Many who read these pages have owned a Switch for almost 5 years. We probably have extensive game libraries, a crooked Joy-Con stick or two and a lot of good memories. Still, the feverish attempts to want a Switch ‘Pro’ to exist this year, as opposed to when Nintendo is good and ready to release an upgrade or sequel, spoke to the desire for something shiny and a bit more powerful. While millions of Sony and Microsoft gamers – the lucky ones at least – are enjoying a new generation of hardware, the Switch looks more and more squeaky, while some ports in recent times are either extremely rough or ‘Cloud versions’.
On the other hand, Switch has plenty of exclusive products on the way and a lively eShop that – once you battle your way through a large number of distinctly average titles – has plenty of gems. The switch has games, just not necessarily the most technically advanced sus-bang game.
What long-term owners and fans can also overlook is that the Switch is still selling in tremendous numbers and is still a ‘hot’ item ahead of the upcoming party season. There is some research that points to this, and much of what we can take for granted is still very desirable to many people. Interestingly, people are talking about Nintendo’s reduced forecasts of over 20 million systems sent this fiscal year as negative when they are numbers that – under the current circumstances – remain outstanding.
So when one moves beyond worn Switch veterans like us, how is such a onegeing, underpowered small console still a hot product to pick up almost 5 years after release? Here are some key strengths that still make Nintendo’s system stand out and be a much sought after Black Friday and festive purchase.
A competitive range of prices
This may seem like a strange category to start with, but it is relevant in the context of current market conditions. We’ll tackle this more in another section, but the Switch now competes in the PS5 and Xbox Series X | S space, and although both of these systems have more affordable models without disk drives or reduced specifications, the Switch does quite well. well priced next to them. The OLED model may cost $ 349.99, but the standard model costs $ 299.99 (and has recently been priced in Europe) and is featured in Black Friday packages and offers. Then there is Switch Lite for $ 199.99USD, which slides into a great price for other systems, gifts for kids and so on.
In addition to Lite, Nintendo has also successfully highlighted how a Switch purchase saves some costs in the form of extras. With so many family-oriented multiplayer games that work well with single Joy-Con controllers, the multiplayer angle is accessible out of the box with no need for additional controllers. When you carefully budget festive gifts, Switch offers a great option because of its various gaming options and the ability to does not need lots of add-ons to have fun out of the box.
The variety of options also means that a number of households may end up with more than one Switch, which is pretty much a win-win situation for Nintendo.
All about the hopeful lifestyle
Subsequently, from that point on, Nintendo has steadily promoted the image of the Switch as a valuable contributor to daily routines, downtime with family and friends, and of course a number of ‘serious’ games like RPGs to slow down time. This goes back to the old argument that the system is more than the sum of its parts – it’s an old tablet with removable controllers and a dock for the TV, but Nintendo has made it a lifestyle device in the same way as the Wii / DS era.
We see Nintendo promoting fitness and activity with people like Ring Fit Adventure, it is to promote solo and multiplayer mental training with the upcoming Big Brain Academy: Brain Vs. Brain, and of course there are various other fitness and puzzle games available. There is also a large multiplayer angle, Mario Party Superstars is a recent example where marketing for over four years has shown a mix of TV and portable play with friends and family. It has been established as a very social machine, an impressive PR achievement when one thinks of its weak offerings in areas like online voice chat.
Of course, there are also solo games where marketing indicates that players immerse themselves at home in a cozy seat, in front of the television, or when they are on the go. This is an old hat for many of us, but it is an aspiration view designed to fit people’s lifestyles and respect their time. It is another factor that makes it attractive to people of different types.
There are so many games
It’s easy to overlook for those of us who’ve been on the Switch train since day one and may be struggling to find a festive purchase (especially with the delay of Advance Wars 1 + 2: Re-Boot Camp), but the system now has an excellent and varied library. After all Mario Kart 8 Deluxe still sells millions of copies a year, so there is still lots of people out there discovering the joys of the race car driver for the first time. Then there are more Pokemon games, let’s not forget, and the ongoing charm of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
The switch has gradually accumulated a hefty library of exclusive, first- and third-party products and has also benefited from a number of Wii U ports – games that not many will have played in their original form. While it’s easy to focus on what Nintendo’s system can not offer, such as powerful versions of many best-selling multiplatform titles like Call of Duty, etc., there are many games that are unique or best played on the Switch. Again, for those of us who have steadily accumulated a collection, it’s easy to brush past it, but for those who come to Switch late, the variety in the library is unique.
So yes, when it comes down to it, Switch definitely has games.
You can actually find them in the stores
Perhaps this is the big one, and a bit of a gift to Nintendo in light of unprecedented challenges over the last few years. Nintendo, like many entertainment companies, experienced a boom in sales and profits in 2020 due to global shutdowns and a lot of people needing home entertainment. Now, in 2021 and into next year, the sustained effect of COVID remains, while the technology industry also struggles with severe chip shortages and logistical challenges. It’s getting harder and harder to manufacture and distribute consoles right now, where Nintendo is also affected despite its established pipelines and use of off-the-shelf products and established technology.
For Sony and Microsoft, however, it has been impossible to meet the demand, especially with the PS5 and Xbox Series X models. Every single one of these systems that arrive in stores is selling fast and anyone looking to buy one for the festive season will rely on luck and good timing. Switch OLED is somewhat similar in some areas, and other specific bundles and colors are difficult to find, but there are standard and Lite models available with a little searching. While Sony and Microsoft’s latest generation systems (PS4 / Xbox One) should theoretically also be cheap options, they actually feel outdated and are certainly not promoted.
It’s a tough spot for Sony and Microsoft, but for Nintendo it’s certainly advantageous as the most consistently available gaming system in stores.
Mass apple, ‘Blue Ocean’ etc …
To varying degrees, all of the current game consoles have mass appeal – gaming has never been greater and it feels like we’re moving to a stage where the term ‘gamer’ will be irrelevant. The large selection of games available on various platforms means that most people are now ‘gamers’, whether they are on consoles, phones or whatever.
The switch’s strong momentum and all the factors highlighted above contribute to the mass appeal that has made this a successful generation for Nintendo. The company has also used this time to build the ‘brand’ where the LEGO Mario series has proven hugely popular, and of course the Mario movie coming next winter. After a challenging period in the 3DS / Wii U era, the company’s brand is undoubtedly back on a high as it is easily recognized and popular.
Of course, Nintendo should not take this for granted, it will have to gain ongoing momentum.
For many of us, the Switch is an aging but charming entity, but that’s not quite how it is perceived in the wider world. It may seem unlikely to us that millions of people will still buy the Switch – essentially in its original form – by the end of 2021, but that is the case. Where Switch and Nintendo’s hardware business will be in 12 months, though, is anyone’s guess.
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