Feature: The rise and rise of Nintendo Switch
Published by Catarina White April 11, 2018
After an incredible first year, we look at Nintendo Switch's success, and ahead to its future.
I certainly won't be the first person to publish positive sentiments this year in the vein of how Nintendo is absolutely killing it; I won't even be the tenth. Regardless, as a passionate gamer, I feel that it should be written about at least one more time.
First, let's start with a story to set the context for just how impressive it is that Nintendo has arrived here after only a very short time period. Two years ago, I received a bonus at work; being young and having no real responsibilities to put the extra money towards, I decided to go out and purchase the only console I didn't have, the Wii U. At this point I was actively playing my other consoles, but I hadn't played a Nintendo game in a long while, and after watching various gamers on YouTube, I was hooked on Splatoon. I went out on Boxing Day in the winter of 2015 and bought one, and that entire break, all I did was play Splatoon. It was insanely fun, and I spent countless hours levelling up my Inkling and collecting all the gear I could purchase. The time I spent playing the Wii U waned after I realized that, other than Splatoon and Mario Kart 8, there really weren't any other games available that I was burning to play.
It was around this time I started hearing rumours about the Nintendo NX project, and what I was hearing interested in me greatly. Over time the entire concept started to develop, and when the first official trailer dropped for the Nintendo Switch, I believed that Nintendo was about to have another console that could be as big a hit as the Wii had been. I honestly believed it could be an even bigger hit, given that it looked like its portable nature would allow it to replace the 3DS in time. I read numerous articles and heard from many that it looked gimmicky and it was going to bomb; some of these articles were so strongly worded that it seemed like a lot of gaming journalists were rooting for Nintendo to fail for whatever reason.
I got up at 3am on release day to head over to my local gaming store so that I could be one of the first in line, and I was. I had done a little investigating the week leading up to release day, and that had informed me there were going to be very few of these consoles available at launch, and even fewer with the blue and red Joy-Cons, which I had to have. I ended up being one of the first people in line, which grew slowly but eventually had enough people in it that the store was sold out by early morning, after I had left excitedly with my multi-coloured Joy-Con model. I had also been lucky enough to grab the last special edition boxset of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, complete with coin, soundtrack, and the most amazing Sheikah Slate hard case for my new console.
That weekend I played Zelda non-stop and marvelled at the absolutely outstanding way the Nintendo Switch allowed me to play my game on the big screen, or walk away with it if I wanted to sit somewhere else in my house, whenever I felt like it. I loved the Switch instantly, and I was crossing my fingers that everyone else would feel the same way so it would get a ton of third-party interest and a slew of new titles.
Over a year later, I needn't have worried. The Nintendo Switch is a huge hit, with over 14 million units sold to date. The system has seen great third-party support, from some excellent ports such as Fate/EXTELLA: The Umbral Star to original new games including SteamWorld Dig 2. Other highlights absolutely include Thumper - a rhythm game with fascinating twists (literally) - and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, an unbelievably fun RPG sporting characters in situations I never thought I would get to see. That doesn't even cover first-party hits like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Splatoon 2; being able to play these on the go is beyond exceptional for a busy professional.
It doesn't seem to be losing any steam either. Nintendo appears to have learned that they need to have a steady stream of new titles, big and small, to ensure they keep their customers happy. Based on the expected releases of Yoshi, Fire Emblem, and Super Smash Bros. in 2018, followed by the likes of Pokémon, Bayonetta 3, and Dragon Quest XI in the future , Nintendo Switch owners should have exciting releases to continue to look forward to already for the next two years.
I couldn't be happier that Nintendo has once again found its footing in the console world, and has somehow managed to go toe-to-toe with Microsoft and Sony despite its console's lack of 4K capabilities and absence of high-level processing power. In fact, more than go toe-to-toe - somehow Nintendo has managed to make me forget that I even need those things because I'm too busy having fun playing the beautiful games that run basically flawlessly on their wonderful, portable system. I can't wait to see what the upcoming year and beyond holds for the Nintendo Switch, and I intend to be here every step of the way testing out games and sharing my thoughts.
Your move, Nintendo.