Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Beth's Thoughts: Is the Nintendo Switch a Success?

The Nintendo Switch is the newest of Nintendo’s consoles and now we face an important question - Will it be a success or failure?

Nintendo has been a success since the 1980s, with some of their consoles, games and brands becoming a household name. The Gameboy, Nintendo DS and Wii have all become well-known over the years, and Nintendo has steadily developed their consoles with a good success rate.

With the rise of Playstation and Xbox, Nintendo has recently taken a backseat. Other consoles may have progressed quicker in certain ways (online modes and region free games) and Nintendo fell back when the Nintendo Wii U didn’t sell as well as it could have.

Let’s take the Wii U as an example of how Nintendo went wrong. The Wii U and Nintendo 3DS were released within a year of each other - but the sales figures are drastically different. At the time of publication (according to Wikipedia), the Nintendo 3DS has sold 66.12 million consoles, but the Wii U has only sold 13.56 million. To put these figures in perspective, the 3DS game Animal Crossing: New Leaf sold around 2 million more copies in the first 2 months than the Wii U (console) did in its first 2.

After the sales and disasters of the Wii U, Nintendo had to get back at the top of their game. In October 2016, almost 4 years after the release of the Wii U, Nintendo announced they would be releasing a new console in March 2017. The question remained - how would they produce a fully finished console and build up the hype in just 6 months? Would it be possible?

The answer is yes, they could. Maybe not everything would be fully polished, but overall the launch for the Nintendo NX - now revealed as the Switch - ran smoothly. Launch sales were strong, and the Switch sold more copies over the first 2 days than any Nintendo console has before.

Pre-release brought many discussions, articles and videos. Would the Nintendo Switch be more successful than the Wii U? Are Nintendo going to run out of pre-orders after the disaster of the Mini NES? What games will be released in the first year? The second year? Many questions surfaced - but only one topped them all. Would the Nintendo Switch bring Nintendo’s legacy back, or would it fail once again?

Speculation was rife. Estimates, thoughts and feelings were expressed - but in the end, no one knew what was going to happen. Yes, Nintendo hit it’s pre-order limit in many stores across the world, with some even taking too many pre-orders. But that wasn’t enough to truly know how the Nintendo Switch would turn out.

Overall, the launch went smoothly. Most people received their consoles on time and without hassle. Software and hardware problems did occur, but that was to be expected. They had no more problems than any other console would - and the most important thing is, it was selling.

Not only did the Nintendo Switch sell over the first days and weeks, but it continues to as the months roll on. It’s now the week of E3, one of the world’s biggest gaming conventions, and Japanese sales charts are showing the Nintendo Switch is the country’s biggest selling console of all time. The only downfall is, as expected, Nintendo are still having some stock issues. If it wasn’t for that, the Nintendo Switch would be selling even better.

Why? The answer may be simple. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has a 91% attach rate to the Switch, and for good reason. The game has received excellent reviews since launch, and some gamers are even arguing it is the best video game ever made. To put it simply, having a strong launch title is definitely helping sales.

Overall - is the Switch a success? Honestly, I think it’s a little early to say. Sales figures are strong and are definitely looking positive for the near future, but there are chances they could fall after the hype over The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild dies down. Yes, they have a great line-up - but will any of those games be good enough to hold onto the success of the Switch? We shall see.

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