Later this week, Nintendo’s latest console the Nintendo Switch will be released to the public. This is an exciting time for obvious reasons. The anticipation of a new console especially from Nintendo can take the hype factor into overload. There truly is nothing like the release of a new video game console, especially if Nintendo is behind it. However, this release also yields a frightening or scary time for fans as well.
Let’s start up the way-back machine and go back to the year 2001. Nintendo was getting ready to follow up on the highly successful Nintendo 64 with their latest console, Gamecube. Despite praises on the controller design and overall game lineup, the console received criticism on the design of the console itself and launch lineup. Sure, the Gamecube gave us Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Mario Sunshine, Resident Evil, and more but it was at this point that many begin to look at the big N differently from its competitors. It was also the first of the sales declines. Compared to the Nintendo 64 which sold 32.93 million units, the Nintendo Gamecube only sold a mere 22 million units worldwide during the lifespan of the system.
The Wii was an anomaly for the company however. The Nintendo Wii was one of the most successful home video game consoles of all-time and sold over 101 million units worldwide. However later in the console’s lifespan, many people notated that the system seemed geared more towards a casual audience rather than the hardcore audience that Nintendo had catered towards. One could argue that the gaming industry was changing as casual gamers became a larger part of the industry but there is no doubting the success that the Wii had for Nintendo.
Nintendo tried to follow up this success with the Wii U but fell flat, very quickly. The Wii U wasn’t even able to manage a quarter of the sales of the Wii as it only yielded about 13.56 million units sold. Many of the criticisms of the Wii U concerned once again engaging towards a more casual audience as well as third party support. Third party support was crippling for the Wii U and this in turn did not help the lineup of games for the system either. Among publishers reducing support included major players such as EA, and Bethesda.
While the Wii U continued to struggle, the 3DS sales continued to explode and system support seemed to be only increasing. Selling more systems than the original NES at about 65.30 million units sold, the Nintendo 3DS’ popularity seems to only be growing since being formally introduced in 2011. The system continues to have strong support with an amazing lineup of games, and accessories. And this brings us to an interesting crossroad: The Nintendo Switch.
The Nintendo Switch can be seen in many instances as somewhat of a hybrid system. Using two modes of play, the Nintendo Switch can be enjoyed as a home console, or on the go. For years, gamers have enjoyed taking their 3DS on the go and now they’ll get that opportunity with the Switch – a home console. However, there are clouds that still remain on the Switch front. Reportedly, the virtual console will not be available at the time of launch. This is discouraging as many people would love to play their favorite classic games, on the go. Third party support is something that Nintendo has addressed and has a reportedly strong initial third party support from many publishers and developers.
Being a fan of Nintendo’s products brings ups and downs of tremendous proportions – a roller coaster ride. The pending release of the Nintendo Switch yields a time where Nintendo needs to have an exciting loop and corkscrew in their roller coaster if they want to have the Nintendo Switch to be successful and I personally believe that they recognize the magnitude of this release. While the launch lineup isn’t the strongest, I for one believe that the Nintendo Switch will be the console that brings back that exciting trend for Nintendo for casual and hardcore gamers thanks to the strong third party support, and hybrid setup. Of course time will tell but no matter how you look at it, this is an exciting time to be a Nintendo fan.
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