I have had a thought bouncing around my head this past while, and as the title suggests its, ‘Should Nintendo start publishing on other consoles’? This would consist of Nintendo financing titles to come to the marketplace on their own primary consoles as well as the competitors.
Nintendo has a long history of obtaining 2nd party studios to become fully under Nintendo’s wing and financing 3rd party projects either brand new or with an established Nintendo franchise to bring these games to Nintendo systems. But I would like to think about how would the gaming community react to Nintendo financing games to appear on a Microsoft or Sony system.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying Nintendo should become 3rd party like Sega has, and as many industry pundits call for time upon time. Rather than base their opinion on business strategy and financial opportunities they call for it because A) They don’t like Nintendo systems because they are viewed as “toys” and B) They love Nintendo games but don’t want to play them on Nintendo systems. I would firmly believe that the Gaming Industry would be seriously hurt by Nintendo becoming a software only company and leave the hardware game, they bring a certain audience to the ‘blue ocean’ and without their systems there is a good chance that they wouldn’t invest their money into this industry. I love Nintendo games and yes I have often thought about how Nintendo would convert the game to the other consoles, but I think I will know when Nintendo get there themselves if its a direction they are going (HD for instance), then again this is also not what this post is about. No, Nintendo games will always be Nintendo games, I am not saying that they should start publishing their games on other systems. This is a financing angle and profitability from diversification.
Whether through a Nintendo Publishing Partnership scheme, or through a new subsidiary Nintendo could start to finance 3rd party studios to develop games on a multi-platform basis. These would be new IP’s or existing IP’s with an established audience over a range of platforms. The idea would be to fund the development, maybe assist like they are on Bayonetta 2 having Nintendo developers working on the game with Platinum Games, and reap the rewards of profitability from having the games available to a wider audience which would be indicative of higher sales and revenue streams.
Now there would be some standard caveats that I think would be beneficial to Nintendo to put into place on a standard agreement to this.
- Nintendo would retain any if not all rights to the future of the IP
- Their primary systems would be the lead development systems
- A timed exclusive to the current primary systems would be required (Though not excessive, upto 6 months I think would be acceptable depending on review/reception)
- They always retain the right to stop production on multi-platform development into an exclusive title
Bringing these games to Nintendo consoles through a partnership program ensures that there is always going to be the 3rd party content that sometimes can be overly lacking on Nintendo systems with developers gravitating towards the graphics race and the hardcore nuts. But it would also spread the risk from investing in these franchises across 3 platforms (currently Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, maybe 4 if you were to include Apple for handheld), of course there is the increased cost of localisation of the game to many platforms as well as many regions. This could be averted by the already existing localisation teams that Nintendo already has in place across the regions and working in multi-platform scaling that is already finding itself a basic feature of many modern games engines.
Maybe if Nintendo had already thought of a strategic advantage to this plan Bayonetta 2 could have been a multi-platform title, but then again with the launch of a new console I would see more benefit to it being an exclusive. In the future it could be possible, Nintendo has always stated that they are a hardware company and will always retain first party titles as exclusives, but this doesn’t rule out the chance of publishing agreements for non-Nintendo created IP’s. At least in my mind.