N-Eaction: Too Many Games?
Posted 07 Sep 2019 at 11:05 by Sam C Gittins
In the life-span of the Nintendo Switch to date, it's fair to say that there are a lot of games available on the eShop, so many in fact that Nintendo recently put out a video showcasing that there are well over two-thousand titles currently available in total and that figure is only rising each week with a slew of new releases.
So the Nintendo Switch has a lot of games, but how many is too many?
We will be attempting to answer this question here at N-E to see if there is such a thing as too many games, how Nintendo could potentially improve its digital storefront on the Switch eShop, how many real exclusives the Switch really has and just how much some of us are willing to trade convenience over costly physical titles versus the die-hard collector who is willing to wait years in some cases for certain digital titles to get a complete boxed release.
Why can't I hold all of these Switch games?
Glen O'Brien - Staff Writer
"For me, the Switch already has too many games. The reason for that is really simple as well. I just don't have the disposable income to afford them all
When you get a successful console and developers flock to it, there's going to be some inevitable situations where potential customers will have to skip out on a game because they'd rather spend their money on a game that appeals to them more. When that happens, it's perfectly possible for games to get forgotten about because they weren't snapped up when they were appealing. Sure, you could use the Wishlist feature, but I often forget that it exists. That might be more on me, but it certainly happens.
It's time to put everything on the Nintendo eShop! Everything? Yes... EVERYTHING!
From a developers point of view, I think this is a different kettle of fish. I don't think that there's too many games on the Switch. There may be a constant stream of games every week, but games that release on the Switch tend to do best on that console. It's especially apparent for independant developers, who frequently celebrate the fact that the majority of their sales come from a Switch version. This may be due to the handheld nature of the console or that the Nintendo audience are possibly much more receptive to indie games, I'm not sure. But it seems to be working.
These days are a far cry from the sparse line-up that the Wii U saw, so even if the Switch does have too many games, at least it's nice that we have so much of a choice."
Dennis Tummers - Staff Writer
"Now this is a tricky question. One answer would be that there is no such thing as too many games, because more choice is always good, right? This would be the case if it was easy to separate the good from the bad in a convenient way. As of now however, that is not really the case when looking to the Nintendo eShop. There are a few filters, but rating is not one of them. Instead we have an eShop overflowing with titles, and dozens are added weekly (just look at the weekly eShop list we publish to see how many titles are added). This list ranges from triple-A titles to €0,99 shovelware/apps/mobile game ports.
It kind of reminds me of the peak days of the Wii. The list of shovelware games being put out for the system was long, and some of them sold quite okay. If a parent was looking for a game for their kids, they could walk into a shop and pick up a cheap game which probably was a collection of minigames, focused on wiggle-waggle Wiimote controls, maybe even with a popular IP slapped on it. They were usually not the greatest games. And better titles like Kirby’s Epic Yarn may have suffered from these sales, which in the end may have given a lot more joy than the cheap game.
Nowadays you boot up the Nintendo Switch’s eShop, and go into the digital store. There is a near-endless list of games there, without a lot of filter options, and no rating whatsoever. So what I can imagine people do (and I do that as well sometimes) is go to the Most Sold or the Sales page. These are sometimes topped by low-quality games because the publisher decided to throw 90% discount on the game, bringing it down from say €20 to €2. If I saw this as a parent or a less-informed gamer, I would think damn, this must be a good deal! Chances are the game just isn’t that good.
These are just some of the games announced between starting to write this column and the other day.
And that is where the problem is in my opinion. It’s okay that there is a lot to choose from in the eShop. But what it really needs is some sort of curatorship. Putting it in the hands of the community could work, but it needs to be well managed. When I check community reviews on certain sites, people are either giving the highest score to boost their game, or the lowest score because you cannot play with a gender-neutral person and therefore it is apparently the worst game ever. So letting the community manage it is tricky.
Or maybe Nintendo themselves should take the initiative, making a curated list of games they advice. Google does something similar on their Play Store, with a tips from the editors bit. But how would Nintendo go around deciding who gets a digital Seal Of Quality and gets recommended? I can imagine that in the current commercial climate, a publisher can buy their way into a recommended list. Can Nintendo do this subjectively, without publishers feeling left out? I think this is also tricky.
Yes, there are a lot of games on the Switch, too much for me to play, even if I only take into account the quality titles. But that is a luxury problem, and I know I cannot play every game, just as I can’t read every book I want or watch every series due to time constraints and choices have to be made. What I want is a tool or platform on the eShop that makes it easier for me to see it the game I am considering is worth it. How that is done? I will leave that to someone else as I don’t have a solid answer to that."
Dean Anderson - Staff Writer
"Just a little over 2 years in and Switch already has over 2,000 games available to play. That's more than the entire total North American NES, SNES and N64 libraries combined!
The selection of games available for the Switch is absolutely burdgeoning, and new owners must surely be overwhelmed! I hear you say...
Well... I think that numbers alone don't tell the whole story... I reckon things are a bit more nuanced than that...
While the sheer number of games available for Switch might be utterly staggering... this isn't really reflective of the true choice of titles available. If we look at Nintendo's UK website, we can see that, currently, there are actually less than 40 retail games available for the console that were not previously available on other platforms (Be they previous Nintendo consoles, or non-Nintendo platforms). For all the slack that the Game Boy Advance got for being the home of ports, it wasn't even close to the sheer avalanche that the Switch has gotten! Even from Nintendo themselves!
For those of you who haven't already played the big name games that have been ported to the Switch? Like DOOM 2016, or Shovel Knight, or Final Fantasy 7? (Not sure how you've managed to avoid that for the past 22 years, but ok), then Switch offers a healthy chunk of gaming history open up to you (and now in portable form!). For those of you who didn't own a Wii U (which, let's face it, is most people who own a Switch), then Switch also offers an absolute embarrasment of Nintendo riches!
For those of us who did own a Wii U however? And have played the vast majority of the worthwhile games that have been ported? Who are looking for something truly new to play? There is actually a shocking dearth of choice available.
Even if we look at Nintendo's "new" first party titles for Switch, that aren't directly ported from the Wii U; the grand majority of them are expansion pack style sequels to previous Wii U games, or remakes of original Game Boy titles (as much as I love Super Smash Bros Ultimate, 90% of its content has been recycled from the 5 previous Super Smash Bros games!). The only titles that Nintendo have released exclusively for the Switch that are truly new (and not clearly built on top of a previously released Wii U, 3DS or Game Boy title), are 1,2,Switch, Snipperclips, ARMS, Super Mario Odyssey, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Kirby: Star Allies, Nintendo Labo Volumes 1-4, Super Mario Party, Yoshi's Crafted World, Tetris 99, Marvel Alliance 3: The Black Order and Fire Emblem: Three Houses.
And as for third parties? There are only six exclusive, original, made-for-Switch, retail titles currently available for Switch. These are Octopath Traveller, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Gal Metal, Taiko No Tatsujin: Drum N' Fun, Fitness Boxing and No More Heroes: Travis Strikes Again.
The recently released Astral Chain is fantastic, we'd definitely say "Yes" to more exclusives like this for the Switch.
If you're in my position and are really hungry for something new to play, that you haven't already played to death before, the choice is actually surprisingly limited. In fact, nearly three years in, it is perhaps the most limited lineup a Nintendo console has ever seen.
Now, this is of course a sign of the changing times. The days of true exclusive games that actually really take advantage of a console's unique functionality are long gone. Today's games are largely developed in a platform agnostic fashion, and Switch is just treated as another target platform for these titles. This is a sensible approach in this day and age.
However, it still leaves people like me feeling cold; and hungry... oh so hungry!
Things are getting better though. Nintendo's upcoming lineup looks very promising; with original titles like Astral Chain, Daemon X Machina, Luigi's Mansion 3, Pokemon Sword/Shield and Animal Crossing: New Horizons all finally coming in the next few months to fill that gaping hole in my belly! More than anything else, THIS is what the Switch really needs! Original titles that are built specifically for the platform!
Ports and remakes are great to have; and I'm just as excited for the remakes of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, Panzer Dragoon and Trials of Mana as everyone else, but it is those original, brand-new titles that I really want the most. And it is here, that I feel that Nintendo has a lot more work that needs to be done with the Switch. I am hoping with all my heart that this current cadence of titles is the Switch's true break-out moment when we finally start seeing the Switch really come out of the shadows of the past and to start forging a path all its own."
Sam C Gittins - Staff Writer
"While it's true that the Nintendo Switch certainly has an abundance of titles available both on its digital store-front and in the general retail environment, there's one area where the console has an even wider reach or should that be a more limited reach... in the form of titles which started off a digital only prospects which have subsequently been granted a release by a number of select publishers who make a relatively low print run of titles which many people want to be able to buy physically.
Yes, I'm talking about Limited Run Games who had previously found success in bringing many digital titles to retail on other platforms before the Switch then steadily became another reliable source of revenue for them over the past couple of years and to their credit, they do a very good job with these releases and all of these games would not have got a boxed release without them, also any dlc for the game is usually included on the cartridge so you have a version of the game which you should in theory be able to play offline on your Nintendo Switch console forever, long after the servers might theoretically cease to exist in say a decade or so which is what happened with the Wii Shopping Channel only a mere year ago.
The downside of going for these kinds of physical releases? Well, you do need to budget for them as each game will typically cost you about £30 (plus postage) and the other thing you'll need is patience. By now I would imagine that anyone who wanted to play Celeste in its original digital form would have done so by now, probably completed it on most of the difficulties and be eagerly awaiting the upcoming dlc, personally though I'm still waiting as I pre-ordered the physical Limited Run release of Celeste on January 1st of this year, that was already nearly a year after the games initial release, it's now early August at this time of writing and the final date for the Chapter 9 Farewell stages dlc is still unknown but possibly expected by the end of this year; so there's a chance that I might be playing Celeste in time for Christmas, which would be quite nice actually.
But that's still nearly two years after the game originally came out so I realise this method of buying games isn't for anyone who wants to play everything "right now" in this modern age where many are happy to trade something tangible for convenience and then there's also the recently categorised term where people have a fear of missing out and not being part of the conversation at the same time as everyone else might happen to be talking about said game at its time of release before everyone moves onto the next big thing. I definitely understand what's going on with the future of games as sadly everything seems to be going more in favour of digital but I don't have to like it, quite honestly I hate the idea of not having a physical option and so this is why I'm choosing to buy as many of my Switch games this way as for all I know, this could be one of the last consoles I end up collecting games for, so I feel like I should support physical games and probably will continue to do so for as long as I can reasonably afford to do so.
Further to writing for this, Celeste has since got a release date for its Chapter 9 DLC so it won't be long now.
At the moment there are still loads of different Switch games to play, currently my physical collection means that I'm only buying digital games as a last resort or to support those titles which are clearly only getting a digital release for the forseeable future such as the Sega Ages range of titles from the legendary M2. I can see that for anyone just buying digitally however, that the focus of the Nintendo Switch eShop is currently a bit scattered to put it mildly, of course there's promotion for when games come out, the trouble is that there are often between twenty and thirty new titles every week, I always make a point of looking on the eShop at least once a week after N-Europe's weekly Mario Kart 8 DX shenanigans and when I look through the new titles there are a few which I might recognise from promoting them in news articles on the main page but there's still a wealth of games that I had no clue were even coming out on the console and I make it my business to know, so I don't know what the average consumer must think.
Clearly some form of curation is needed because there's everything on there from mobile phone ports, shovelware and timewasters, to highly regarded Indie titles, budget ports, unique applications, classic game compilations... right through to the latest "Triple Ayyy!" releases and Nintendo's own titles. They are all just "there" with no easy way to wade through everything to the extent that even if there's a sale on I'll just be using the search function to just see if that one Sega Ages title I don't own yet has maybe had a temporary price cut of a pound or so but apart from that, I prefer not to browse unless I know exactly what I plan to buy on the storefront.
With the Nintendo Switch being so successful, I would have thought that now more than ever would be the right time to really rebrand the eShop, offering enhanced discoverability options, more ways of categorising titles and most importantly, having a way of ensuring that potential purchasers see the games you really want them to see without forcing them to wade through copious amounts of titles which are almost certainly of limited value.
Too many games? Most definitely, so in the meantime I'm happy to wait a while for those games that I really want to own in physical form but if the eShop were to evolve over time, then I'd almost certainly be willing to buy a few extra digital titles which I might not have bothered with otherwise, but both time and money are limited so if Nintendo can find a way to save their target audience time, then they'll surely want to spend at least a little bit more money on digital titles. Just don't forget about the physical games, as they have their place and hopefully will for a few more years yet, lest we welcome in an age where nobody really owns any videogames as such and merely pays for access to them, what a terrible future that would be!"
So that's where all of our wildly varying opinions fall but what do you think about the current state of the Switch eShop and the way in which titles are seemingly being slung on there each week? Surely it won't be long before the vast majority of games are available on the Switch, which of course is a good thing generally but such an embarrasment of riches much surely come at a price?
Leave us a comment below or join in with the discussion on our forum. We'll be back with another N-Eaction in the not too distant future.