Report: Japanese Third Parties Unconvinced Of The Switch Are Now Scrambling
The Wall Street Journal, in their reporting on Nintendo's recent financial report that released today, talked to Hirozaku Hamamura, chief executive of Japanese game-magazine publisher Gzbrain (which owns magazines like Famitsu). Hamamura, who is known equally for both extensive insider knowledge about the Japanese gaming industry and his loose lips about the same Japanese gaming industry, told WSJ that big games were coming to Switch much later because third parties were surprised by its success.
Specifically, Hamamura says that a lot of heavy hitters one would expect to come to Switch won't be there until 2019, due to the prolonged nature of game development and the dawning realization that the system was not going to be another Wii U over the last seven months.
Most notably, Capcom, a publisher who had long been an ally of Nintendo's through both successful and unsuccessful consoles, had been suspiciously absent from the Switch. The near-launch Ultra Street Fighter II sold well despite being criticized as overpriced, and the only follow-ups from the company have been ports of Monster Hunter from a previously-released 3DS game and ports of the two Resident Evil Revelations games.
A Capcom spokesperson quoted in the article explained that getting out software for systems in its first year of launch is rare for third-party developers because there simply isn't enough time to release games within the first year. Capcom developed and published Dead Rising 3 on the Xbox One for its launch.
One third party who got on board quickly with the Switch, Koei Tecmo, struck a somewhat boastful tone last week during a press conference. From the WSJ article:
“We bet big on the Switch as a game changer so we began making games before the Switch’s launch, but many software companies showed reluctance in releasing Switch games before they witnessed the current success,” said Yoichi Erikawa, chief executive at Koei Tecmo.
[Source: Wall Street Journal]
It is difficult to blame third parties for being skittish on the Switch after so many got burned on the Wii U, but any developer hoping a game in 2019 does as well as a game within the first year of launch when there's no brand courting going on is going to end up burned again.