Welcome to another edition of Paula’s Game Ramblings. As you know, here at LadiesGamers, we like to spotlight cosy and wholesome video games, especially games from Indie Developers.
We decided to focus on indie games and not so many AAA titles as indie developers release some great games that are just as good as the AAA titles. We don’t review as many AAA titles as other gaming websites do. For those that don’t know what a AAA title is, here’s a quick explanation.
AAA or Triple-A games are video games produced or developed by a major publisher. The core feature of a AAA game to a large company is simple: money. AAA developers have access to massive amounts of cash for research, development, testing, and marketing. Large companies like Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft can employ hundreds of people to write, develop, test, and market their games. In theory, this should produce games with rich stories and immersive gameplay. AAA is not an official classification, but a ‘triple-A game’ is generally equivalent to a blockbuster movie’.
I’ve been gaming for many years, and through that time, I’ve noticed that big game companies such as Nintendo seem to rely heavily on their most popular AAA’s or their most well-known IP to bring in the money. It is something that Yvonne and I have talked about often.
In case you didn’t know, IP stands for Intellectual property. In simpler terms, you’ll often only hear IP mentioned when a developer or publisher is talking about a brand new original game. It’s a legal way of saying, here’s a game we made that nobody else can make because we made it first.
Super Mario is just one of Nintendo’s many IPs, which means they have the rights to the Mario franchise and can do as they wish with the franchise. Same goes for Animal Crossing. And it’s the same with Square Enix and Final Fantasy games or EA with FIFA, for example.
Millions of Units
According to Nintendo’s website, they have sold a whopping 45.33 million units of Mario Kart Deluxe. In addition, Super Smash Bros Ultimate has sold 28.17 million copies on the Switch. There are stats for other Nintendo games here if you wish to read them.
There is Animal Crossing and many more games that Nintendo has under its company umbrella. The covid pandemic helped Animal Crossing New Horizons sales as everyone was in lockdown when it was released. It has sold 38.6 million in the space of a few years. Don’t get me wrong, as I love Animal Crossing and Nintendo games, but it makes you wonder if Nintendo and their counterparts put their eggs all in one basket. Everything seems to revolve around their big IPs to bring in the big bucks once released.
Popular Game Franchise
New IP’s are tested by bringing the audience one, maybe two games. But if the success isn’t big enough, they quickly fade away. No matter if there’s a smaller group who loved the game, chances are small that a new game will be produced. A good example of this is Chibi Robo. There’s two lovely simulation games of this tiny service robot taking care of the Sandersons family home and while he is at it, he helps them too with small quests. The game came to Gamecube in the West, but its sequel never made it out of Japan. Nintendo tried again, I must give them that, with Chibi taking care of a park in Park Patrol and after that, the robot featuring in a platformer. Why a platformer I’ll never know, in my opinion they should have stuck with the wonderful premise in the Sandersons home. Anyway: nothing since, although I know Chibi Robo has a dedicated fanbase.
All of this leads me to wondering: have you ever thought Nintendo and other big companies rely too heavily on their popular game franchise and don’t pay enough attention to new and interesting ideas for games? Should they not be seeking out new ideas for games to keep the industry fresh? The indie development community is full of young developers with fantastic new ideas for games, which we can testify to looking at many Two Thumbs Up games we reviewed.
In addition, Nintendo used to participate in the E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), but since the Covid pandemic, there hasn’t been an E3 in Los Angeles. Nintendo has always held a Direct during the E3 window and traditionally announced the date and more details much closer to the event. So far this year, we haven’t had any word of a Direct from Nintendo, though, by the time you are reading this, that could have changed with any luck. I must add though that other AAA companies have brought us news: Sony’s E3 2022 State of Play took place, and the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase was on.
Meanwhile, if you look at the promotion the indie community has been doing regarding their release schedules, we have had lots of information coming out.
During the E3 window this year, we have had the Wholesome Direct, with over a 100 developers participating and promoting their upcoming releases. Lots of wholesome goodness to look forward to in the coming months. We also had the Guerrilla Collective, where they showcased other indie games.
After those two, we had the Steam Next Fest, where you had a week to try out hundreds of free demos of games and future releases. Which of course I did, did you? However, inconspicuous in their absence throughout everything that replaced an in-person E3 has been Nintendo!
Here’s hoping we see something soon from dear old Ninty and lots of indie games being promoted as well. What are your thoughts on triple-A titles, do the larger companies do enough to spotlight them? Feel free to leave a comment below.