So Nintendo just took the biggest leap we’ve seen in gaming in a long time. They’ve announced their next console, the Nintendo Switch.
Now as a gamer with a moderate degree of spending power and little history with Nintendo consoles, I’m extremely interested in the potential of this project. Exactly the outcome Nintendo was hoping for.
Now I have no problem with the name “Switch” as so many others seem to. If they can make the English word for “Piss” sell over 100 million units, Switch certainly won’t hold them back.
Additionally, departing from the Wii name is a boon in itself. Plenty of people didn’t even know the Wii U was a brand new console and not some pointless addition the original Wii. Including me. I didn’t know the difference until I saw a friend’s Wii U and he explained what it was to me. Switch at least sounds different and new. Much more marketable.
Until now, I’d considered my interests well represented by my current devices. I play PC for my Strategy experiences. I play Xbox for it’s exclusives and games I like to play comfortably. And I play my assortment of Nintendo handhelds for my mobile experiences (which happen to almost always be on Pokemon games). The Switch proposes to blend my latter to experiences into one and potentially enhance the quality of each by presenting me with console quality on the go and the time investment of mobile gaming into the games I play when I get home.
This is potentially a huge selling point for me. And I can’t be alone on that. If Nintendo packages and markets this message right to people, they’ll be tapping into something massive.
Speaking of selling gamers on the Nintendo package, a big part of that is intrinsically linked to their brand and how people view Nintendo. If Nintendo wants people to embrace them with both arms, they need to make their brand more attractive and drop their hugely unpopular, backwards stance on Let’s Plays. Strangling and suppressing free advertisement from eager and influential gamers on Youtube is the complete opposite of good business sense and makes Nintendo look like a bunch of parochial dinosaurs. U-turn on that and they’ll be the quirky, experimental and exciting darling of geek culture again.
And to top it all off, as someone who’s been successfully lured by Nintendo on several occasions to buy Nintendo handhelds, they have one very simple way to get this new console to take off. All they need to do is strap a top notch, dense and innovative Pokemon game onto their horse and all they’ll have to do then is just sit and watch it go. As this summer has surely demonstrated to us all, Pokemon is a name that can command a sleeping army of passionate consumers.
That and the fact they’re bringing third party support to the table this time will serve as an anchor once this theoretical Pokemon storm has taken the Switch as far as it can. Lots of games to keep people busy while you make your exclusives is pretty damn important in this business.
As is taking risks. And Nintendo are taking a huge one. Combining their always popular mobile enterprise with their flagging home-console operation is a ballsy move, and I hope it pays off.
Nintendo have laid all the building blocks for a “Nintendo’s Back” movement to hit us. It’s up to them where they go with that.