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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Nintendo: Killing it with the Switch

"Nintendo is quickly becoming irrelevant."
"The Switch will flop."
"The Switch will end up like the Wii U."
"Nintendo should just go third party."

Words spoken by detractors, skeptics and haters.

Right behind the Virtual Boy, the Wii U is Nintendo's second biggest flop and I say that as someone that really loved the system. After the runaway success that was the Wii, Nintendo was hoping for a repeat performance with the Wii U but awful marketing and name confusion ensured that the system only sold over 13.56 million units during it's entire life span. Faith that Nintendo could produce a console that could perform well as well as overall moral with the company for a lot of people, was at an all time low.

In a brilliant stroke of advertising, Nintendo pumped out an ad for this year's Super Bowl, as always an event viewed by millions. Gamers at large were already aware that the Switch was coming thanks to the console's reveal months before the Super Bowl, but there still plenty of people who were unaware of the console's coming. That ad ensured that everyone on the planet knew about the Switch and unlike the Wii U, the message of what the console was was as clear as crystal. Fittingly, Nintendo used Imagine Dragon's Believer as background music for the ad.

We haven't even gone into the holiday season and the Switch has already sold 4.7 million units worldwide as of June. That is nothing short of mind blowing. Consider that the Switch hasn't even been on the market for six months and it is selling at an extremely rapid pace. The Switch also had (and continues to have) supply issues and it still manage to bring in some very impressive numbers so early in the console's life. Yet, some can't fathom that a Nintendo console could be so successful so fast. Because haters gonna hate, they downplay the Switch.

Anyone that owns a Switch more than likely picked
up Breath of the Wild.
One key factor to the Switch being a runaway hit is that it is home console as well as a portable. How many times have you wanted to play a home console game but you couldn't because the home console experience couldn't be taken with you? The Switch remedies this by being a console/handheld hybrid. Sure, the screen isn't a big as your HD or 4K TV but the screen resolution is still super clean and games run very smooth when the Switch is in handheld mode. Its almost scary that a behemoth of a game like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can be played anywhere. That's the beauty of the Switch: any game you get for the system can be played wherever you are, yes, including the can if you're into gaming there. The Switch is console gaming that can be taken with you.

ARMS, a new IP that released on June 16th, has
already sold 1.18 million worldwide.
The Switch isn't as powerful as other consoles, a fact people love to bring up when throwing shade at it. True, the Switch isn't the most powerful system, but for working as a console and a portable, I wouldn't call it weak. The thing can run the Unreal and Unity engines for crying out loud. If power were everything, the Xbox and GCN would have slaughtered the PS2 but Sony cleaned house during that console generation. The Switch is also easy to develop for, much easier than the Wii U was and dev kits are cheaper as well. Some still think $300 is too high for the Switch but if the system were more powerful, you can bet it would cost even more. We'd never hear the end of griping about the price tag then.

Another reason for the Switch's runaway success is the advertising. Most ads for the Wii U were cringe worthy. Switch ads? Not only are they vastly superior but they are being aired consistently. Whether I'm watching TV or videos on YouTube, escaping a Switch ad is near impossible, which isn't a bad thing. The ads are short, to the point while driving home what the Switch is about. Stay aggressive with those ads, Nintendo.

Mighty Gunvolt Burst, a Mega Man-style game exclusive
to the Switch and 3DS.
"The Switch has no games." This is an argument that surfaces with every single console within the first several months and it really makes me face palm. Tons upon tons of games do not just fall from the sky within the first 4-6 months of a console's life. Expecting a console has to have stacks of games right off the bat is highly unrealistic. Anyone that thinks the Switch has no games is doing some Monkey D. Luffy levels of reaching. There's FAST RMX, Blaster Master Zero, Mighty Gunvolt Burst, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, Splatoon 2. Yes, a few of those are ports but Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has a vastly improved battle mode over the Wii U version. On the Switch, one of the best Zelda games and one of the best entries in the Mario Kart series can be played on the go. The number of ports on the Switch thus far is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount that are on the PS4 and XBO. The Switch will be getting even more heavy hitters later this year with Fire Emblem Warriors, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Super Mario Odyssey with more to look forward to the following year. And yet, there will still be gamers that say the Switch has no games because Nintendo isn't allowed to do well for some reason.

No matter how much haters want to dismiss the Switch's performance, it won't change the fact that it is selling like crazy. Nintendo took a hard fall with the Wii U but even when so many were saying that the company was done, they proved just how wrong the naysayers were. Nintendo knew what they were doing when they used the song Believer in that Super Bowl ad.

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