Okay, we get it; The Switch is doing well. There are a ton of success stories from Indie developers with their games selling like crazy on Switch. Most recently, the release of Hollow Knight has been killing it, with over 250,000 copies sold on the platform. For an Indie studio, it’s a huge deal to have almost guaranteed success by releasing on the platform.
That’s the thing, though; At this time, the Switch eShop has around 10-15 releases each week, give or take. Because of that, games have a bit more room to breathe and have more time in the spotlight. If Nintendo plans to release 20-30 games a week, think of how oversaturated the eShop will become. Even the current amount of games released each week is a lot and it’s easy to miss some because of the lack of search options on Switch.
There’s a reason why so many Indie games sold well during the early days of the Switch; there wasn’t a ton of competition because there were fewer games being released. It may seem developer-friendly to allow for the release of so many games each week, but after thinking about it, this could hurt developers, publishers, and consumers.
This might be an extreme example, but let’s compare this to Steam. Steam has an average of 20 games released each day! There is a huge discovery problem because of how easy it is for developers to release games on the platform. Some of those games are great, but for the most part, because it’s so easy to release games, many of them leave a lot to be desired. This is a shame because it makes it hard for the positively reviewed games to gain exposure.
A less extreme, but still pertinent example is the PlayStation store; yes, PS4 is currently in the lead with console sales, but there’s no denying that there is a huge quality assurance problem with the games released. My Name is Mayo, a game for PS4 is designed specifically for trophy hunters, as the Platinum trophy can be earned in around 90 minutes. The awful part is that the “gameplay” consists of tapping the mayo jar by mashing the same button over and over; That’s literally it. With a price-point of just 99 cents, it seems like a sneaky way to make an easy sale and flood the already-crowded store.
Nintendo has been consistent with a standard for what they allow on the eShop. There are always going to be a few “bad” games that slip through the cracks, but for the most part, the Indie games released have left a positive impact. Doubling the amount of games being released seems like an easy way to shoot themselves in the foot by making it harder for quality assurance to be done.
I don’t think Nintendo has bad intentions with this. They want talented Indie developers to have an easy outlet to expose fans to their hard work. Imagine a system in place where only Indie games like Limbo, Super Meatboy, Owlboy, and the Witness were released on a platform? That would be incredible. I’m not sure how that could be pulled off, but it would encourage developers to reach a certain standard in quality and create a sense of competition.
If anything, I think Nintendo should focus on releasing fewer games on the eShop, not more. For every release like Celeste, it seems like there are four or five games that are slaughtered, critically. I’d like to think Nintendo knows what they’re doing, but there are few redeeming qualities with this story and I hope they reconsider because this won’t bode well for developers.