It wasn’t too long ago that starving Wii owners had to beg, plead, and petition Nintendo to localize and publish Japanese games like Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story in America. Apparently the company has realized the error of their ways, because nowadays Nintendo isn’t satisfied with just localizing their own titles, they want to localize other companies’ games too.
In a presentation given to investors today, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata revealed that Nintendo is currently working with some (as yet unnamed) Japanese third parties to localize their previously Japan-exclusive 3DS games and release them in Western territories.
Iwata admitted that while the 3DS has become a bona-fide hit in Japan, the system continues to perform below expectations in America and Europe. “The challenge for Nintendo 3DS exists in the overseas market, not the Japanese market. We need to think about the method and its possibility of making what we have done in Japan happen there,” Iwata told investors.
Because Western publishers continue to treat handheld platforms like the 3DS (and the Vita as well,) like an afterthought, Nintendo is instead partnering with Japanese publishers to make sure that their games become hits on the global marketplace, not just in Japan. “We plan to more actively support the Japanese software developers in distributing their key titles overseas this year,” Iwata explained, “Among those third-party titles both developed and published in Japan, there have been some games which Nintendo published in Europe, including the Professor Layton series. We will increase the number of such games for the U.S. market as well as in Europe. We are also willing to flexibly assist third-party developers in distributing their valuable games overseas.” Basically, Nintendo is now willing to localize and publish other companies’ Japanese 3DS games if the original publisher is unwilling or unable to.
This isn’t the first time Nintendo has tried this kind of partnership: Nintendo shared the costs of Monster Hunter Tri’s translation and American distribution with Capcom, and they also backed the English releases of Square-Enix’s Dragon Quest games on the DS.
This is really good news for 3DS owners: hopefully this means the end of having to sign petitions and plead with Japanese publishers in order to get them to release their games overseas. What games do you guys think Nintendo should localize first? Personally, I’m hoping that Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney will finally get confirmed for a US release.