Nintendo Switch – Sink or Swim?
Since their debut of the NES way back in 1983 (1986 in the UK) Nintendo have always had a huge presence in the gaming world; dominating sales and claiming the childhood memories of millions. With their only real early competitor being SEGA they managed to churn out childhood favourites such as Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Mega Man and many more. And also smashing through consoles with the release of the SNES, N64 and GameCube, all really before receiving any real competition. Then with the release of the Sony PlayStation in 1994 sales began to slow. Then with the introduction of Microsoft’s Xbox in 1996, Nintendo had some real competition on their hands. Over time Nintendo’s sales have slowed as their marketing demographic became smaller and smaller due to the competition and rise of their two massive competitors.
Nevertheless they have continued to come up with innovative gaming consoles. With the patent for the Wii to challenge the design of gaming itself, making a more interactive and active form of play possible, they’ve always had an edge. By holding its release in 2006, prior to Christmas, many suppliers were left with no stock and many parents willing to pay whatever it took to get their hands on one. The initial sales of the Wii went so well that the price didn’t waver until 2009, three years after its release. As of March 2016 the Wii sold 101.63 million consoles making it Nintendo’s best-selling console to date.
The follow up console, the Wii U (2012), didn’t make a dent compared to this and after just three months their sales dropped by 51%. From there Supermarkets stopped stocking Nintendo consoles and haven’t picked these sales back up. Even for the anticipated release of the new Nintendo Switch (2017), many supermarkets haven’t even bought into the initial release sales, something that was beforehand was almost guaranteed.
The Switch is once again a console with a quirk that Nintendo have developed ahead of their time. It allows the player to employ the interactive controller of the Wii in some games but also the practical controller we see from Sony and Microsoft for the more serious gaming.
Not only does it connect to a TV monitor but also comes equipped with a smaller, handheld screen that can be charged and taken on the go to continue the gaming, wherever you are. The trailer prior to its release cleverly plays on this feature as many ‘hard core’ gamers hate the thought of having to leave a level incomplete. And with a massively anticipated release title like The Legend of Zelda: A Breath in the Wild, Nintendo are certainly tapping into that.
Although there was the initial worry over sales, what with supermarkets dropping them and the decline in market left by the Wii U. The Nintendo Switch has had a phenomenal initial release becoming Nintendo’s fastest selling console release to date, selling over 80,000 systems in the first weekend alone in the UK. Japan have seen its huge serge, as they often do as the Nintendo presence there continues to surpass that of Xbox and even PlayStation. In Spain it has broken the record for most successful console launch ever! So maybe Nintendo can pull it back and get themselves back in the running for greatest console of all time. Though they’ll have to make it past the first three months first before we’ll get a real inkling as to whether they can pull it back.
Personally, I’d like to think they’ll make a strong comeback in the home console world. I’ve always had a soft spot for Nintendo, however it remains to be seen just how well the Switch will hold up against the future generations of PlayStation and Xbox. For now, let’s just enjoy the much welcomed return of the gaming giants, Nintendo.
Keep your eyes peeled for a review in the coming months.