It’s hard to believe, but the Nintendo Switch is now just over two years old. It seems like only yesterday that Nintendo was doing the first major reveal for the console. Or that we were playing Breath of the Wild for the first time and loving every minute of it (more or less). But now, it’s two years old, and that two years led to over 30+ million in sales (and counting) numerous awards and more.
And with that, comes perspective, and the team at the Nintendo Entertainment Podcast decided to share their feelings on why the Nintendo Switch’s first two years were such a major hit.
Todd’s Reason – Consistent and Constant First Party Titles
What does it mean to have a successful system? The obvious answer is console sales, but we all know that sometimes a good console can have only decent sales (PS3…GameCube…), which means that the true success of a system is based on the titles that come out on it. The Nintendo Switch has proven that if you can front load a new system with titles and have them all be quality, gamers will eat it all up.
Seriously, we’ve said it before on NEP, 2017 may have been one of the best lineups of games for a single system in history. Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Arms, Splatoon 2, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (which was a collaboration but I’m putting it in the first party category), Pokken Tournament DX, Fire Emblem Warriors, Super Mario Odyssey and then Xenoblade Chronicles 2. And that’s just 1st party titles and collaborations! All in one year!
And lest we forget, both Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey were both contenders for Game of the Year!
Granted, 2018 wasn’t as good as 2017, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have big 1st party titles. Kirby Star Allies, the port of Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze and Hyrule Warriors. The surprise hit of Mario Tennis Aces (which sold over 2 million), Super Mario Party (which was another surprise hit and the best-selling game in the franchise in the US), Pokemon Let’s Go, and a little game called Super Smash Bros Ultimate.
All of these games proved that Nintendo was dedicated to the Switch and its core fanbase, and we LOVED that! And even if you didn’t want to get one or two of these games, there were more to chose from! That kind of selection is AWESOME! And we’re still only getting started. 2019 will have Yoshi’s Crafted World, Super Mario Maker 2, Fire Emblem Three Houses, Pokemon Sword and Shield, Animal Crossing, Luigi’s Mansion 3, and possibly even more!
So when it comes to the Nintendo Switch, it definitely has console sales, but the 1st party games are a big reason for that.
Tyler’s Take: Nintendo is Finally Working With Third Parties
Until the Switch, Nintendo had a rocky history with third parties. Its consoles were often difficult to develop for, dating way back to the original NES. Back then, Nintendo was very careful about who they allowed to develop for the platform. They believed in regulating quality to ensure that gamers always got their money’s worth.
That worked back when they were the only horse in the race, but the philosophy backfired once SEGA began taking over the market. SEGA published games Nintendo would not, and won the 16-bit war in America in no small part because of it. Sony was even more aggressive in wooing third parties, handing out easy to use development kits that earned them an army of developers and eventually the biggest slice of the market.
When gaming shifted to CDs, Nintendo insisted upon cartridges for the N64. When the early 2000s saw the rise of popular ultra-violent games, Nintendo refused to publish them for the GameCube. When the rest of the world doubled down on advanced processing power, Nintendo released the non-HD Wii in 2006.
With Switch, Nintendo finally decided to bury the hatchet and embrace outside developers. Nintendo worked hard to ensure that game makers could realize their visions on the console. Developers like Panic Button have been able to port Xbox One and PS4 titles to the Switch without affecting gameplay. Many indie developers have found astounding success on the platform, in part thanks to Nintendo’s efforts to market their titles. And just as important, they’re getting 3rd party exclusives like Octopath Traveler, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, Astral Chain, and more!
The Switch can’t get every major third party game, and it remains to be seen how Nintendo plans to deal with the next generation of Microsoft and Sony consoles. But for now, the Switch owes a lot of its success to 3rd Party developers. Nintendo finally embraced them, and now they profit together.
William’s Take: Always On the Go
While others enjoy the Switch for its stellar library and simple hardware, for me as I stated in many podcasts, Nintendo really nailed it with the idea of combining both a console and handheld together. Allowing for players to bring these sort of experiences on the go.
This is nothing new but to see it implemented this well is really rare in the game industry. We had the 3DS, Vita and other gaming handhelds, but it is labeled under that term: handhelds. The only handheld prior that promises of playing full powered games on the go was the now defaunt PlayStation Vita. However, due to many factors like the price of a model, the expensive memory card, and lack of enthusiastic support from developers, it just bombed at the gate. So why did the Nintendo Switch succeed where the Vita failed?
Naturally, there is the difference of tech/power between the Vita and Switch with the deciding factor being either being in handheld or being docked. But for sake of the staying in the current generation, I’ll just stick generally to the PS4 and Xbox One. The Switch cannot stand to the horsepower of the other two systems. Yet Nintendo still makes it work with the limitations.
Nintendo made this system with the intention of allowing you to play full fledged games on the go, such as Breath of the Wild and Bethesda’s Wolfeinstien. Yes, the ports and graphically intense games require a downgrade from their original version, though I feel that its a small price to pay when done properly. Give me frame rates over resolution any day. There’s even DOOM on the Switch. To play games of such caliber on the go is a crazy thought, but the Switch allows that.
Naturally, the Switch is backed by a great library of games to help justify a purchase of one. Legend of Zelda, Travis Stikes Again, Mario, Project Octopath and many others. I like that aside from the option of the 3DS, I can play a full 3D Zelda adventure on the go. I still love the experiences I have with Octopath Traveler when I was at the doctor or at work. Playing Tetris 99 on my lunch breaks is still fun and if I nab the number one spot, oh so much sweeter.
The only thing that we have for gaming prior, asides from a dedicated handheld console like the 3DS or Vita, is our smart devices. We have our smartphones with all us the time, with the internet at our fingertips, playing mobile games whenever we want. Nintendo back then understood this trend of how our phones were always with us and wanted to make something similar. That we take something else of Nintendo with us, on the go, wherever we go on a daily basis. Hence, the Nintendo Switch.
This message was made clear with their first introduction to the world. We can play this literally anywhere. Heck, we have people playing their Nintendo Switch on Mt Everest! Not too long along, Nintendo released a video of a person hiking and playing his Switch in reminiscence Breath of the Wild. All this and at the end of the day, you bring it back home, put it in the dock and you continue your adventures. I can make progress in Octopath Traveler at work in my break time and feel that I can finish this game whenever I get back home or on my weekends. It just seems unreal not to have Nintendo at my side wherever I go.
I work my days like any other and sometimes I really want to bring something that is full of Nintendo. The Nintendo 3DS is an option, but the Switch is the console to have with you wherever you are when I want the full experience. Playing Zelda, Valkyria Chronicles 4, or even Senran Kagura on the go is great. (Yes, that last one is questionable. Don’t Judge!) How Nintendo was able to combine ideas from handhelds and consoles and put it together for the Switch is proof that Nintendo is one of the most unique and creative companies in this industry.
I honestly cannot see myself without Nintendo by side wherever I go. From conventions to parks, on airplanes, or even in Malaysia, the Switch is really something. Sure the 3DS or Nintendo mobile games are there, but to have something fully Nintendo that allows me to play wherever I go, and the option of multiplayer with its Joy Cons, just really sells it for me. So if you can’t tell already, I loved my Nintendo Switch these past 2 years. Nintendo manages to balance two separate markets and combines them together in splendid fashion. Of course, there are things that need to be improved on, like the internet service, battery life, particular niche game markets and so on. But it nails the point of having the Nintendo experience wherever you go.
Thank you Nintendo and Nintendo Switch for these two years of great experiences. Here is to another great year and experiences to come.
What are your thoughts on the first two years of the Nintendo Switch? What were your favorite games on it? Your favorite moments with it? Let us know in the comments below! And be sure to check out the latest episodes of the Nintendo Entertainment Podcast every Friday!