Under two weeks away from the release of the Switch, there is a lot of speculation going around as to how it is going to do. Early reviews of it have been promising. I think the Switch can be how Nintendo rises out of the ashes in terms of its consoles, as they have not been popular ever since the Wii came out. And considering how the Wii U was a failure- both in terms of lack of games and in console sales- Nintendo really needs the Switch to be revolutionary. Console gaming moved towards the Playstation and XBox, simply because those offered better technology and for the most part, better games. However, by bucking the trends set by Sony and Microsoft, and keeping true to their past to make their future better, Nintendo can make themselves important again in terms of console gaming. Here’s how:
Consistently release games. I have a Wii U, and while it’s a pretty nice piece of technology, there’s nothing to play for it. Sure you have your Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros, but otherwise, there’s very little. Super Mario 3D World was a nice title, and there are some virtual console games I play, but there is not one game that would warrant buying a Wii U just to play it. If Nintendo can produce games- and I think they will based on what we’ve seen so far from them- the Switch will be successful because there will be too much for people not to play. This begins with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The game looks great, and hopefully will live up to the hype. Should Nintendo consistently release games like that, the Switch will be something that people pick up.
Don’t delay releases. I pre-ordered Breath of the Wild months ago, when it still had a Fall 2016 release. Even before then it was delayed a few times, and it would go on to be delayed further, now aiming for a March 3 release. Nintendo has to set realistic goals for themselves with releases, meaning if something isn’t ready or they know it won’t be ready in time, they shouldn’t say it will release only to have them push it back multiple times. I do understand that things come up during production, but this trend is way too consistent, and if Nintendo ever wants get some of their popularity back, they need to stick to a release schedule.
Translate mobile success into console success. In recent months, Nintendo reached a much larger audience than previous by releasing Pokemon: Go and Super Mario Run on the mobile platform. While they are watered down versions of the games we know and love, they captivated many people who maybe hadn’t played them. I’m not saying Nintendo should make these games for consoles, but they should find a way to motivate mobile gamers into buying the Switch. I’m not sure how exactly they could do this, but offering special characters, DLC, etc., would be a good start. It also helps that the Switch is designed as a hybrid mobile/console system, so Nintendo should be doing everything in its power to combine that mobile success with the Switch’s innovative design.
Give the fans what they want. It may sound like a no-brainer, but fan service is the easiest way to get back to the top. Look at Rogue One. Was it a good enough movie without the last five minutes? Sure, definitely worth the price of a ticket. But slap that last Darth Vader scene in there and you have an iconic moment, one that the fans would do anything to see, and now all of a sudden Rogue One is more than just a silly spin-off; its the iconic Darth Vader moment we did not get in the prequel trilogy. Nintendo should look into fan service, and early reports indicate that they have in at least one respect- bringing Gamecube titles to the virtual console. Realistically, I would play my Gamecube all day long if I didn’t have anything better to do. We already know that virtual console won’t be available upon release, so I’m hoping that they’re saving it to make it flawless when it finally does come out.
Be themselves. If I wanted to play Call of Duty or something like that, I’d buy it for my PS4. What Nintendo needs to do is rediscover why they were popular in the first place- fun. I can’t speak for others, but when I think of Nintendo, I get this nostalgic feeling of pure fun. Staying up until all hours of the night playing Gamecube or Gameboy games was a regular habit, especially when it was for a new game with the characters I grew up loving. All their games have a good sense of humor to go along with the adventure, so what Nintendo has to do is find those roots to introduce to a new generation and help the older crowd (relatively speaking) want to play their games again.