Game publishers buffeted by Nintendo's big April

The success of the first-party-oriented Wii and DS cut into third parties' profits; EA, THQ, Take-Two hard hit.

Yesterday, industry research firm NPD Funworld released its US sales figures for the April 2007 reporting period. While hardware sales increased, overall non-PC software sales were flat, slipping 1 percent. However, console software fell a sharp 20 percent, while handheld software rose 61 percent on strong sales of Pokémon Diamond and Pearl.

In the wake of the report, Wall Street industry analysts staged their traditional postgame show. They were unanimous in their opinion that the success of the Wii and DS, which rely primarily on first-party games, has cut into the bottom line of third-party publishers. In April, roughly 63 percent of all Wii games and 79 percent of all DS games sold were made in-house at Nintendo.

"The shift in interest to Nintendo products has clearly stolen share from third-party games across all platforms," said Pacific Crest's Evan Wilson."This has had the greatest effect on Electronic Arts due to its size." Indeed, EA's sales slid 44.2 percent during the month to just $37.9 million, following the lackluster performance of Tiger Woods PGA Tour for the Wii (53,000 units) and Medal of Honor: Vanguard for the PlayStation 2 and Wii (56,000 units overall).

Two of EA's archrivals also had a bumpy April. Take-Two Interactive saw its monthly sales plummet 54.5 percent to $19.8 million, despite MLB 2K7 selling a decent 177,000 units. THQ, which had no major releases during the month, suffered a less drastic decline, falling 27.6 percent to 13.4 million--significantly below analyst expectations.

Besides being a short-term issue, the success of first-party games could pose long-term problems for third parties. "A key to the successes of many publishers during the last console cycle was market share gains at the expense of first-party publishers," UBS analyst Benjamin A. Schachter pointed out. "We are concerned that this cycle may revert somewhat back to greater share gains for the first-party players, particularly as Nintendo rebounds and Microsoft focuses on and improves its AAA titles."

Microsoft Game Studios' Gears of War has been an ongoing success story since its release last November, and the company has two more heavyweight Xbox 360 exclusives--Halo 3 and Mass Effect--slated to ship later this year. The most popular game on the PlayStation 3 to date has also been a first-party title, Resistance: Fall of Man.

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357 comments
Nuirako
Nuirako

I think Nintendo's strategy: amazing game play, digestible graphics and good controls is the seller. Without the gameplay, the graphics do nothing they are just their for visuals. What good is a game with out the gameplay, yes that would not make it a game my friends so these third party peoples should get the big N formula and put it to good use on the Wii or nintendo will start making third party games for other consoles and they will get the cash.

DaFrop
DaFrop

Poor Sony! They keep going lower and lower :D

brosim1104
brosim1104

I heard that EA bought a new studio only to develop for Ninty... Also, i heard that they change the policy about Wii... Nintendo has the power to move the greatest publisher as ''she'' wants!!! lol

theKSMM
theKSMM

In the previous generation, third-party publishers didn't make games from the GameCube because it didn't have enough market share. This generation, the Wii is selling like hotcakes, and yet no third-party publisher can turn that into significant sales. It's especially difficult when Mario and company are like bullies on the playground hogging up all the good rides. It would be interesting to see Nintendo losing third-party support in this generation because their own games are selling too well.

living_wmd_888
living_wmd_888

Part of the reason why Nintendo is perceived to have weaker third-part support than its competition is because Nintendo's in-house stuff overpowers almost everything else. It's extremely difficult to compete directly with Nintendo. Frankly, I'm only interested in a very few third parties myself (Square Enix, Konami, Capcom, Namco, etc.). EA simply doesn't make anything I really care about, ditto with so many other companies. Third party games do sell on Nintendo systems - iIF THE DEVELOPERS ARE WILLING TO PUT IN THE TIME AND EFFORT. Look at Resident Evil 4. Look at Final Fantasy VI.

jedimas64
jedimas64

smudgexxx i think its ea's own fault. they know the wii is supposed to be made for 5 year old kids but they put ther sports games out that are made for older kids. in the end ea cant make kiddy games. if they continue to do this then they are going to drop badly the wii isnt made for kids, it is made with families in mind, they want it to be used by everyone in the family, however, nintendo does have the least amount of adult content, but as history has proven, blood and violence does not make a game

smudgexxx
smudgexxx

i think its ea's own fault. they know the wii is supposed to be made for 5 year old kids but they put ther sports games out that are made for older kids. in the end ea cant make kiddy games. if they continue to do this then they are going to drop badly

A7Xfan
A7Xfan

DOES IT NOT MAKE SENSE TO THESE PUBLISHERS? If you release a great game on Wii you will get great sales, you've gotta build a fan base which they obviously don't have due to their lack of interest in trying.develop for Nintendo. YOU GET WHAT YOU PUT IN. Who's made a great game on Wii so far other than Nintendo? (Trauma Center and Madden, and Atlus games never sell too great so there you go with Trauma Center and Madden was a very successful title....) Rayman sold well too as did Monkey Ball... This gets me so mad they have the nerve to blame Nintendo for their own bad decisions. On a final note it's time to reconsider which games will 'make it' there's specifically titles that will and old tired styles that won't. Shooters of lesser quality (basically everything on WIi save for Elebits which isn't a real shooter, haven't been great). They better think this out well and do it fast before the smaller companies rise up and dominate.

brosim1104
brosim1104

So... Nintendo IS going good. I'm so happy. Well done. I hope things will get better for the rest so we all can enjoy great games from the biggests (best(??)) Publishers/developers...

Tombackman_5
Tombackman_5

EA needs to just start making good games again. C&C3 is a step in the right direction.

smoothn00dle
smoothn00dle

3rd parties have to learn that graphic is not working in Nintendo's world. Imagine Splinter Cell port on DS with 2D graphic, would U buy it? ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- It is GAMEPLAY. Baby! This is clearly not EA, Activision and Ubisoft's strength. Can they make games like Mario, Phoneix Wrighter and Brain training game better than Big-N.. just look at the SNES era..

Pokedude1013
Pokedude1013

Poor EA, lol, I just hope they stay above the water to make more Battlefield games. Those rock, I think they should just pull out of the consoles, they aren't making that many good games there. Well, maybe a few. But if all they do is transfer games from system to system, or make more bad sports games, then I think they do deserve to doop, even if that means losing my precious Battlefield :(

katow-jo91
katow-jo91

Quite frankly I thought they did a pretty lousy job with Tiger Woods. I rented it for Wii (thank goodness I didn't buy it) and it didn't register my swings properly which caused me to shank the ball pretty much every time. I also wasn't crazy with Madden although I think that turned out better than Tiger Woods.

porphyrous
porphyrous

To be fair, EA has tried. When EA brought Madden NFL 07 to the Wii, they invested a lot of time in the control scheme. They did it right. Similar with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07. Problem with Tiger was the graphics were so obviously skimped on that it turned people off, and it came out 6 months before the scheduled release date of Tiger 08 (which I think is really what has hurt its sales). But most of the rest of the poorly reviewed games on GameSpot have had lousy Wii controls and lazy graphics. They deserve to lose. I don't hate EA. Some of the company does try, and they seem to be really trying to make things work on the Wii. Bringing Madden to the Wii, with its motion controls, is the best thing to happen to Madden in the last 5 years. And The Godfather looks pretty good, another EA title. I'm reserving judgment on EA Sports on the Wii until Madden 08 and Tiger 08 and hopefully some of the others. I'm not all that familiar with THQ, but I know Take Two, the *!&%&$*! who own the exclusive Major League Baseball license. I'm hoping The Bigs isn't awful (mostly because the development team has most of the EA MVP dev team), but I'm prepared for it to. It's not that the Wii doesn't need 1st person shooters (Elebits was pretty good) or sports sims (Madden 07 was pretty good), it's just that as Nintendo users, we have pretty lofty quality expectations that most 3rd party folks aren't meeting. David V

smoothn00dle
smoothn00dle

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Vegeta-sama
Vegeta-sama

Rayman Raving Rabbits was a PS2 game as well... it's not a bad idea to port games if they are done right. Microsoft seems to be the best place for 3rd part developers... Ubisoft and Capcom have certainlly found tons of success on the console... and Nintendo is Nintendo... people buy the system for Nintendo's games... and little else. I don't understand how everyone keeps going back every time to get their butt's pounded into the ground by Nintendo on their consoles. How many Madden games sold on the Wii? Now how many Zelda games sold or any of the other games buy Nintendo?

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

It seems as if 1st party developers are trying hard to push the console and take advantage of the hardware.Some 3rd party developers just decide to add a few features and port it.Some games just aren't made to be ported over.Rayman Rabbid Rabbits( I think thats what it's called) for the Wii shouldn't have been ported to the 360.It was a game that utilized the Wii with the motion sensing and mini games and is completely useless on the 360.PORTS SUCK.

GtheMVP
GtheMVP

It's nice to see these annual games from third party publishers finally take a hit. I'm tired of minimal upgrades for full priced products that are released yearly, and certainly not worth it!

rebelious
rebelious

Well 3rd parties should start being more creative with there games. They cant afford to be lazy this time around. I dont care for EA's games mostly anyway.

-Ronin-_basic
-Ronin-_basic

Well, if 3rd parties are bitter about losing business to first parties, maybe they could take more care with their work. Stop porting every game to every system, then stripping out features. Put more work in to your titles, so they don't work out to be 10 hours of concentrated ass. Hell, delay a few games if you have to. If I have to wait an extra month or two for some significant improvements, I'll still buy the game. It's not a first party's fault that their product is more appealing than something slapped together without considering the characteristics of the console. We know everyone wants to be the first to put something out so they can claim they're breaking new ground, but when it's trash, yes... you can expect to lose money.

imrlybord7
imrlybord7

Yeah. I hope more third party developers start making games to actually be Wii games, so there will be a nice back catalog by Chanukah!!!

Spongetron_X
Spongetron_X

Gotta agree with genfactor. All third party companies are doing for most of their games is porting PS2 games and tacking on motion sensitive control. They are bassically looking at the Wii as a second-rate system. Nintendo's games are selling well because they appeal to the wide audience and the gamer knows they are built for the Wii and not the PS2.

TKandPBC
TKandPBC

"I mean really, first party games usually are epic." I love the irony in that statement. LOL

sjvferris
sjvferris

You know, I have a psp, xbox 360, purchased another ps2 in feb, gamecube, and really want a wii.......I went into bestbuy the other day, with 120 and almost purchased a DS.....I looked at all the xbox games, ps2 games, psp games, and computer games..... Couldn't find a game I wanted, even after debating for a hour. I almost got the DS.....But in the end, I walked out with some blank DVD's, a 4000 xbox live point card, and Ratchet and Clank size matters for the PSP, a first party title. I simply couldn't find a good game that I really wanted at this time.......however, I am planning on buying in the near future. BIoshock Mass Effect wii + zelda other than that, no real interests....might get ff12 the only title that even interests me on the ps3, is Ratchet and Clank.....however, not really that interested in buying a ps3 for that game alone.....I wish they would come out on the 360 :( However, I am currently enjoying the halo 3 beta :)

genfactor
genfactor

WHAAAT?!?! Third parties are hurting because PS2 shovelware ports with tacked on controls don't sell as well as games made from the ground up?!?! I'm Shocked! SHOCKED I tell you!

McnabbsPHIeagle
McnabbsPHIeagle

now i could be a sorry nintendo hater but, congrats nintendo. see people? not being a troll is not hard.

smoothn00dle
smoothn00dle

third party developers became too smart. They think making the same game into all platform is the best way to make more money. Console developer knows this, so they start pump up their first party support. Sony just release press of 30 games, most of them are first party support. This is further blow to third party developers. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Game like God of WarII. The problem with cross platform game is poorer quality compare to exclusive game like God of WarII because it divert the resources and time to balance all platforms. It usually fail to bring out the best of particular console, jack of all trade but master of none. The best exclusive game will beat the best cross platform game and that is the FACT.

Hitman4Hire
Hitman4Hire

Wake up call for them to stop making crap maybe? I mean really, first party games usually are epic. Nintendo first parties are always amazing, Microsoft 1st and 2nd party games are always amazing. Why? Well because they don't make crap. They make good games. Something EA hasnt done for a very long time. I sure am not sad seeing EA taking a hit, considering all they ever sell is Madden crap and Tiger Woods and blahblahblah.

sieg6529
sieg6529

note to 3rd parties: start making good games!

Pedro7_2000
Pedro7_2000

3rd parties will be fine, just as long as the install base of nex-gen consoles doens't take forever to mature. That means stop with the PS2's Sony!

DominusSabathan
DominusSabathan

nintendo owns :) Gears of war rulessssss halo suckssssss

Goffee71
Goffee71

Games devs need to stop making games they want to and look at games that Wii players would like to see.... An hour forum with most Wii owning families would make them realise that first person shooters and 'serious' sports sims aren't what is needed. The non-hardcore gamer who makes up most of the Wii owning world want fun, freedom and replayability - find one of them in Call of Duty #17.

mr_gappy
mr_gappy

yeah its true most 3rd party games are generic and a bit planned, its no wonder ea do badly by releasing titles like tiger woods 07 and fifa07 with a new version of the game being no different from the previous years. also 3rd party titles dont have the same amount of user tools ist party developers have to develop there games on a system and do not devote the same amount of time like a first party game as they have to work on 4 or 5 different versions of the game, one for ps3, one for 360, one for wii, one for ds, one for psp in some cases

jedinortd_basic
jedinortd_basic

Sounds like 3rd party publishers better start making higher quality games.

americansolsrfr
americansolsrfr

True that smoothnoodle. stuck with the same crapy laggy ea games every year...... i miss 2k football games :(

smoothn00dle
smoothn00dle

@prioritymail That is the problem. 3rd developers becoming so ego driven, they demand first party developers disband as a condition to develop game for the platform. Example EA Xboxlive, M$ disband it own first party sport game devision as part of the agreement. This is anti-trust!! This kind of deals make every gamers are loser. No competitions no good games. In sport, gamers has no choice but struck with bad EA game years after years.

rulo_rezn0r
rulo_rezn0r

this is so true i have 3 games for my DS, New Mario, Mario Kart and Castlevania,2/3, and planin to purchase princess peach, yoshis island 2, zelda phantom and later final fantasy IV, 3/4 i like nintendo for the 1st party games, if i want good 3rd party i just go to the room were my 360 is, but there are some good 3rd arty games for nintendo systems but many times they are just junk

Lithavalon
Lithavalon

doubleaxe that is soo true and now i see my friends with a nintendo wii........ -.-

DoubleAxe
DoubleAxe

5 years ago when I first bought my gamecube... I was made fun of, and everyone told me Nintendo was dead... and I told them to just wait and see... hehehehehehee, now look whats happening. Nintendo truely will dominate this generation

thepalatinepoet
thepalatinepoet

Fact: Nintendo fans love Nintendo games. Fact: Nintendo fans love other games that are as good as Nintendo games. Banjo Kazooie. Perfect Dark. GoldenEye. RE4. SC2. Fact: Nintendo games maintain a high-flying standard: if it's not fun to play, delay, delay, delay. Fact: Third-party developers are more concerned with making money as quickly as possible: Red Steel. Corollary: Third-party developers are less prone to delaying for the sake of quality, and are more willing to ship a product which they could readily improve if given another 6 months. Postulate: Good games sell better than rushed games. Result: Nintendo first party pwns half-hearted third party. Worthy third party sells just as well as Nintendo first party (and better than some of its less venerable series *coughMarioPartycough*). Plain stupid: Third party developers feel like Nintendo is scaring away third party suppport with it's market share domination from first-party titles. They develop more "safe" and less expensive games, and proceed as every self-fulfilling prophecy, making a Tennis game that loses to Mario Tennis even though Mario Tennis has Green Shells and grossly oversimplified gameplay, or a racing game that isn't fun enough to beat MarioKart.

Supersegs
Supersegs

Nintendo has say it many times .. its a big advantage to have your sofwares and hardwares produccion and develop in a same bulding

doubledareus
doubledareus

In order for third party publishers to make any money at all, they have to learn to stop making cookie cutter copies of games and create each game individually to take advantage of each systems strongpoints!!!! We as consumers are not stupid! We do our research too! Does anyone else agree?

pedro_magalhaes
pedro_magalhaes

3rd parties should make better games if they want to compete with Nintendo. I've seen lots of games but I don't really want to play most of them.

Imconfused2007
Imconfused2007

Maybe if the 3rd parties put out games worth playing their shares wouldnt fall. If EA wants me to buy their games, then they better give me a reason to play them, i.e the madden series. Same thing every year, except for updated stats.

FunWithMatches
FunWithMatches

You know if the 3rd party publishers would release a product that is not just a port or simply a rehash of a game they've been making for 4 years, then I might actually shed a tear of sympathy. EA hit gold with Godfather for the Wii in my book, nothing else has really blown my mind. Nintendo seems to want their ideas of new gameplay methods to succeed while 3rd parties just seem to want to release as many games as they can, as quickly as they can, and achieve maximum profit. It worked the first time, now people are wising up to the scheme.

rockko666
rockko666

And thats because its only the first wave of in house Nintendo games coming out!

Schizor
Schizor

Think it is time for some serious CO-OP. As Nintendo and Sega just announced, they will make a game starring both Sonic and Super Mario.. :D

pandaramaster
pandaramaster

Well it's hardly surprising is it? Nintendo are revolutionising and evolving games in a massive way. They're attracting more audiences simply because they dare to be different. In all honesty, the third party developers (excluding Konami because of their unique dance games and so forth) should really take notice of what Nintendo are doing and do some worth while and totally unique! Medal Of Honor is starting to be boring now, so is FIFA and most EA games. Besides a few of course, such as Command and Conquer 3.

slyfox_28
slyfox_28

javier112084, If Nintendo did what you suggested, the Wii wouldn't even sell at all. It take time to make a great game, time that 3rd parites believe they don't have. $$$