5 Reasons the Nintendo Switch Will Succeed
It’s been a strong two weeks for the Big N. The Nintendo Switch has launched, and critics everywhere are praising The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, calling it, “one of the best games of all time.” Some early reports are stating that this has also been a stronger launch than that of the original Wii. (Although, I do believe that the launch of the Wii was severely limited in supply, which would make that statement make sense)
All good news aside, I don’t disagree that the Switch has a few flaws, but I also don’t see it as the failure that some are predetermining it will be.
Here are some reasons that the Nintendo Switch IS a success, and will continue to be one:
1. What is Success?
First off, I want to define what the term “success” means. People often compare two things and declare the lesser a “failure,” because it is not like the other. Example: “Seriously? The Switch can ONLY output this resolution when the PS4 and Xbox One can do this? Wow, Nintendo has assured that their newest console will die a swift death!”
Webster's Dictionary Definition of Success:
All three of these definitions apply to the Nintendo Switch.
The Switch has certainly achieved its initial aim and purpose.
While I do agree that it is odd the Switch isn’t up to the base standards of graphics for this era, it also needs to be understood that the Switch ISN’T supposed to be like the Xbox One or PlayStation 4. In fact, that’s what makes it so much MORE appealing than an Xbox One, PlayStation, or PC.
2. It is true console gaming on the go
The only differentiators you will see in our current console segment are graphical capability, user Interface, and platform exclusives. The Switch and other platforms can exist in the same space because it offers something completely different. Nintendo has always exceeded in their handheld space so we could play some really great, and deep games on the go. However, none of those experiences ever truly felt like a ‘console’ experience.
The fact that I can play a game as massive as Breath of the Wild, without a real compromise in anything except graphics is quite an achievement. (And honestly, I sometimes think the game looks better on the tablet than on my tv).
3. Sales Numbers are Strong
Weird PR wording aside, a good way of determining the success of a new console, is the raw consumer data. The Switch has sold 1.5 million units in two weeks. Compare that to the Wii U, which sold only half of that in its first month. It should be noted that the PS4, in 24 hours, sold over 1 million, in JUST North America.
While we’ve definitely seen stronger initial console sales than the Switch, I would say that because it falls in the upper echelons of other console launches, that’s a good sign. Don’t forget that Sony and Microsoft are much more capable of outputting mass amounts of hardware, than Nintendo. More units = more initial launch sales.
Nintendo has been a company that definitely likes to limit supply for multiple reasons (mainly to generate hype, but also to be financially careful). The Switch is currently sold out in a majority of retail spaces across the United States. Ebay listings for the Switch are currently sitting at near $400. It’s also pretty damn hard to find a Pro Controller at the moment because they can’t keep them in stock. While this is still a symptom of limited supply, it bodes well for the company that even with a stronger focus on production, people are still buying the Switch faster than they can restock.
4. Starting Games Catalogue
This is another common complaint that I’m seeing from people and I actually agree that this is probably one of the ‘weaker’ launches we’ve seen in a while. It should be noted, that Breath of the Wild is already one of the highest reviewed games of all time. A pseudo-strong game library at the start of a console launch definitely helps, but it doesn’t necessarily determine the ‘success.’ Let’s look at the launch games of the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch respectively.
Total Launch Games: 26
Notable new titles: Killzone Shadow Fall, Knack, All Relevant Sports titles, Just Dance 2014, Battlefield 4, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Call of Duty Ghosts.
Total Launch Games: 21
Notable New Titles: Same as above minus Killzone, and Knack. Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome, Killer Instinct.
Total Launch Games: 12
Notable New Titles: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, 1-2 Switch, Fast RMX, Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove, SnipperClips, Super Bomberman R.
Okay, so this point is very much subjective because I’m not the typical gamer. I look for memorable experiences that are different than the next sequeled blockbuster shooter, or a graphically superior version of a last generation game.
With the Xbox One and PS4, there really wasn’t anything to write home about for the first year of their life cycle. Nothing that said, “Wow, super glad that I picked up the PlayStation so I could play this game!”
Super Mario 64, was probably the last time that a game was so groundbreaking, it justified purchasing the N64 at launch. Sure, you can buy Breath of the Wild for Wii U, but a lot of people skipped out on the Wii U because it was, to many, a failure. It’s also been verified that the ‘better’ version to play exists on the Switch.
The launch of the Switch didn’t bring a high quantity of games, but I might argue that it has the best average quality of games, and the promise of other great games to come.
Speaking of great games to come…
5. Solid Release Schedule
Has-Been Heroes - March 2017
Arms - Spring 2017
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - April
Yooka-Laylee - April 11
Splatoon 2 - Summer
Rime - Summer
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - TBD 2017
Super Mario Odyssey - Holiday 2017
There is a slew of other great titles headed to the Switch this year, and with the recent news of the Pokemon team looking to hire for a new console game, I think we’ll be in for a pretty exciting E3 this year.
At the end of the day, the Switch is already a success because it has done what the initial promise was; to seamlessly take your gaming experience at home, on the go. It’s been a blast to take Hyrule with me on the road, and I can’t wait to see what Nintendo does next. (A good start would be the release of the next Metroid Prime sequel!)