If you were worried that the Nintendo Switch may not get support from third parties, the following factoid might put some of those concerns at ease. Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima said during this week’s financial briefing that there are currently more than 100 games in development for the Switch. That represents a fairly significant increase from the number of games that were in development when Nintendo held its Switch presentation in January.
Back on January 13, Kimishima says, there were only around 80 games in development for the Switch. Around 50 developers were making those titles, but now that number has grown to 70 developers making more than 100 games. That’s a pretty large number, but Nintendo didn’t delve into specifics, which begs an important question.
Just how many of these games are new titles and how many of them are ports of existing games? Obviously, a new console is going to have some existing titles ported over near launch, but knowing the ratio of new games to ports could be very telling. The same thing happened with the Wii U – many of the console’s launch titles were ports, leaving little in the way of new games for early adopters to buy.
However, there’s a big difference between the Wii U and the Switch, and that difference is Nintendo. While Nintendo’s big first-party titles didn’t start showing up until months after the Wii U had launched, Nintendo will be supporting the Switch from the get-go with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Beyond that, there are a handful of first-party Nintendo titles launching within 2017, including Super Mario Odyssey and Splatoon 2.
Shortly after that aforementioned Switch presentation, I complained that Nintendo wasn’t doing enough to make sure it had its big franchises available on the Switch from the beginning. Kimishima explained why Nintendo’s first-party games are spread out over the first year instead of launching closer to the console’s release.
“Our thinking in arranging the 2017 software lineup is that it is important to continue to provide new titles regularly without long gaps,” Kimishima told investors. “This encourages consumers to continue actively playing the system, maintains buzz, and spurs continued sales momentum for Nintendo Switch.”
That makes some degree of sense, and so far, the strategy of putting big-name games further out into 2017 doesn’t seem to be hurting. Switch pre-orders are very hard (if not impossible) to come by at the moment, though Nintendo says that it will ramp up production to get as much stock ready as possible. In this financial address, Nintendo said that its goal is still to ship 2 million Switch units by the end of March, so we’ll see if it can achieve that. Stay tuned.