Nintendo Switch (Switch) || 2017-present


Development

Intro

The Nintendo Switch is the 7th major video game console developed by Nintendo. Known in development as the "NX", the Switch was released in 2017. Despite being considered a "hybrid" console, the Switch is primarily designed as a home console where the main unit is inserted onto a docking station that connects to a TV. Alternatively, the main unit could be removed from the dock and be used similarly to a tablet computer through its LCD touchscreen or placed in a standalone tabletop mode. The Switch was and still is the main Nintendo console today and is a major factor in the rise of Nintendo again.

A New Way to Play

Ever since the launch of the Wii U, Nintendo had declining revenues. Over time, the company attributed these weak hardware sales to the rise of mobile gaming. Previously, mobile gaming was something the company would've never considered as authorities believed that by creating mobile games Nintendo would lose its identity. However, over time, Nintendo slowly created new business models to revitalize their spot in the industry- these models included incorporating mobile gaming. In the initial conception for the Switch, designers stated that they didn't just want a successor to the Wii U, but rather a new experience altogether. They believed that a new way to play was to provide gamers the option to play at home or on the go and that this would allow game devs to create new types of games. This design also trickled down to the controllers, where engineers wanted to create controllers that were small enough to be portable. The ultimate goal of the Switch was to be a device that could play leisurely, casual games while also being able to play games that would need to be played deeply. This was an attempt to bridge a polarization of gaming. The Switch's design was also a way to incorporate many cultures; in Japan, sitting down to game with friends was an integral part of social interaction whereas in the West, people want things that are on the game due to busier schedules. The Switch was given its name for this philosophy of being able to switch around and accommodate gamers of widely different backgrounds as well as the dynamic design of the system. The system also continued Nintendo's blue ocean approach by targetting more casual gamers including the competitive side this time.

Technical Specifications
CPU Octa-core CPU @1.020 GHz
Memory 4 gigabytes
Storage Up to 32 gigabytes
Interesting Designs Combined the idea of home console gaming and mobile gaming.
Units Sold 14.86 million

A Console that Can do Everything

The focus of the Switch was adaptability, and this showed in the hardware. The main unit of the Switch is the console, which is a battery-powered tablet-like monitor. This unit would comprise of an LCD screen that supports multi-touch and haptic technology. The LCD screen could support HD resolutions and also has audio jacks, stereo speakers, USB-C ports and a kickstand. The console would also support many features technology smartphones had like being able to adjust screen brightness. All of these new design features made the Switch something that could be played anywhere. This design was also seen the controllers, called Joy-Cons. The Switch's Joy-Cons were individually called "Joy-Con L" and "Joy-Con R" and are attached to the Switch via a locking mechanism. These controllers are designed small enough for transport and can be used in many ways like the main unit. The Joy-Cons could either be detached to be combined into a single traditional controller, attached to a grip that emulates the GamePad form factor, or used as separate controllers by two individual players. Each Joy-Con would have usual controller buttons including sensors like the Wii Remote. The controller also included haptic feedback, which led to the development of "HD Rumble" which generates fine tactile feedback. All of these design features made the Switch a console that could be played any way and anywhere.

Focus on the Games

Improving on the Wii U's issues, the Switch also went back to Nintendo's roots. The console mainly focused on bringing a consistent stream of solid games instead of having many various features. Nintendo did this because they believed that their goal first and foremost was bringing good games. Online services were improved, including having lobby services, voice chat as well as stronger online multiplayer and eShops. The Switch also offers integration with third-party social networking services and also for better friends lists. Third party support was also increased drastically. Nintendo started to reach out to indie developers and Nintendo also developed an effective system to have games be approved and developed for game developers. Nintendo anticipated having at least 60 indie games for the Switch through 2017, but the number ended upto over 320 titles because of popularity. Since the Switch was also primarily a gaming console, it would lead to increased promotion of videogames which drew in developers. Many people saw that Nintendo lowered the barrier for development compared to the Wii days. Instead of having developers build games catered towards the Wii technology, Nintendo started to look towards universal game engines and graphical APIs for the Switch. Development kits were released and Nintendo adapted to the environment of having easily compatible software. Developers noted how out of all the Nintendo consoles, the Swithc was the "least demanding."


History/Impact

Shaky Launch

Upon the Switch's launch, even though games were in development there were criticsms launched at the console's limited library. In addition, the Switch was underwhelming because a lot of the launch titles did not show off the full extent of the console's abilities. Reviewers also noted that the initial software and features were limited and found many software bugs. Though these bugs were fixed with time, many early reports of hardware and software problems marred the experience of the system.

The Big N is Back

Despite the shaky launch, the Switch was an immense success. The console was the fastest selling console in Nintendo's history, and has since sold more than the Wii U in a year than the Wii U's whole lifespan. The Switch saw a huge amount of sales, so much that there wasn't enough supply to meet demand for a long time. The Switch also saw a high attachment rate, since the AAA titles like Zelda being sold with it sold nearly as many copies as the actual system. Over the first year since launch, groups had noted that the Switch had sold more units during the first year of availability than any other console platform. Many videogame companies including Sony and Microsoft, congratulated Nintendo on the success. With the Switch, Nintendo's revenues saw a huge boost, and the company earned some of the highest revenues since 2009. The Switch was a huge success and is still being pushed strongly by the company. After struggling for several years with the Wii U, the Switch was a return to form for the Big N.


Games

Last Console: Wii U