Nintendo: Wii development isn't easy

Nintendo is confident that in time third-party developers will be able to compete with the mighty Mario

Nintendo has responded to concerns that its own in-house software has dominated at the expense of titles from third-party developers by pointing to the success of third-parties in the DS software market.

Earlier this month, Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens told of the "challenge" faced by third-party developers, claiming that the market is "clearly dominated by the first party and always has been". Cousens is far from being a lone voice, with other third-party developers expressing disappointment at slower than expected sales of their Wii games.

In its third-quarter statement, which has been translated by, Nintendo appears to address these issues head-on by suggesting that the primary reason their own titles are doing so well is because their in-house development team has enjoyed a considerable head-start over other developers.

"When we develop new hardware at Nintendo, it is done as a collaboration between the hardware development teams and the software development teams. Our software sales percentage is currently high because our internal teams know the Wii's special characteristics better than anyone, and they started development quite a bit before the Wii's release,” the translated report is quoted as saying.

Things can only get better...

Furthermore, Nintendo points to the more mature Dual Screen software market as providing evidence that the company’s in-house head-start does not necessarily mean its grip on software sales will last forever. More specifically, Nintendo has said that 28 of its 50 best-selling DS titles in the third quarter of 2007 were made by third-party developers, as opposed to just two (out of 13) Wii titles.

There’s undoubted logic to what Nintendo is saying – once the developers are more familiar with the Wii they should be capable of producing better games for it. The harsh truth at the moment, however, is that the majority of third-party Wii games simply aren’t very good.

If third-party developers really want to improve their competitive edge, then perhaps they could start by applying a handbrake to the slew of overly simplistic Wiimote-wavers already out there and focus instead on providing games that provide a more rounded, worthwhile and engaging experience.

After all, it’s surely better to have one game that everyone wants to play than half a dozen that nobody looks twice at. Sometimes less really is more.