Is Nintendo Better Without Third-Party Games?

Mario and Luigi
Image courtesy of alexas_fotos via Flickr

There have always been 3 kinds of game developers.

  1. First-party games – Made by the console’s manufacturer (Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft)
  2. Second-party games – Made by studios who are contracted or partially owned by the console’s manufacturer
  3. Third-party games – Made by independent studios who license the rights to release games for a particular console.
Nintendo Switch
Image courtesy of ant2506 via Pixabay

From this long-time gamer’s perspective, first party games are better.

Second party games are hit or miss.

There are lot’s of third party games, but there are more misses than hits.

High-quality first party games are expensive and time consuming to make, so for decades it seemed that consoles needed third party studios to add bulk and variety to their system’s lineup.

But maybe no longer.

Brad Wardell is the CEO of Stardock Corporation, a game development company focusing mostly on PC strategy games. In an interview with GamingBolt he states,

“Nintendo doesn’t arguably need third party. You think about the Mario games, Zelda, I mean, there’s plenty there. I mean, if it was a $1000 game system, maybe I’d care. But as it stands now, there is plenty to play with on the Switch, that’s just fine.

No, [we] probably [will] not [support the Switch]. It’s too different than any of the others, and there isn’t a lot of- I haven’t seen a lot of third party success stories on the more recent Nintendo hardware. Nintendo, is a great market for Nintendo, but I haven’t seen a lot of huge hits made by non Nintendo studios.”

How true that is. Over the last 30 years Nintendo has focused on building franchise games, and they’ve done a damn fine job of it.

Let’s run through some of their franchises… Mario, Mario Cart, Mario Party, Mario RPG, Yoshi, Wario, Super Smash Bros, Donkey Kong, Kirby, The Legend of Zelda, Pokémon, Animal Crossing, Fire Emblem, Earthbound (Mother), F-Zero, Golden Sun, Kid Icarus, Metroid, Pikmin, Punch-Out, and Star Fox. Whew, that’s a lot.

Nintendo don’t need no stinkin 3rd parties.

Wii, Wii U, and Switch have sold well with their core lineup, supplemented with some good indie games, like the upcoming Axiom Verge on Switch. Honestly, if third party devs stopped working with Nintendo altogether, I might not even notice.

Are there any third party Nintendo games worth mentioning? Comment below.



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