The Nintendo Switch has been flying off shelves faster than…things that fly fast off shelves…dust? Does dust fly fast off…no dust sticks on shelves. I mean that would have been a decent Wii U joke but that doesn’t make sense here.
Anyway, the Switch has been selling like hot cakes and though I knew it would, many of us didn’t think it would sell THIS well. So I ask the question, “Why The Hell is The Switch Selling so Well?”Nintendo has always been an outlier in the games market. Ever since the N64, they’ve been adamant in trying new and different ideas. And though some have failed, it’s always interesting to see what Ninty does next. They hit Gold with the Nintendo DS, in 2004, and this was the start of Nintendo garnering the casual gamer demographic. They were always the conqueror in the handheld gaming market, with the Gameboys, and always toed the line with both the casual and hardcore demographic, but never went fully in with either. Nintendo always had the hardcore Nintendo fans on their side, but that isn’t enough to keep your company afloat. They could try to conform to the norm and create another HD console like Sony and Microsoft, but that’s not what Nintendo is about.
So with the attention of the casual gamer, they made the money-printing machine, The Nintendo Wii. The Wii was something else. In a market where high definition graphics, big dudes with guns in gritty dark environments, the Wii was a breath of fresh air. It’s innovative (though somewhat cute and a tad gimmicky) controllers, a library of fantastic original titles, and a handful of solid Third Party Titles; and a complete takeover of the term “party games”, the Wii was an overwhelming success.
Fast forward 5 years, and Nintendo released it’s next console…The Wii U. Now I don’t want to stay on this for too long, because we all know why the Wii U failed. Firstly, horrible marketing. No one knew what the Wii U was. Was it an add-on to the Wii? A separate, but smaller console? Or a true successor? Combine that with abysmal third party support, a clunky controller, and an overall unfocused idea of what the console was, the Wii U failed.
Now let’s get to it. The Nintendo Switch. The Switch has sold close to 3 million units in its first month. 2.74 million to be exact. It’s most likely surpassed the 3 million mark as of this article. That number is well beyond what even Nintendo predicted. So much so that Nintendo has taken to shipping their consoles via flight rather than sea, simply to meet demand. That is crazy when you consider that it takes nearly $50 more PER UNIT to ship via airplane. GameStop has even said that the Switch isn’t getting sold out in days, but rather hours upon new shipments.
Now yes, when you compare the launch day sales to Sony’s behemoth the PS4, the numbers for the Switch don’t stack up. But when compared to the month, the Switch has surpassed the PS4’s numbers.
So why? What’s the reason for these incredible numbers?
In the first 20 seconds of the reveal of the Switch. You knew EXACTLY what it was. A console that you can take on the road. It showed you how it worked. It showed you the controllers, the console, and how they attach and detach. There weren’t kids playing some weird game on some weird controller. It didn’t have awkward transitions to grandparents trying to be relatable while playing some weird motion controlled game. No, just a dude on his couch, who seamlessly takes his console on the road so that he can play Zelda while sitting on a park bench, and not pay attention to his dog, who is definitely not going to take a shit on the neighbors porch. So simple.
The Switch combines Nintendo’s two major successes. The Wii, and the 3DS. It still has the motion controls of the Wii, and they can be used for playing party games with your friends; only this time you can play literally anywhere. But when you want to get some real gaming done, you can just slide those controllers on the console, or on your grip, and game like a normal person would on either a handheld like a 3DS and Vita, or an actual console hooked to a TV. All of this, was advertised perfectly.
Not As Cute
The Wii, though a success, had many gamers look the other way simply because it was too casual. Now I love the Wii and thought its library of games, its controllers, and overall experience was great. But I get it. It was all small and cute looking, with cute motion controls, and cute games, and cute people playing them. Is the word cute starting to sound weird? Cute…cute…cute.
The Switch, though sure not as beefy, dude-bro looking as a gaming PC, is also not marketed like a child’s play thing. Every commercial has people like you and me – though much prettier – playing the Switch. It’s not intimidating like an Alienware or Call of Duty commercial, but it’s not filled with kids and grandparents doing awkward hip gestures with the controllers while laughing maniacally. There’s something relaxing and relatable to the Switch.
And with the incredible success of Breath of the Wild, and the fact that you can play such an amazing game anywhere including on your TV, is fantastic.
So now that we know why The Switch has been selling so well, we now need to talk about how it can continue to sell at such a high number.
And the answer is simple.
THIRD. PARTY. SUPPORT.
Those three words are the biggest reason why the Wii U failed. A console can’t thrive off of Original titles. Unless you’re releasing multiple new titles that are all Breath of the Wild caliber titles each year. Which obviously isn’t feasible. From what we know, The Switch is comparatively easier to develop for due to its partnership with Nvidia in making its processing chip. But obviously the console is nowhere near the power of the PS4 of Xbox One.
Now Indie developers will have a great time with the Switch, and we’ve already seen a number of great titles in Shovel Knight and the Binding of Isaac already make its way to the console. But that’s not enough. As much as I love my Indies, they don’t move consoles.
Nintendo needs to communicate and work with developers to create games that are not indies and party games. But games that are, if not Triple A, but of similar caliber. If they can get that going and form a solid library, I can see the Switch doing remarkably well.
Let us know your thoughts on the Switch below!