When I first started doing Nintendo game coverage again over at Ninty Today, I assumed I would be able to keep up with the deluge of Nintendo Switch news as I had when it was my full-time job. The unfortunate reality is that news moves too fast to keep up with for one person to cover and still do the type of content I want to do. Focusing on indie games has always been my intention with the site, but the world of Nintendo encompasses so much more.
Let’s take a look at some of the noteworthy news pieces this week. I hope you’ll enjoy having the news gathered into one place instead of drip-fed throughout the week. Expect to see more of these each Friday.
Switch vs. Xbox One Lifetime Sales
VGChartz published a report about worldwide lifetime sales of the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch to show just how fast the Switch is catching up to the Xbox One. It hasn’t quite surpassed Microsoft’s console in terms of worldwide sales yet, but it will soon. The Xbox One originally came out in 2013, while the Nintendo Switch debuted in 2017. In less than two years, the Nintendo Switch only has a worldwide gap of around ~10 million consoles.
Microsoft’s renewed focus on the software side of things has them forming an unlikely partnership with Nintendo. Xbox One gamers and Switch gamers can enjoy cross-play in a number of games including Rocket League, Smite, Paladins, Fortnite, Treasure Stack, and several others. There’s even some rumors that we could see Xbox Live available on the Nintendo Switch at some point. For now, we’ll have to wait and see, but the Switch hardware appears vastly more popular than the Xbox One.
Wargroove QoL Patch 1.2.0 Available Now
I was super excited for the release of Wargroove on Nintendo Switch last month. The game is excellent, but the difficulty scale seemed a little lop-sided, even as someone who enjoys tactical games. I set it aside as soon as I heard there would be a quality of life patch to address the difficulty complaints.
Thankfully, that patch has arrived. Now there are five difficulty ranks in the game, with normal difficulty able to three star all the missions but not get S ranks. That seems like a fair trade-off, since some of the S rank requirements are for true tactics fans who don’t mind the grind of figuring out the most efficient way to beat a level.
For the rest of us, the new checkpoint system should make the pain of restarting much less. Here’s a quick highlight of everything included in this patch. You can read the full patch notes here.
- New checkpoint system makes retrying from a save point available
- Five new difficulty modes for the game, with hard mode the only way to achieve S-ranks
- 9 new co-op maps added to multiplayer mode
- Players can now add CPU players to multiplayer games
- Unit info and recruit screens reworked to be more clear
- Skipping battles, captures and cutscenes is now much faster
- Resigning now destroys all units immediately instead of one at a time
- New movement speed option introduced
- New confirm end turn option introduced
- Allies now share vision in online games
Tetris 99 Maximus Cup
Nintendo is hosting a new online event this weekend starting today for Tetris 99 players. The Maximus Cup event starts March 8 at 5am PST and extends through March 10 at 11:59 pm PST. The goal is to get as many first place wins as possible over the course of the weekend. After the event, Nintendo will reward the top 999 players who achieved the most TETRIS MAXIMUS wins with 999 My Nintendo Gold points.
It seems like a fun little promotion to keep Switch Online people interested in Tetris 99 after the novelty of battle royale Tetris has worn off. There’s a lot of strategy involved in playing the game successfully and it has quickly become a draw to watch on Twitch.
Friday the 13th Game Coming to Nintendo Switch
Developer Gun Media has shared with Variety that Friday the 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition is coming to the Nintendo Switch. The new game will feature all released content and paid DLC including all Jason Kill packs, both Counselor Clothing packs, and the emote party pack. However, the release does not include Kickstarter backer exclusive content, the Savini Jason character and backer-exclusive clothing packs.
“We’re happy to be bringing ‘Friday the 13th: The Game’ to the Nintendo Switch with the help of our partners at Black Tower and Nighthawk. The Nintendo Switch offers a unique experience, in both social settings and on the go, that we feel work very well with ‘Friday the 13th: The Game.’”Daniel Nixon, Director of Communications @ Gun Media
The game was originally funded via Kickstarter and debuted on PC and other consoles in 2017. It quickly gained tons of traction from streaming on Twitch and Let’s Plays on YouTube. Last year the developer confirmed there would be no new content due to a legal battle over the franchise’s original screenwriter, Victor Miller. Miller wants to reclaim the rights to his characters, which stops the developers from releasing any new content.
Nintendo to mobile partners: Don’t be greedy with micro-transactions
When news that Nintendo would release its first mobile game broke, plenty of gamers decried it as the beginning of the end for Nintendo. That’s because mobile games often include micro-transactions and it’s a slippery slope when these micro-transactions have started appearing in most triple AAA games. Nintendo does have a handful of mobile games that feature micro-transactions like Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes, but recently the company has asked mobile partners to tone it down a little.
In an report from the Wall Street Journal, Nintendo reportedly asked mobile partners like DeNA to not be so aggressive with their monetization schemes.
Fearing such behavior will damage Nintendo’s brand image, the company has asked its partners to adjust the games so that users won’t spend too much, according to people familiar with Nintendo’s strategy.Wall Street Journal report, “Nintendo to Smartphone Gamers: Don’t Spend Too Much on Us“
According to the same official, Nintendo sees these smartphone games as a way to increase interest in its game characters so players will consider buying traditional console games. Nintendo is concerned that criticism for being “too greedy” could land at its doorstep. That’s pretty valid criticism, considering the negative press that micro-transactions and loot boxes have gotten lately.
Nintendo Mobile Performance
Of the smartphone games released in partnership with Nintendo, Fire Emblem Heroes (Android | iOS) is probably the most predatory. It follows traditional “gacha game” mechanics. The game has averaged $21 million per month since it released in February 2017 and only slowed down last December. That earnings number far dwarfs the estimated sales of series entries on Nintendo 3DS like Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia and the Fire Emblem Fates series.
The game that sparked the comments was Dragalia Lost (Android | iOS), which debuted last September. Developer CyberAgent Inc. says a Nintendo official contacted them after user complaints about how hard it was to get characters in the game. Nintendo asked the game maker to adjust the game to avoid excessive spending by players.
Game partners are unhappy with Nintendo’s unwillingness to exploit their player base. Partner DeNA says they’re only pleased with the revenue of a self-published game that has no Nintendo involvement.
The Long Dark on Nintendo Switch Update
Indie game fans have been asking the developers of The Long Dark when it will be appearing on the Nintendo Switch. Last year the team spent some time trying to get the game running smoothly on Switch devkits. The project ran into tons of performance issues that made it seem like the project may not be suitable for the console.
Apparently, the latest version of Unity does offer some performance improvements for all consoles, but the devs admit the Switch version still isn’t at an acceptable level yet. The devs are going to continue working on the Switch version of the game, but there are no guarantees it will ever get released.
I want to set reasonable expectations around this — not every game can run well on the Switch, and if we’re not able to get The Long Dark running at a level of performance and visual quality that I’m happy with, we won’t be shipping it. All that said, I’m still hopeful that we can find solutions to the current issues, and we think The Long Dark would be really compelling on this portable platform, so we’re not giving up!Raph, Hinterland Studio
It’s a shame to hear about the performance problems, but I respect the devs for admitting they won’t release it on Switch if it doesn’t perform well. The launch performance of games like Q.U.B.E. 2 and Rime was atrocious.
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