisher Gzbrain (which publishes Famitsu), and known for having extremely accurate insider knowledge, has confirmed that third party games for the Switch will be coming a bit later because everyone was caught off-guard by just how successful it has been.
Narrowing down a window for when third party games on the system might be expected, he said that the earliest ones will start showing up in 2019, given the more complex nature of game development- which means that for 2018, the Switch will coast by on Nintendo’s own games, indie game support, surprisingly stronger than expected third party support from western developers, and some Japanese support. That shouldn’t be so bad- the Switch has done fine so far on the back of those kinds of games. But no doubt that Japanese developers can’t hop on board with Nintendo’s hybrid quick enough.