North Texas Daily

Nintendo’s unique position in industry

Nintendo’s unique position in industry

Nintendo’s unique position in industry
July 21
14:25 2020

Nintendo is one company whose name supersedes all other brands within the industry, yet it’s an industry whose trends aren’t often found within the company’s current state. The Switch is perhaps the most impressive console to date, considering its congruent hold on both home and mobile gaming. No other company has an active player base in the dedicated mobile gaming market, while also managing to minimize the parity in performance or visuals to that of current-gen.

The choice to release new hardware separate from Sony and Microsoft has always been a smart choice, as their tech has always been considerably lower end by comparison. But Nintendo’s insistence on innovation over power (along with a legacy of iconic characters) has insulated its own constant cycle of hardcore fans to ensure at least moderate sales and general buzz in terms of what has come before and what comes next.

Amidst all the news leaked weekly concerning the parity of the PS5 and Xbox Series X and all that entails, many seem to have forgotten about the historical company in some way or another. It’s been three years since the release of the Switch, though Nintendo opted for a stripped-down and cheaper variant that was released last holiday. Removing the ability to cast to your TV and disconnect your joy-cons was risky, but it might shed some light on their future with the console and what is to follow.

Shifting the “Switch Lite” into a more mobile-specific line and premiering something completely new would be a love letter to fans, though this is unlikely. A second generation of the Switch in some capacity seems most likely, as they’ve presumably found comfort in the sales of this console compared to its predecessor — the Wii U capped out at around 13 million lifetime sales, which is abysmal.

Then again, Nintendo’s success has always strayed from the status quo and a reliance on legacy IP, and they’ve found success there before. Their success going forward will have largely to do with their first-party offerings and which route they take with the next console, with respect to Sony and Microsoft’s offerings. It is worth mentioning that Nintendo hasn’t made any sort of announcement with regards to the next console, rather this is an analysis based on good faith in knowing Nintendo’s success in the Switch will likely lead to another console.

It also should be noted that some of Nintendo’s moves on the software side of things include an Xbox app for Switch, albeit in an extremely limited capacity, alongside cross-play between Xbox and Switch players on Minecraft. This could be a stretch, but to see Nintendo titles on Xbox in some capacity and vice versa could be lucrative, though this is pure speculation with just a dash of transparent hope for the world, of course.

There is one legitimate concern, based on how Nintendo plans to roll the next console out, more specifically its name. Nintendo’s 2012 console, dubbed the Wii U, was named so as a cheap attempt to cash in on the success around the Wii. Naturally, more than a few people were confused as to whether it was an add-on or an entirely new experience. Similarly, the 3DS was a nightmare. First, there was the 3DS, which was in and of itself an upgraded variant of the DS. Following that, along came Nintendo’s 3DS XL, which boasted a bigger screen. The 2DS came out as a stripped-down and affordable console, which lacked the clamshell design and 3D gimmick. Nintendo outdid themselves again by re-releasing the 2DS in a clamshell design, not long before they released the “New 3DS XL.” Yes, that was its actual name. With slightly boosted internals and an added second thumbstick of sorts, this capped off the line. Keep in mind all of these play 3DS games, but the extreme level of segmentation Nintendo has historically provided fans can be extremely overwhelming.

The point is Nintendo’s next foray into the gaming market should avoid too much association with the previous generation. This might put it at odds, should they opt for my route in reserving the Switch Lite to the mobile side of things and releasing a more impressively spec’d home console. It could be very beneficial, however, as they could effectively have two competitively priced and well-performing consoles like the good old days, operating on two different fronts, likely getting money for both from the hardcore fan base of Nintendo.

Featured Illustration: Ali Jones

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Zachary Helms

Zachary Helms

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