Nintendo Open To “Unprecedented” Third-Party Partnerships For Wii U

By Ishaan . June 13, 2012 . 12:01pm

At an analyst Q&A session following Nintendo’s E3 media briefing last week, company president, Satoru Iwata, fielded a range of questions pertaining to both the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, and Nintendo’s plans for both devices. During the Q&A, one analyst asked if Nintendo planned on using their considerable financial resources to secure exclusive third-party games for the Wii U.


“While Nintendo is not entirely opposed to exploring that option, I don’t think it would be an appropriate course of action for Nintendo to get into a battle with a company like Microsoft over the cost or the expense of trying to go head to head in a situation to try to obtain exclusive rights,” Iwata stated in reply to this query.


However, Iwata continued, Nintendo would be willing to work very closely with third-party developers who came up with unique ways to use the Wii U.


“However, now we have a totally new device, the Wii U GamePad,” Iwata pointed out. “If a third-party developer or publisher has come up with an idea of a potentially very unique use of the Wii U functionality with such a device, there is a high possibility that Nintendo will be a partner with that third party in an unprecedented manner (thereby reducing their development risk significantly). I do intend to work hard so that next year you will not criticize Nintendo’s use of its resources.”


Iwata has made similar comments regarding relations with third-party developers creating games for the Nintendo 3DS as well. Late last year, he stated that he felt the 3DS presented a “great opportunity” for Japanese game publishers to expand their market outside of Japan. In order to support this, he shared, Nintendo would identify third-party 3DS titles with strong overseas potential and would collaborate with their publishers to turn these games into hits.


A few examples of third-party collaborations already exist on the Wii U—Nintendo will be publishing Tecmo Koei’s Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge and TT Games’ Lego City: Undercover in the west. They’re also publishing PlatinumGames’ Project P-100, directed by Bayonetta designer, Hideki Kamiya.

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  • Lightthrower

    That’s what they say each time they make a new console! Oh you’ll see, this time it won’t be like the Nintendo 64, we’ll have 3rd party! Oh you’ll see, this time it won’t be like the Gamecube, we’ll have tons of 3rd party! And each time the 3rd party games are non-existant or they suck…

    • Nintendo DS third-party support was pretty stellar, and 3DS looks to be the same. The Wii definitely suffered, though, and they need to work hard on turning that around for Wii U, yes.

      • neo_firenze

         I do see Lightthrower’s point though, this DOES sound like the exact same thing we’ve heard Nintendo say before about the Gamecube and Wii.  Fool me once, etc…

        DS may have a wholly different reason for the strong 3rd party support – namely, in the wake of the PS2 era, the costs of developing a title for the next generation of consoles dramatically increased, leaving the DS as the more feasible platform for certain budgets.  Then again, Wii was also cheaper than the 360/PS3 competition and to a large extent 3rd parties still jumped ship on Wii other than family/exercise/dance games.

        Guess we’ll see, but I think we’ve all seen enough from the past few generations of Nintendo home consoles that a healthy skepticism is warranted when we hear these comments.

        • Agreed. I was a little put off by the fact that Reggie gave their E3 conference, too. I would have liked for Iwata to do it, personally. It would have made me feel more reassured about the Wii U, as Iwata is the reason I have such faith in the 3DS. 

          He’s clearly very involved with the 3DS’ development and has his finger on the pulse regarding what is required of it. In contrast, Miyamoto has been the one talking up Wii U so far, and that honestly worries me. Hopefully, we hear more from Iwata in the months to come, since Miyamoto being associated too closely with any piece of hardware makes me feel like it will be unnecessarily unwieldy and inconvenient to use.

          (Of course, I realize that Miyamoto isn’t the one in charge of developing the Wii U, just like the 3DS, but it’s a matter of perception. Also, I figure they probably wanted an American/native English speaker giving their E3 conference, but I guess to people like us, hearing from Iwata himself is more important, since we’re all aware that Reggie simply does what he’s told.)

      • XYZ_JolteonZ980

        What are the fruits of their 3DS third party support in the US? Most people still seem to be in the state of waiting for the next Nintendo title with not much else to play. And the games arent really helping the 3DS met stellar sells month to month, or at least stellar enough for Nintendo to feel confident in releasing sales numbers.

        • Kingdom Hearts, Theathrythm and Heroes of Ruin are all coming next month. Purely from a support standpoint, I would say those are significant games. This fall also has Castlevania and Epic Mickey.

          They also have at least one good original Nintendo eShop release every 30-40 days or so. I agree, they could still do a MUCH better job, but they’re getting there.

          As for sales, yes, that is most definitely a problem. New Super Mario Bros. 2 will be the next step in trying to resolve that problem. Hopefully it helps.

    • puchinri

      I think each console has pretty good third party support, and some definitely more so than others, but I guess it’s a question of quality versus quantity a lot of the time. I definitely don’t think it boils down to them being non-existent or sucking though. I’m sure they’re non-existent as far  as how niche/mainstream they are (or how visible to the public), but they’re not lacking them as terribly as people think. (And I have my handful for every console, Ninty or no, that I adore.)

      At the end of the day though, what matters is that they are supporting their words and it shows. And so far, it seems to the case. Lets hope it continues that way~.

    • eilegz

      And thats a big issue, looking at wii and gc there was third party support, remember capcom support for GC was stellar, but other than that its lacking, SE released an spinoff of FF which its not that great. konami almost ignored the console.

      With the wii, since its not a multiplatform friendly console, third party developers developed a niche game that didnt do anything good because its too weird, look at spyborg, zack and wiki, madworld, etc… resulted in ports of last gen consoles withh wii motion controllers tacked in. even nintendo own games haved issue with wiimote and gameplay wise the wiimote its just not good for classic games in the end affeted the quality of the console with shovelware and fast cash in games.

      With the wii u nintendo its playing catch up, but if its not future proof the history will repeat itself… nintendo its correcting at least, with a proper normal controller for those developers to do game and dont want to do anything with the tablet or motion controller. its improving online, make it current multiplatform friendly which its why western developers its making games like assasin creed 3. late ports its good but wont help them.

  • SetzerGabbiani

    This time they don’t really have a choice.  Maybe they could ignore 3rd parties in the past, but the competition is much more fierce now than it was in the past.  The downside to this is that the Wii U might become a 3rd party FPS box (for profitability sake) like the Xbox 360 is…that’s totally unacceptable in my view.

    • FitzpatrickPhillips

      “Wii U might become a 3rd party FPS box”
      God I hope not but it seems likely.

      • I agree, we do not need another 3rd party FPS box. However, with how the gaming market is working nowadays, that seems to be the only genre that truly sells.

        Hopefully though, the allure of having Nintendo partner up (to whatever extent they’re willing to) with the 3rd party devs to make great Wii U exclusives will be tempting enough for them so that we see more interesting games in the life of the system.

    • kylehyde

      Actually I think it was more that most of the 3rd parties ignored nintendo home consoles.

      • boundries_san

        Well, i still believe that third party developers still had the mindset that 3rd party title will always be overshadowed by Nintendo product here.T_T

    • Yeah that’s all the 360 has going for it.  I’m gonna go play some Akai Katana, Tales of Vesperia and Fez, my 3 favorite FPS games of the generation

  • SirRichard

    At least they know not to compete over exclusives and instead foster the growth of them naturally, that’s good. It didn’t quite work for Microsoft, especially not when the likes of Namco turned around and released a PS3 version with more content later on (in one region, sure, but that’s the region Vesperia would’ve helped them most in).

    That second-last paragraph likely partly explains why Nintendo of Europe have been incredible as of late; they saw the potential in Xenoblade et al, and knew that the Wii desperately needed something to fill the gaps. And even before then, NOE published Monster Hunter Tri and handled the (rather extensive!) ad campaign themselves. More of that, fellas, please!

    • kylehyde

      I really wish that NOA would have that logic years ago, but it appears that they don’t have one, meanwhile NOE was pubishing Xenoblade, NOA published two mini-games compillations (yeah, I’m pretty sure that it was NOA that time and not ubisoft) to try to fill the gap.

      • Vampiric

         NOA has the same logic

        xenoblade was done by noa as well just later

        • kylehyde

          Yeah, later, a lot later.

          After many of the persons interested made modifications on their Wii’s for play the european copy. After an intense campaign of people that never desisted. And still, I dare to say that aside of operation rainfall, gamestop was the one that was more interested in bringing this game to America, even more than NOA themselves.

          • Vampiric

             they would of done it without the campaign

            NOA has done more rpgs this gen thn any other

          • kylehyde

            NOA only publish, they don’t develop any product. And even in publishing RPG’s companies like Atlus surpasses the number of RPG’s published by NOA.

          • Vampiric


            noa has published about 20 more this gen than atlus

      • XYZ_JolteonZ980

        Well the game, Xenoblade, didn’t really bust the sales charts here in a way to make headline news, so it probably wasnt that illogical to avoid it.

        • kylehyde

          neither the games that they choose to publish during the same time that NOE published xenoblade. Also Xenoblade was limited to be sold only on gamestop and their own store.

  • Mago Iichi

    Microsoft has more money than Nintendo, of course they’d win with Money Hatting, but that’s not always true seeing as how the 360’s install base in japan is laughable.

  • kylehyde

    I just hope that this partnership extends beyond the development and that they could help to publish many good titles in all their regions and not only 2 of them.

  • XYZ_JolteonZ980

    It seems like a risk for third parties to take. Develop exclusive title for the Wii U and avoid the other two platforms thereby eliminating profits from a much larger base of potential customers and chances for making continuing money with DLC doesnt seem wise even if they are paying for development. Actually it hardly ever seems wise for a third party to go exclusive, what if they made a trilogy for the device, then they are stuck unable to extend beyond that platform with a title that could meet greater reception outside of that box. What if Wii U doesnt sell that well anyway, then well thats not good either. 

    This seems like something they should do after the system is out, or for that matter, Nintendo use the money to generate new IP’s themselves. Make new studios get new talent, they have the money, use it.

    • I think that’s precisely what they’ll do, judging by their recent habits. They’ve built up a “family” of external developers that they’re close to, both in the west and in Japan, and these people appear to consistently be working on various projects for them. 

      Just off the top of my head, they’ve got: Next Level Games, Monster Games, Ganbarion, Grezzo, Arika, Treasure, AQ Interactive (now Marvelous AQL), Tecmo Koei.

  • boundries_san

    hmmm… While what iwata said has its point, till now, I still believe that exclusive third party title is an important thing that can help selling consoles.

    Sega consoles previously also had difficult time to attract fans as how little support and exclusive from the third party.

    • That can be a double-edge sword as well… One good example is Tales of Vesperia.. When Namco Bandai announced Vesperia to be released for the Xbox 360 exclusively… The console did sold a little more than the PS3 at that time but I heard Vesperia did not sell well and thus put the Tales Studio out of commission…

      The third-party titles need something else to entice people to buy WiiU though… Like AC3, I saw the gameplay, features and what it can do but there’s nothing different compared to PS3/360 except the gamepad acts as an inventory menu…. I rather get it for the PS3 than to buy another console just for a different way to play…

      • boundries_san

        Which is why i said exclusive titles is more important here considering exclusive usually will utilize one conoles to the maximum capabilities and also attract new fans to buy the consoles here.

        • But as a PS3/360 owner, what reasons do you have to buy a WiiU except First-party titles and the gimmicky gamepads???

          • boundries_san

            P1000? Exclusive from Platinum games?^^

          • I was expecting Pikman 3 but P1000??? 0.o

            Never been interested in that game.. Sorry but Nintendo needs something else to make me wanna go out and buy a WiiU… (-_-;)

          • Monolith JRPG, possible Mistwalker JRPG, possible Ganbarion JRPG. But what I worried is the localization.

          • Yeah… I’ll wait until they really announce those JRPGs….

      • boundries_san

        While you can said it can be Double edged sword here. It is good for Nintendo here even though if the game does not sells, it can damage the third party company.

        Which is why Nintendo here should kinda help advertising those exclusive titles to increase the sales here.

        Anyway isn’t Zombie U is also Wii U exclusive here?

        • Once it has already done damage to the third-party company, that said company could stay away from Nintendo more than 2-3 years or so… Thus Ninty lost a support…

          Unless the game Ninty is involved, the game won’t be receiving any advertisment help from Ninty…

          There was a news article stating that Zombie U “could” go multiplatform….

          • boundries_san

            Thats the main problem here but exclusive is indeed an importrant aspects tht Nintendo must consider to attract more gamer buying their games and maintaning steady software sells. And if you also noticed, 360 now also don’t really had many third party exclusive titles anymore. It is either moving to Sony or Nintendo now.

            About Ninty supports, They does support but not the NoA. If you remember Monster Hunter Tri for Wii is release with most of NoE help. Not to mention, NoE is also quite aggresive in planting lots of support on 3DS system there.

            And about Zombie U, i thought Ubisoft mention that at this point of time they are still focusing for Wii U?(While they do consider some chances for the game to go multiplatform, don’t they will also need to come out with a new title for the game there?)

          • Joanna

            “Unless the game Ninty is involved, the game won’t be receiving any advertisment help from Ninty…”

            That’s not true. They’ve helped quite a few third parties market their games outside Japan. Dragon Quest IX’s extensive campaign comes to mind. Sir Richard mentioned another example: Monster Hunter Tri. They also publish (and advertised) third party games like Last Story and Pandora’s Tower, which is a way of actually helping developers as (depending on the contract) they are either paying for development or splitting profits (while paying for the actual boxes, CDs, shipping, advertising, etc). I’m inclined to believe Last Story was funded by Nintendo given how the interviews with Iwata play out (e.g. Nintendo checking up on Last Story throughout development). Not to mention their recent campaign to be more friendly to all third parties: mentioning third party games in Nintendo Direct presentations, on the eshop, giving out club nintendo points with third party games (that Nintendo will have to pay out of their pocket to fulfill any rewards that the members redeem with those points). They didn’t do any of this before. I think it’s pretty safe to say that they are pretty serious about this and that your statement that non-Nintendo games don’t receive advertisement help is false.

  • Umar heartless

    i think that it needs a certain type of balance between third-party exclusives (or ports) and first party. we all know that nintendo first party games are extremely lucrative. but bring in some major titles as well like AC or COD (amongst others) along with that , when the console is released, just to bring in that core community,by then, once the console is more established, third party companies will feel more secure in taking an exclusive risk ,combined with nintendo exclusives and then you have a beast of a machine . a machine that has mario and core third party games will be a killer!!

  • Jirin

    Wait, you mean having games that people want to play on your system besides the latest installment of your own star franchises is a good thing?

    Nintendo’s done pretty well for itself being the ‘casual players’ system, more oriented at party games and games oriented at a younger audience.  I don’t think they want to get too far away from that, because I’m not sure they can compete with Sony and Microsoft for games that appeal to older, more hardcore players.

    Getting a head start in the next gen market will help, but they also got a head start with the Wii.

  • theoriginaled

    He acts like the ds 3ds and wii arent filled to the brim with a list of 3rd party shovelware.

  • i think the non-compatible input ruined the Wii more the “last gen” graphics. The PS2 was popular and it was the least powerful of the three consoles.

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