“I’ve actually heard from developers that Nintendo is the easiest of the big three to develop for. “
The Nintendo Switch seems to have a truly impressive lineup of third party developers and publishers, all of whom appear to be legitimately excited to support the system. However, the one fear that a lot of Nintendo fans may have is that the system does get a lot of support upfront, but that that support then dies later on, because supporting the Switch requires too much extra resources and development time, without necessarily getting the returns on that investment.
Speaking on SIFTD Games, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter shared his two bits on this situation, noting that no matter what, supporting a new platform requires extra effort- and that that extra effort can be worth it depending on how much extra effort is needed, and the monetary costs involved.
‘There’s no such thing as a direct port without extra effort,” Pachter said. “The only way the developers won’t have to do extra work is if they use exactly the same language. So if Nintendo build it on kind of a PC platform, on Windows, then you can do a direct port. They’re not building it on Windows- I don’t know what they’re doing, but they’re Nintendo. It won’t be on Windows. And they’re not gonna use Sony’s PS4 platform, which is PC based. They won’t use that either. It’s going to be Nintendo’s own platform.
“I’ve actually heard from developers that Nintendo is the easiest of the big three to develop for. The issue is going to be processing power. If the processor is a lot slower and doesn’t use the same configurations or cores, or doesn’t have the same graphics capabilities, they have to do something different. And so the question is, dumb it down? Or bottom up building a brand new game? If the extra work entails building a bottom up brand new game, then no, the Switch will not have third party support, it won’t last, and the console cannot succeed.
“You saw the lineup, I think 30 publishers are supporting the Switch? It’s a big number. I think they had EA, Ubisoft, Take 2, Activision on there, so it has everyone you care about, it has Warner Bros., it as Japanese developers, so the question is, are they supporting it with NBA 2K8 or FIFA 18? That matters. And it’s not going to have FIFA 18 unless the port, like you said, doesn’t involve a lot of extra work, if it can be ported at all for a reasonable cost, the publishers will do it. If they can’t build it without spending a lot of money, they won’t. So that’s the open question, I don’t know.”
A lot of his takes are interesting and fascinating, particularly the bit about Nintendo being the easiest of the Big Three to work with, which is something we have started to hear about a lot lately- have Nintendo truly changed their ways with respect to third parties? Could the Switch hold on to persistent third party support as time goes on? It will be fascinating to see how Nintendo’s new system develops from here.