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Published:March 2nd, 2014 22:11 EST
How Would Nintendo Do As A Third-Party Game Developer?

How Would Nintendo Do As A Third-Party Game Developer?

By Derek Sanders

While Sony`s Playstation 4 and Microsoft`s Xbox One have been receiving a lot of media attention and high sales numbers since their release in late 2013, the same cannot be said about the third major console this generation, the Nintendo Wii U. The successor to the Wii, one of the most successful video game consoles to date, the Wii U has been failing to grab the attention of the public. Many issues have been stated including a lack of awareness about the console, confusion about it new GamePad controller, the machine`s technical aspects not being as powerful as Sony`s or Microsoft`s consoles, a lack of quality third-party games available.  

Some of the more negative individuals among the gaming community think that this console`s lack of sales will be enough to put them in serious financial trouble. This is ignoring that a recent financial report that stated that Nintendo currently has over $10 billion and no debt. Not to mention they have had experience having the last place console with the Nintendo 64 and the GameCube. So, if the Wii U proves to be unable to recover, Nintendo can simply try again in a few years. However, this round of doubt about Nintendo`s future has brought up a question that several gamers have thought about in passing.

What if what happened to Sega happened to Nintendo and they had no choice but to try selling their games on other consoles? How would Nintendo`s games be received on other platforms? 

While many gamers would be excited to play some of Nintendo`s games on an Xbox or Playstation console, some doubt that these properties would fit well on a non-Nintendo console. As pop-culture critic Moviebob stated, as video game development has changed over the years, gaming has essentially split into different camps. These camps are completely different from each other as far as style, tone, and gameplay are concerned, like opposite sides of a spectrum.  

On one side, anything with deep or innovative controls or challenging gameplay elements has to be dark, gritty, serious, and realistic and is mainly aimed at teenage boys and adult men looking for entertainment that works as an example of how mature or manly they are. This would include games like Call of Duty, God of War, and Grand Theft Auto. On the other side, anything with a light, colorful, playful, or fanciful style has to have easier, simpler controls, be non-challenging, and primarily target young kids or people who don`t really play games for more than a few minutes at a time. This includes games like Candy Crush, Angry Birds, and the now-defunct Flappy Bird. 

Exceptions can be made for sports and racing games, because they can easily appeal to both children and adults, but for the most part, many games that do not fit into either of these categories are passed over. This could be due to the perception about kiddie games ", the thought that all games that have lighthearted art styles are meant for kids, and as such, are not challenging. Three examples of games that received this treatment are Monster Tale, Zack & Wiki, and Viva Piñata. These games had deep and challenging gameplay while also having a lighthearted, fanciful tone and setting. None of those three games sold well. It is likely that younger players found them too complicated and older players made their judgment simply on the art style. 

However, a game is not guaranteed to sell just because it is a mature game. In 2006, Konami and Hudson Soft released Bomberman: Act Zero for the Xbox 360, a mature take on the normally lighthearted Bomberman series. It received a large amount of negative reception, though one frequently stated critique was that it strayed too far from the look and feel of the original games and one person described it as having "generic, gritty brushed-metal-and-armor heroes". Today, it is widely regarded as one of the worst games for the 360. 

Nintendo`s franchises have existed outside of this evolution for such a long time that they may not fit well in either of these camps. Many of Nintendo`s titles, like Super Mario, Pikmin, Kirby, and Pokemon, do not fit either of the extremes in this spectrum of game design, yet they are still well-received, highly anticipated games. With Nintendo`s long history of making successful titles, some gamers are able to look past the tone of these games and see them for what they are worth. Not everyone makes this judgment, but enough people do for Nintendo to justify making more of these kinds of games. 

So, how well would Nintendo`s games do on another console? It depends on whether or not gamers can get past perceptions that try to link how a game looks to how much it can offer the player. While some gamers think that games that aren`t mature aren`t worth their time, others would jump at the chance to play Nintendo games on other platforms. While it may not happen anytime soon, if it does happen this would be an issue they would have to deal with to stay in the industry.