We are one week into the Nintendo Switch era and popular feedback so far appears to be positive. There were issues with the joycons connecting (I’m not sure of the details admittedly because I had just read the headline, but it’s an issue nonetheless) and 1-2 Switch is widely considered an overpriced tech demo but that doesn’t seem to be fueling a ton of negative backlash so far. Things weren’t perfect, but Nintendo is saying sales are strong and there is a buzz and sense of excitement around the Switch that I haven’t seen in a while. I think that’s important.
When the Wii U launched I didn’t get a sense that people cared about it and I don’t remember seeing any advertising for it. In fairness I may have missed the advertising, but I don’t think it is unfair to say there was no excitement around it. With the Switch there are advertisements everywhere and some mainstream traction. I listen to a local sports radio show here and the hosts were even talking some about the Switch and how they aren’t traditional gamers but want to pick one up. That’s the type of reaction Nintendo needs from the general public for the Switch to be successful.
And I haven’t even mentioned Zelda: Breath of the Wild yet. This seems to be the consensus system seller, and quite frankly it needed to be. The rest of the launch lineup was fairly weak and Nintendo needed something to point to and say “if you like video games, you owe it to yourself to play this game.” Sure it’s on the Wii U, but seeing as the Wii U only sold 13 million (ish) units it’s a safe bet the Switch will end up selling more copies of Zelda when all is said and done. I haven’t been interested in Zelda in over a decade, but with what Nintendo has done, or perhaps I should say with what they appear to have done, with Breath of the Wild, I absolutely will need to play this game at some point. Probably sooner than later too.
Ultimately I probably won’t pick up a Switch until the price drops, but I am definitely keeping an eye on all things Switch as in my mind it has the potential to be the ultimate Nintendo console. If the Switch ends up getting the types of games that made their way to Nintendo’s previous handhelds, along with console releases like Breath of the Wild, indie support (which reports and are saying they are), and access to Nintendo’s back catalogue through Virtual Console support we could be talking about an all time great system here. It’s still early but I’m excited about the initial response to the Switch and what it could mean long term for the hybrid console. The gaming market is a better place when Nintendo is a meaningful player, so here’s hoping this strong first week is a sign of things to come for the Nintendo Switch.