Though in recent history Nintendo has appealed to our sense of childish fun with excellent first-party exclusives and innovative gameplay, one thing it hasn’t offered is gaming experiences geared towards older audiences.
This is something that could, however, be about to change if a recent report from The Wall Street Journal is accurate. According to the report, Nintendo is actively encouraging publishers of more mature titles to release games on the Nintendo Switch in order to shed the console’s limiting family-friendly associations.
In the report, several game developers have been quoted as saying that Nintendo has actively encouraged them to bring their adult-targeted titles to the Nintendo Switch.
Inti Creates, the studio behind shooter Gal*Gun 2, is one of several studios that Nintendo has approached. Chief executive, Takuya Aizu, expressed his surprise that Nintendo approached them about releasing the game – a title which is, under no uncertain terms, very mature – on the Switch: “I thought it wouldn’t be possible to release such a game for the Switch, but surprisingly, Nintendo gave me positive feedback.”
One unnamed executive at a developer actually said that where Nintendo’s attitude towards mature titles was once “passive” that is “no longer the right word to describe its stance today.“
Nintendo itself told the Journal that it’s pursuing these titles in order to diversify its offering on the Switch: “As with books, television and movies, different content is meant for different audiences.”
Nintendo’s reputation for being the kid-friendly console option hasn’t exactly come from nowhere – you only have to look at Nintendo’s version of a first-party shooter, Splatoon, to know that the company hasn’t had much interest in violence, blood and gore. If you want that kind of entertainment, you go to PC, PlayStation or Xbox, thank you very much.
It may, therefore, be challenging for it to build up a more mature catalog of games and appeal to the audience that plays these titles exclusively as a result.
Nintendo is, however, not off to a bad start given that Doom, Wolfenstein 2 and LA Noire will be coming to the console in the very near future. Realistically, this is a change that had to happen and it’s refreshing to see Nintendo make these changes so actively.
Part of it is, undoubtedly, the potential of the Switch. Nintendo now technically has two handheld consoles with the Switch and the DS line, so it now has the freedom to make one of them geared more towards a younger audience. It makes sense to do this with the DS line, given that it’s less expensive and less fragile than the Switch.
Nintendo is, without a doubt, still the console developer for younger gamers. If it’s able to maintain it’s high standard of first-party family-friendly content whilst broadening its third-party mature catalog, these young gamers could very well be convinced to remain Nintendo customers as they get older.