As the Nintendo Switch cements its position as a viable long term gaming platform, and a platform that sells a lot of hardware and software, and on which third parties have found a lot of success, the question arises: will third party AAA games come to the system? And if they do, will they ever launch in a meaningfully equivalent time frame to other platforms?
It’s a good question to ask- currently, multiplatform games either skip the Switch, or come to it months later. However, Panic Button, who have actually been involved in bringing several major multiplatform games to the system themselves, from Rocket League to DOOM and the upcoming Wolfenstein, that time period may shrink going forward.
“If you look at DOOM which was finished and shipped to people when development started for the Nintendo Switch version, and that game comes out sixteen months later for Switch. then you see Wolfenstein II, where we get involved as the game is in development and almost done, this game comes out less than eight months after releasing. I see that window shrinking all the time for those publishers and developers who are planning on Switch at the outset,” said Panic Button general manager and co-founder Adam Creighton in an interview with MCV.
According to him, a lot of this will come down to publishers taking the Switch more seriously, and accounting for it in their development plans from the outset, rather than having to hastily accommodate it midway into development, which is what leads to delayed releases.
“I think what’s interesting is that it has to be a prioritization for the publisher and developer,” he said. “For me I want these companies to look at the Nintendo Switch as an equal platform that they release on as they release their game and the earlier they get either internal teams or external outfits like Panic Button involved, the higher the chance we’re going to get day and date parity for big releases.”
Whether or not this happens remains to be seen- the Switch is a reasonably easy platform to port to, and it has clearly demonstrated the ability to move third party software. However, there may be many games that can’t be made to run on it at an acceptable level, or which require persistent online connectivity which the system’s handheld nature can’t accommodate- so who knows, really. The Switch’s future with third parties will be fascinating to see in the coming months.