I saw a tweet from Jenovi that made me think. Ok, let me show you the tweet and my response:
I firmly believe that the system had its place. Had it been released on time and not significantly later than the PlayStation, Saturn, 3DO and Jaguar (LOL!), just to name a few than it might have had a greater market share.
Oh, and who can forget the cartridges. Nintendo decided to stick with the cartridge format, even though the entire industry migrated to the (far cheaper) CD-ROM technology. Square (now Square Enix) switched brand loyalty to Sony, amongst others. Games were routinely released for $50 on the PlayStation ($40 for first party titles) and $70 for the Nintendo 64. Yes, $70 in the late 90s.
Also, if you don’t already know, Nintendo had a policy where all cartridges needed to be purchased directly from them. As a result, third parties lost money on the cartridge format, just to release their game. You may have noticed that most third party companies used the memory card to store saves, where Nintendo’s own games saved directly to the cartridge. It was a cost cutting measure for them.
Don’t get me wrong, there were excellent games on the console. In fact, the best games were often produced by Nintendo. Mario 64, Zelda, Goldeneye and Star Fox (my favorite game on the console) are just a few of the best. By the way, all of them are on Nintendo Switch Online now. Check them out!
Ultimately, even with the many issues that the Nintendo 64 had, during its time; it was still far more successful than many of its competitors. Sega and 3DO dropped off. Well, Sega regrouped with the Dreamcast, but that also couldn’t compete.
You have to consider that a this time, Nintendo was still operating the way they did during the SNES days, and each successive console did worse than the one that preceded it. Also, the audience that grew up with them had largely moved on to other consoles. Sure, many still had a N64, but the games of choice were for a more mature crowd.
Overall, I do believe that the console had a solid first party library, but the third party games were few and far between.