Why Nintendo Doesn’t Want To Give Its Games To Rivals

Why Nintendo Doesn’t Want To Give Its Games To Rivals

Nintendo games appear on Nintendo hardware. That’s the rule! But is Nintendo’s honcho Satoru Iwata interested in bringing the company’s games to competitors’ consoles? Nope. Here’s why.

When asked by CVG about the chances of Nintendo’s games appearing on rival systems, Iwata replied, “If I was to take responsibility for the company for just the next one or two years, and if I was not concerned about the long-term future of Nintendo at all, it might make sense for us to provide our important franchises for other platforms, and then we might be able to gain some short-term profit.”

Continuing, Iwata added, “However, I’m really responsible for the long-term future of Nintendo as well, so I would never think about providing our precious resources for other platforms at all.”

You want Mario? Zelda? You buy Nintendo hardware. The comments somewhat echo what Iwata previously toldKotaku when he talked about the need for dedicated handheld gaming consoles. Here, though, Iwata means dedicated Nintendo consoles.

The moment Nintendo games start appearing on rival hardware is the moment when Nintendo as we now know it is finished. For good.

Iwata: Nintendo games on rival platforms would only be a short-term fix [CVG]

To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.


  • If there were Nintendo games on other systems, there’d literally be no reason to buy Nintendo hardware anymore. Let’s face it, Nintendo consoles are only good for Nintendo games. Not trying to troll either – definitely not disputing the quality of those Nintendo games, but the Wii, and recently the Wii U have shown us it’s pretty much all Nintendo consoles are good for.

    • This really.

      I have considered Nintendo platforms in the past because of some of the items that Nintendo have up their sleeves that are exclusive to them only. However the problem is that devices like the Wii U are only alive because of them, especially when you see publishers not having many future plans for the platform.

      If Nintendo released their games onto other platforms, I won’t see that as them dying off. Not at all. I would imagine that they would continue just fine with the popularity of Mario, Zelda etc, plus I don’t see them disappearing from the handheld market soon. The only thing will happen is that not many people would buy their consoles. Honestly, its not like they are disappearing from the shelves anyway…..

    • Yeah their competitors have better eco systems to support there platform so you would get the port on your other platform rather than it natively on a Nintendo machine.
      You are not trolling that’s for sure.

    • What I would love to see is third party developers creating Wii U specific IPs based on its strengths. So far they all avoid it for its weaknesses, which is voodoo speak for “it won’t make us as much money”.

      • This. I still maintain ZombiU was the best game I played on the system. The use of the gamepad was fantastic. It actually worked really well without being gimmicky, and the game itself was great as well. Scratched my Demon’s/Dark Souls itch on a Nintendo console. The potential for new and innovative games incorporating the gamepad is pretty damned huge, but no one’s willing to take the risk.

        • Ubisoft did, and ZombieU was apparently a commercial failure. And it was a launch game with a lot of hype.

          In the end, companies are businesses – if another company can’t grow a decent install base, why should they risk anything on it?

          • It’s just about the only good example of innovation and risk taking on the entire console. It’s also less of a risk when the console’s brand new. Real risk is attempting something after the fact.

            I’m not saying they should take the risk either – just a shame they don’t.

          • ZombiU had next to no hype or advertising. Well from Ubisoft, at least.

            Everything I heard about the game and learnt about the game was from other gamers or doing the research myself.

          • Pretty much this…

            Aside from the occasional promo or 2 on release ZombiU had crap all advertising.. a damn shame coz its a great game.

    • Agreed Cody – there would be no incentive to buy a Nintendo device if their games were available on Sony or Microsoft consoles.

    • This is why i wish financial ruin on Nintendo, not so much that they are dead in the water, but enough so that their home consoles are 100% dead, leaving only their hand helds and the few good games are left to run free on better consoles that give better service.

  • Basically I’ve learned that, if we boycott Nintendo completely, they’ll need whatever profits they can get to stay afloat, and we’ll see the games on better systems. Zelda HD on Playstation 4? Yes please!

  • If they can’t replicate the success of the Wii with the Wii U or their next console then they might have to start looking at developing for other consoles. I can’t believe they’d be making much of a profit (if at all) on the Wii U yet, and any hope of gaining profits through software sales will be hindered by slow console sales. Yeah the 3DS is selling well and that’s down to the games, but I don’t think they’ll see millions of people rushing out to buy a Wii U when the next Mario or Zelda is released. It will boost sales a bit, but nothing like they would have a few years ago. They probably have the cash reserves to be this stubborn for a few more years yet, but that’s not going to win them fans

    I’m sure SEGA were saying the same thing about their IPs before they went all tits up

    • I’m convinced if the Wii U tanks then Nintendo will go handheld only probably with some sort of Wireless HDMI connection to get into the console space

    • When all the kids are playing PS4 or xbone, they’ll wonder what the fuck this wiiU shit is, and why it was their grandparents were playing it in the first place. “Is this that ‘8 bit’ you guys keep talking about as being awesome? It looks like ass, I can’t make out anything! I bet it doesn’t even have Rift support!” they’ll say.

  • Haha as soon as I read the title all my thoughts went to: Sega – yeah that happpened

  • It’s obvious without even reading the article that the reason is because its software is the only thing selling the hardware, and thus, keeping the company alive. I know it would be finally admitting defeat if their games started showing up on other platforms but I wouldn’t complain about being able to play Zelda or Super Smash Bros etc on my Xbox.

  • As someone who’s been piling shit on Nintendo for their recent decisions, but who spent last night playing Skyward Sword…. Everything about the WiiU right now makes me sad.

    I want great Nintendo games, I want the quality software that I grew up loving. I don’t want rushed rehashes pushed out to prop up the hardware division, I don’t want games scaled down because the hardware can’t do an open environment at an acceptable standard.

    EVERYTHING about the Nintendo business environment sucks-ass right now. From the ludicrously overpriced retail games (Mario Galaxy 2 is still $89 most places…. Why?), to the f*cking stupid use of the Virtual Consoles ($6.50 for a f*cking Game Gear game on the 3DS shop? YOUR WHOLE F*CKING SNES LIBRARY CAN BE DOWNLOADED FOR FREE ON MY PHONE!), to the region-locking policy, to the terrible WiiU OS, to the terrible on-line systems……

    Nintendo makes the best games on the planet but just about everything else about them sucks ass in 2013. Consoles aren’t just boxes that you put a cartridge in and turn on anymore but as soon as you move away from that simple functionality Nintendo starts making bad decisions. I’d be happy for them to start making games for other systems.

    • The major problem i have with them as a gamer is that they refuse to release any new and exciting ip.

      Im sick to death of seeing them spew forth another iteration of Mario and expect ppl to buy it. Yes they are well made games and i have had fun with them on the Wii but it gets stale pretty quick when the best games on the system involve Mario, Zelda Metroid Prime and other stalwarts of the system all the time.

      Their poor decision was thinking they could stay with the same strategy moving into this generation.

      • They don’t have time to make a new IP on the WiiU, they need established sure-fire sellers out ASAP to prop up the hardware division.

        Hell, we aren’t even getting new games for the tired old IP’s! In the first year and a half it will be out the WiiU will have delivered a rehashed side-scrolling New Super Mario the same as the Wii and DS games, a remake of a (fantastic) Gamecube Zelda game and a new “new” Mario game based on last year’s 3DS game.

        Something as good as Ocarina of Time took Nintendo 7 years to make, but at that time there was only really 2 horses in the console race and Nintendo had the most powerful console on the market to develop for. You can take that time when you have a customer-base and a future proof console, Nintendo no longer has either of those things.

        • They have to make new ip in general.

          They had the Wii which is a commercial success. Not because of their games because a different take on hardware. You didn’t buy the Wii because it had bowling on it you bought it because it did it in a fun different way. You didn’t buy the Wii fit because you had something tracking your progress getting fit you got it because there was a balance board.

          Now they don’t sell Wii U’s because its nothing different. It simply isn’t a game changer like the Wii was.

          This is important cause if they can’t have a successful hardware business they will have to pimp out their ip’s.

  • Yep too many ppl burnt from Wii and note prepared to make the same investment again which is why its failing.

    Nintendo will go down this path eventually if not they will just hold onto the ip for years until they are ready to enter the console market again.

  • Nintendo need to get away from the mini-games and get back to software lineups like they had on the cube. I know that wasn’t a best seller either but the games it had were some of the best

  • Problem with marrying your games to your own specific hardware is that if no-one buys your hardware, no-one buys your games either. Who wants to bed that the wiiU is only limping along, cannibalizing the success of the 3DS?

    I can’t imagine that they’re scratching their heads saying, “How is this possible? Why is the 3DS such a great success and the wii such a great failure?” When the answer is pretty clearly, “Look at the options people have. Peoples’ options on handhelds are basically, what… the vita? But against the wii, the options are the 360, PS3, upcoming next-gen, and the old wii.

    Their product doesn’t stand up against competition, and the ONLY reason people are buying it is to play Nintendo 1st party games. The wii only had the success it did because when it came out, developers hadn’t learned all the fancy tricks with smoke and mirrors that they have since come up with. (Compare: Halo 3 vs Halo 4.)

    The wii actually looked ‘kinda OK’ by comparison to what the other consoles were launching with, and it tapped into a new market for the social party games with motion controls. But that gulf has widened and is going to continue to widen, and that new market they tapped is… well. Tapped out. Grandma doesn’t buy a new Madden every year, and why does she need wii sports U when she has wii sports?

  • “You want Mario? Zelda? You buy Nintendo hardware.”

    I do want Mario and Zelda, I grew up adoring those franchises, but I don’t want Nintendo hardware, so I miss out. How many people feel the same way as me, how many people choose to miss out on beloved Nintendo franchises because they don’t like the hardware? I don’t really know, but I bet it’s a LOT.

    • This, i think if they dropped home consoles and just focused on making good damn games for other systems (And keep handhelds) they would be rolling in money like scruge Mc duck.

      • How many pre-orders would Zelda get on Xbox, play station and PC? There wouldn’t be calculators capable of adding it up.

        • The idea of a brand spanking new Zelda running on a next Generation console makes me tremendously happy.

          People accuse the Zelda format of being stale, but when you think of it they are about to release their 4th console Zelda in a row running close to the hardware limitations of the previous Generation (PS2, Gamecube, 1st Xbox).

          After the two N64 classics we’ve had:
          Windwaker (Gamecube, 2002)
          Twilight Princess (Designed for Gamecube, 2006)
          Skyward Sword (Wii, 2011)
          Windwaker (Designed for Gamecube, 2013)

          Basically we haven’t had a new Zelda where they could look at it and say “Hey, we’ve got all this new power what can we do with the scope of the game” in over a decade. The last time they had that they delivered probably the two best Zelda games ever in OOT and Windwaker. The fact that Skyward Sword is still a pretty good game is a testament to what Nintendo are capable of.

  • if you ask me anyone buying a nintendo machine to play what you can play on a playstation/xbox is wasting their money, nintendo machines are for nintendo games. i think nintendo will actually be the last ones standing in the console wars simply because nothing compares to a first party nintendo game and nintendo seem to be the only ones making real innovation in the hardware space. moar grafx is nice but i’m more impressed with new ways to engage with said graffics, nintendo write those rules and the others adopt accordingly. without nintendo sony and microsoft won’t have any new ideas and will implode trying to out grafx each other. i’d be happier if there was no such thing as a cross platform release and everything was a console exclusive, shovelware would cease to exist and innovation would reign supreme.


  • So people want to play Nintendo games, but don’t want to buy Nintendo hardware. Yet, I highly doubt that these same people would celebrate if, say, Last of Us or Halo 4 (because my brain has decided I cannot think of any other XBox exclusive game) were announced as going multi-platform and coming to the Wii U because it’s really not a two way straight. Just a typical case of entitlement.

    (Much like the comment of Nintendo should charge less for their virtual console because you can pirate the entire library for free? You can do that for damn near any media, and I don’t see the crying about that. Nope it’s just the typical, empty anti-Nintendo comments ad-nauseum.)

  • Other than the hardware debate, I suspect Nintendo don’t want to make games for other platforms as they’d likely have to give up some of their creative control to do so. If they were making their games for another system, then who knows what concessions they would have to make and whether the games would turn out the same. At least buy only making/releasing games on their own system, they can do what they want and know what the system can produce.

    I’d really love Nintendo to go the Sony route and just buy up a heap of new and upcoming studios to make games for them. That way they get pseudo 3rd party support and possibly a bunch of new IPs, but can keep control of the quality of games that are being published for their systems.

    Nintendo is fast becoming a ‘niche’ market in the console space and in a way that suites me fine. I don’t think I’m alone in owning more than one gaming system and with Nintendo’s current strategy, they are fast becoming that 2nd deveice that people have to play games not offered on the bigger, more main stream consoles/PC.

    • I cant think of a single reason to disagree with you on any of your points. As much as i love my playstation Nintendo games on anything other than a Nintendo console just feels wrong.

      Theres nothing stopping them from buying studios either, they have a massive reserve of money just sitting there and that would be a fantastic thing to spend the money on

    • I don’t recall Sega having to “make concessions.” Personally, I’d rather see Nintendo go down the Sega route than the Sony route. It’s also worth noting that, basically, only games on Nintendo consoles not offered on PC et al are mane by Nintendo themselves. People only buy Nintendo consoles to play Nintendo games. The suggestion that Nintendo is becoming a ‘niche’ market is preposterous.

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