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Switch, a success in a year and forever

Nintendo Switch: the balance sheet

03/06/2018

It is official: Nintendo Switch console has just passed of  million units sold in France. A beautiful present for the one who has just celebrated the first anniversary. But it is not the only one. With about 15 million sales in the world on December 31st, 2017, Switch knows a phenomenal success. Better, it runs up the time. The record sales of Wii on the same lapse of time have already been exceeded in the United States, France and Germany. In Japan, it does even better than Playstation 2. Can Sony best-seller selling more than 157 million copies in the world begin to tremble? It is still too early to say. Nevertheless, Switch leaves on exceptional bases to the point that Nintendo’s boss, Tatsumi Kimishima hopes to sell not less than 20 million consoles for the fiscal year 2018/2019. A figure goes far beyond the initial expectations of the manufacturer.

Nintendo has had a close shave

This ambition can amaze when we remember Nintendo’s situation a few years ago. Switch is Wii U’s successor which is a commercial failure. The fault partially in a dark concept or in any case badly explained, none believes that the mablette (the famous lever endowed with a screen) was a full console. If the concept of asymmetric gameplay allowed by the presence of two screens (one of the television and the other of the mablette) was innovative, it is never really exploited in its just value. As often being with Nintendo’s the latest hardwares, Wii U was founded by the third publishers shrivelled by a too low fleet. Furthermore, it suffered from technical capacities limited in comparison with the competition. Developers were not thus inclined to make the effort to adapt the successes of the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 on Wii U. The prestige and the quality of Nintendo titles like Mario Kart 8 or New Super Mario Bros U were not enough to compensate for a very thin game library.

Expectations around the fact that we indicated originally with Nintendo NX nickname were then immense. How was Nintendo going to turn the dark page of Wii U? Did the firm of Kyoto (finally, we would be tempted to say) join the technological race involved in Sony and Microsoft for more than a decade? Or would it continue to show its  difference? If yes, how?

Nomad and home-body

The speculations made good progress on the shape and the technical specificities of the console, fed with leakage, rumors, and brainwashing. Nintendo partially put an end to it with the distribution of a display trailer on October 20th, 2017. The one that we had to call now Switch was a hybrid console in reality. This time, the concept is clear: Switch is one mobile with which we play or we want. At the house, we can install it in a dock to resume its part in front of the television. No doubt, Nintendo has learnt from its errors.

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Beyond the communication, Switch is in sync with his time. Opt for the nomad when the mobile gaming is to exceed that of consoles: it is Nintendo’s stroke of genius. Switch brings a breath of freedom with its ubiquitous video game concept which we can summarize by the formula: "let’s play where you want, when you want". Where the competition put on the power, Switch opts for the versatility and the simplicity with an accessible interface. Some people blame it moreover for not offering the applications lambdas (as Netflix) that we find in any tablet worthy of the name. What for? Nintendo decided not to scatter and concentrate its efforts, at least at first, on the game.

Games for all the tastes

This is evidenced by its game library. After its release, it is equipped with a quality title Zelda Breath of the Wild, initially planned for only Wii U. "Quality" is a soft euphemism. The new adventures of Link are unanimously critically acclaimed and the community of players and the players. It is a standard game which makes history of its media by revolutionizing in particular the concept of open world and offering numerous interactions with the decoration elements. A sign which does not deceive in its success: the game produces videos’ quantity on YouTube in which gamers announce their discoveries or their wanderings in Hyrule’s world. Very fast, Zelda Breath of the wild becomes one "system to saddle": it is the game which is necessary to play and equip itself with Switch.

But it is not the only one. Nintendo planned a crazy timetable for the debuts of the newborn child with the release of the main headline per month. On the side of permanent values like Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or Splatoon 2, represent new licenses such as Arms or crossings improbable as Mario + Moronic Rabbits: Kingdom Battle. They are for the most part of the quality games, even the masterpieces. The public does not make a mistake: the number of these titles appears in the classifications of the sales by the end of year. (les classements des ventes de fin d’année.)

That's not all. The third publishers play the game and adapt their titles such as NBA2K18, FIFA 18 or even Skyrim and Doom. But it is especially in the field of the independent games which the console binds. With users' fleet which does not stop growing, the easily accessible architecture Tegra for programmers and format tablet adapted, Switch became the new Eldorado of the independent developers. Result: a fervent rhythm of exits to such a point that it is difficult to follow the current events of the subject. But the success is there: Neither Zelda nor Mario was on the top podium of the downloads 2017 but Minecraft, Stardew Valley and Rocket League.

The nearest future with cardboard

In the face of such a success, the risk for Nintendo would be paid less attention to the protection. Yet, after the storm in 2017, the peace reigns at this beginning of the year 2018. Worse: there is no indication on the horizon of major titles. Such a hare would Switch have too quickly left at the risk of running out of breath? Not at all! Having amazed gamers of all kinds, Nintendo showed the openness with in sights a public who are dear to him: the family. It is the objective pursued by Nintendo Labo. This educational and playful project promises to introduce the smallest to the functioning of the new technologies by the intervention of cardboard accessories with parents’ help. This lab of a new kind is the opportunity to exploit certain specificities of the console which were not really put forward yet as the motion recognition of the joy-idiots or even the vibrations in high definition. Thanks to this skillful mixture of high tech and low tech, the cardboard constructions come to life or can serve as original controllers as a fishing rod or a combination of robot. What to amuse the young and the old.

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After all, the new recovery of Switch could come from  which we do not wait for it. In fact, it seems to have the potential of a machine to make everything and it is not excluded that do-it-yourselfers create new possibilities. Therefore, a hacker has recently managed to install Linux on the console, what opens maybe the door towards a more multimedia orientation. In the same style of idea, a bluetooth adapter has just been marketed in the United States. It allows to connect other levers such as Dualshocks 4 of Playstation 4.

 
Last but not least: by the end of 2017, a security consultant detected in the console code of which to run of the virtual reality. A piece of news which was only consolidating Tatsumi Kimishima’s decleations, interested in this technology and even though an Internet user has already managed to transform Switch into VR headset (un internaute a déjà réussi à transformer la Switch en casque VR).

Article written by Thierry Randretsa

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