Bethesda: Nintendo should follow example set by Sony and Microsoft

Vice president of public relations and marketing at the Fallout and Elder Scrolls studio has criticised Nintendo's approach to third-party involvement.

Bethesda Softworks vice president of public relations and marketing Pete Hines has said that the lack of third-party support for Nintendo's Wii U console is a result of the company's approach.

Speaking on an episode of GameTrailers' Bonus Round as transcribed by Gimme Gimme Games, Hines pointed to Sony and Microsoft as examples, saying that Nintendo must "do what Sony and Microsoft have been doing with us for a long time" in communicating with third-party publishers.

Credit: Bethesda Blog.

"They involved us very early on…they say, 'here's what we're doing, here's what we're planning, here's how we think it's going to work' to hear what we thought," Hines said.

"You have to spend an unbelievable amount of time upfront doing that. If you're just going sort [of] deciding, 'we're going to make a box and this is how it works and you should make games for it'. Well, no. No is my answer; I'm going to focus on other ones that better support what it is we're trying to do."

Last year, Hines commented on the lack of Bethesda support for the Wii U, saying that the company mantra has been, and continues to be, to launch games on platforms that support them. More recently, Hines pointed to hardware as one of a "number of factors" for the lack of Bethesda titles on the Wii U.

The Wii U has sold 3.45 million units worldwide to date, below Nintendo's expectations for the platform. The company hopes to spur sales--and, in turn, third-party interest in the system--by launching several first-party titles this year.

Written By

Zorine “harli” Te is a long time competitive gamer and also an Associate Editor at GameSpot.

Discussion

1192 comments
Ibeik
Ibeik

Meh from what I understand Nintendo isn't all that friendly to western or European developers with whom they have not had a long term relationship with. 

This coupled with their general detachment from reality, it's no wonder they can't get good companies to play ball with them.

soulless4now
soulless4now

Nintendo likes being different. For better or worse. 

Diablo-B
Diablo-B

If you remember, one of the main reasons why the Sega Genesis blew up was because Nintendo decided to censor the 16-bit blood animations of Mortal Combat. Sega did not. That became a huge selling point for Sega because many other developers were able to push the bounds more with their games. 

Looks like they still haven't learned and need to lighten up their restrictive policies. 

Redsyrup
Redsyrup

Hines complaint is based on deal making. A dirty little secret of publishing is deals are struck for exclusivity and of those deals reduced licensing fees (fees paid by the publisher to the console manufacturer for each game sold) and pooled marketing moneys for favored developers are leveraged by the console manufacturer to sweeten the deal.

Hines is saying Nintendo doesn't play ball like Sony and Microsoft. Good or bad I believe him. Nintendo has a long history of only offering these deals with 1.5 and 2nd party developers. Metroid Other M, Metroid Prime, the Retro Studio's games and many others only get the good deals.

feleas
feleas

"The Wii U has sold 3.45 million units worldwide to date, below Nintendo's expectations for the platform. The company hopes to spur sales--and, in turn, third-party interest in the system--by launching several first-party titles this year."

I find this comment funny as Nintendo reps are making videos and other comments saying that their "successful" system is going very well, and is apparently leading in the gaming community. I think this comment speaks the truth Nintendo doesn't want to say publically lol.

datkat
datkat

its ok just keep making more marios.lol! .rip wii

veryDERPY
veryDERPY

then reggie is gonna be like wiiu provides experiences you cannot get anywhere else, IMPLYING they also have the same experience as the other consoles

jeremyc99999
jeremyc99999

When did Johnny Knoxville start working for Bethesda?

Maxx_the_Slash
Maxx_the_Slash

I don't exactly know what Hines is expecting Nintendo to do. Nintendo made a console and Bethesda expects Nintendo to hold their hands and tell them what to do with it.

How about looking at what the console does for yourselves by looking at the games that are presently out? How about accepting a dev kit and seeing what you can do with them yourselves? Apparently that's what dev kits are for.

What communicating does Nintendo have to do, exactly? Third party developers always discover things they can do with their games that the console manufacturers don't even know their console is even capable of. Bethesda just doesn't want to experiment.

I have an idea: attempt to port Fallout 3, Oblivion or Skyrim onto the Wii U and see if either one of them can be done. You kill two birds with one stone: you'll have a base that you can expand upon for future Wii U games, and, you'll win over Nintendo's userbase and bring in more revenue.

GameBeaten
GameBeaten

Hines certainly has a good point.

Should be an interesting next five years.

Redsyrup
Redsyrup

Well said Mr. Hines. Nintendo just doesn't hand out free marketing money and lower licensing fees like Microsoft and Sony. How can a 3rd party get ahead if they can't shake down the manufacturer?

Don't worry guys I'll be buying your games on Steam when they drop to $4.99.

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

RIP Nintendo.  I look forward to playing Mario games on my Xbox One!

sidzero
sidzero

@Diablo-B As much as I agree with you, I think it should be pointed out that between Sega and Nintendo, who's still making consoles, and who's not?

Diablo-B
Diablo-B

@Redsyrup Thats not exactly a secret. I assume everyone that follows the industry knows this.

PainfulElegy
PainfulElegy

@feleas 

I find this comment funny because when that statement was made, the Wii U was 6 months old, and had pushed about the same number of units that the PS3 and XB360 did.


So I guess the PS3 and XB360 are dead because they had a 'terrible' start. Nintendo overestimated their numbers because of the wii release, in actuality, nintendo has has a release that is at worst only slightly under par in comparison to PS360 at this time.

ackmans
ackmans

@feleas  lol the same thing as the 3ds but ooo the 3ds is top seller nobody talking about now 

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

@veryDERPY Yea, an experience me, and millions more have no desire to partake in.

RIP WiiU.

RS13
RS13

@Maxx_the_Slash "I don't exactly know what Hines is expecting Nintendo to do."  Might that be because you don't work at Bethesda?  He said they should do what Microsoft and Sony are doing--so apparently there's **something** that those two are doing that Nintendo isn't.  That or he's lying or a coward.  Eh, this is the internet you should probably just assume the latter.

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

@Maxx_the_Slash Why would they make a game for a dead console with little sign of life?  Nintendo also has one of the highest royalty rates in the industry.

Why do you think Rayman went multi-console?

GameBeaten
GameBeaten

@Maxx_the_Slash 

I doubt they'd spend time porting Fallout 3 or Skyrim (let alone Oblivion) to Wii U. Any Nintendo fan interested in those games mostly likely already have on another platform.

GameBeaten
GameBeaten

@Redsyrup 

I wish I had a good enough PC to play Skyrim. Otherwise I don't think I'll ever pick up any of their games on a console.

Maxx_the_Slash
Maxx_the_Slash

@Sevenizz @Maxx_the_Slash Because third party developers standing around with their thumbs up their dumpers waiting on other third party developers to do something, and that's why the Wii U's third party support is tanked.

If one of them would just grow some balls and take a chance, maybe the Wii U would start doing a little better.

Maxx_the_Slash
Maxx_the_Slash

@GameBeaten I own them on the 360 and I wouldn't mind getting them them again on the Wii U, especially if they took the time to fix some of the glitches in their games that they didn't patch even after all of the DLC they released (several times I completed Operation Anchorage in Fallout 3 and was never able to get the armory door open any of those times).

The point isn't to get people who own the games on the 360 and PS3 to jump ship and play those games on the Wii U. The point is to get Nintendo fans who haven't played Bethesda's games at all interested in their games.

Not sure if you're aware of this, but not everyone buys a console just to play a game that they can't play one ones they do have. As a kid I wanted Final Fantasy VII but only had a Nintendo 64. I said **** it and did without had to play it years later. So no, not all Nintendo gamers get Xbox 360s or PS3's just to play Bethesda's games. Not all Sony gamers buy Wii's or Wii U's to play Mario games, they just say **** it and stick with what they can play.

Redsyrup
Redsyrup

@GameBeaten @Redsyrup It looks spectacular on my gaming rig. I'd actually pay more than 4.99. I'm just a little pissed they'd let something like licensing fees and pooled marketing funds ruin some gamers chance of playing their games. He comes off as a little egotistical/selfish to me.

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

@GameBeaten Oh yes it is.  It only takes one major blunder to kill a company.  Next gen is already dead for them...there's no way their non-portable console can survive.  And if they continue to make out-there consoles from the competition, there won't be another one.

Redsyrup
Redsyrup

@RS13 "...as the 360"? You're so wrong dood. I have both consoles and 360 is the most prehistoric CPU/GPU Chipset I've ever been saddled with.

Wii U is way more technically advanced than that. I'd put as a bit more advanced than a PS3. And that's saying a lot. PS3 was a ahead of it's time. Sony could wait a couple years on launching PS4 and it wouldn't make any difference.

RS13
RS13

@Maxx_the_Slash  Actually, if you look up the interview, you'll see Hines implies as much.  He actually offers this **before** he says they should do as MS and Sony do.  He's constantly talking about how he wants their games to run on a system as they envision them.  The Wii U won't run games made for the PS4 or Xbox1.  Not Beth games at least, since those push systems as far as they can.  And at any rate, it wouldn't be worth it for Bethesda to scale their new games back for the Wii U.  PC gamers are a bigger part of their fanbase than Wii U gamers are likely to be and they aren't going to be happy if the next Fallout or Elder Scrolls game is designed for Xbox 360 level tech.  They aren't happy that Skyrim was designed for 360 level tech.

 You'll also hear him say that he says his tech guys want to have input and be kept in the loop about the console.  Just a hunch here, but I think he knows what he's talking about.  Simply having a dev kit doesn't mean it's suddenly a piece of cake to program for a machine.  (Anyone Remember the complaints the devs made about PS3?  And they did support 3rd-party devs.)

And you'll here the guy from Gearbox say similar things: it's old tech, and devs don't want to have to come up with a new control scheme for it.

So this isn't just, ballless, risk-averse, 
self-butthole-thumbing devs not putting stuff out for Nintendo.  You realize that the Wii U is basically as technologically sophisticated as the 360, right?  That means that before the Wii U's life is up, they'll be asking devs to develop for decade old tech.  Let that sink in.  Decade old.  If your gonna do that, you need to be the most ferociously supportive console on the planet.  A developer wants you to hold their hand?  Do it.  And ask them to come up for coffee while you're at it.  Cause otherwise, devs are going to spend their time upscaling for PC instead of downgrading for Wii U.  And they're certainly not going to spend it making exclusives for you. 

Like Sevenizz said, devs aren't a charity.  They're in this to make money and because they enjoy it. They don't enjoy working with restrictive technology and they don't care about making nintendo profitable.  Heck, they benefit if people buy Xb1, PC or PS4 instead of Wii U.  Now they've got more customers and the same amount of platforms to develop for.  

This is the thing nintendo fans don't get. If nintendo (or anyone else for that matter) wants their console to succeed, they've got to make developing on it a (preferably economic) necessity.  Nintendo hasn't done that.  As a developer there's exactly nothing that's attractive about the Wii U.  When nintendo fans sit around complaining about how 3rd party devs are scared of developing for them because they don't sell because no third party devs develop for them, they're a bit like the guy complaining about how girls don't date him, because girls don't like to date guys who can't get girlfriends.  Yeah, you're right.  But that's your problem.  Not the girl's.

(Btw: Here's the interview http://www.gametrailers.com/full-episodes/jyfd3n/bonus-round-questions-from-the-audience)

Darth_Starwind
Darth_Starwind

@Maxx_the_Slash @Sevenizz Hines probably couldn't give specifics because its classified system info. Also it would just be rude to be openly ridiculing the company and it would not reflect well on him or Bethesda.

Darth_Starwind
Darth_Starwind

@Maxx_the_Slash @Darth_Starwind Nintendo made its bones with first party launch titles. Back then that's all they needed to do. The game (an yes that is a pun) has changed. It requires console developers not only to develop systems and  to make their own games but to rely on others to make games for their systems. This requires opening up with ideas, not just tech specs. No one can tell you more about the system than the person who developed it. You mentioned how third party developers have pushed current systems past even the developers expectations. This only possible because cooperation between system makers and game makers. Nintendo has never been real open with third party developers. They hand them dev kits and say good luck. The Wii has shown some promise with its recent third party launches but they're current gen. This winter, the Wii will be out classed tech wise and Hines is trying to say it that Nintendo has not been reaching out to solve the problems this creates. Cooperation is needed. You can't expect a developer dumb down a game (if its even possible) just for one under performing system, especially not with out cooperation from them.

Maxx_the_Slash
Maxx_the_Slash

@Sevenizz @Maxx_the_Slash But Bethesda never said anything about Nintendo's hardware being too sucky to run their games, they just said there's communication problems with third parties such as themselves.

They don't even say what Nintendo isn't telling them, they just say Nintendo isn't telling them something. It's all just a vague reason, almost like avoiding telling everyone any true reasons why they wont work with Nintendo.

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

@Maxx_the_Slash Publishers aren't a charity and it's Nintendo's responsibility to make a good system .  They didn't - so they are bowing out.

Maxx_the_Slash
Maxx_the_Slash

@Darth_Starwind But I asked, and no one answered: What does Nintendo need to say or do to satisfy Bethesda's necessity for "support"? Bethesda isn't even saying, they just say there's no communication. Okay, what does Nintendo need to communicate?

Darth_Starwind
Darth_Starwind

@Maxx_the_Slash @Sevenizz  Normally I say don't jump on the band wagon, but...  In this case the band wagon is game developers and console developers working together. If Sony and Microsoft and the third party developers are all doing it and making good business, then maybe Nintendo should too. Or they could just stand around waiting for them to "grow some balls" (as you so nicely put it) and go broke.

suppaPHly
suppaPHly

@GameBeaten @Maxx_the_Slash i did the same thing with FFvii it was ps and i had a n64 so i said ****it . i have skiyrim on the 360and it was great but then i got a pc and i will never play a beth game on a console again

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

@Maxx_the_Slash  @GameBeaten They are hemorrhaging money on a daily basis with inventory not moving.

In business, you don't spend profits on RnD - you trim down.

Maxx_the_Slash
Maxx_the_Slash

@Sevenizz @GameBeaten Look how much money Nintendo has in the bank. Billions of yen. Nintendo's going to survive the Wii U even if the console dies. They have enough to make at least 2 more flop consoles before they're dead.

GameBeaten
GameBeaten

@suppaPHly @GameBeaten @Sevenizz 

I can see myself playing my Wii U well into 2014. As for the years after that, well... That depends on what else is announced for the console. I have hope things will go well, but damn, there's no denying how rocky things are right now.

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

@suppaPHly @GameBeaten They won't die because they have a decent portable market (which is dwindling due to smartphones and tablets), but in terms of a living room console - their days are numbered.


Mark my words - halfway though the next gen when the WiiU is dead - they will become a publisher.

suppaPHly
suppaPHly

@GameBeaten @Sevenizz on the sega comparison yes they trip off the curb and then rolled under the bus, but the DC had what 

about a three year life span and in that time had a lot of of good games i got one at launch and they had more games out in 9 months then the wii-u has, fair bit of third party and 1st

i'm a big nintendo fan but even i don't see much of a life span for the wii-u don't think nintendo will die they have too much other stuff  

GameBeaten
GameBeaten

@Sevenizz @GameBeaten 

Is this another Sega comparison? Because Sega had a ton of screw ups leading up to the Dreamcast that were already leading them to a downfall.

If this isn't a Sega comparison, please feel free to tell me what other company's blunder you were referring to.