Who is the Switch actually made for?


#1

According to October’s sales numbers from Forbes’ Ollie Barder the Switch is performing above and beyond most games press and critics’ expectations.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/olliebarder/2017/10/31/the-nintendo-switch-has-now-sold-7-63-million-units-worldwide/

This is just one of many articles covering the surprising but also exciting success of the Switch, and as a fan of the system myself I couldn’t be happier.

Since the system was announced I have pondered over exactly who the system might be designed for, and I’m starting to think that the appeal is broad enough that maybe this question doesn’t matter, but in your personal opinion who do you think the Switch was originally designed for?

When I first started using a Switch, when I had my hands on the controls and I pulled the JoyCons away from the main system and played some Tetris with a friend all I could think is, “This is a system designed to resurrect couch co-op with a generation that that is happy with just tablets and smart phones.”

I was thinking this thing was for 9-14 year olds with the intent of creating a new generation of Nintendo fans that may not have cared what their main console was, who were used to being able to play games anywhere, anytime. This system does that.

Now that I’ve had the system for awhile I realized that this was also a genius creation, and that maybe Nintendo has been tracking myself and my entire generation as we aged (The original Nintendo Maniacs who grew up neck deep in NES, SNES, Gameboy and N64), because this console is the perfect companion for parents having kids, that have to put a game down at a moments notice to deal with real life.

I could be both right? Or it could be even more. Who do you think this system is designed for and what do you like most about it?


#2

Me. A new parent who can only dream of having the time to sit down in front of a TV and play games. So I think your parents thing certainly rings true. The Switch has been an absolute dream machine for me this year.

And when we have friends over, the kids want one for sure as we play MarioKart, but the parents inevitably come away wanting one as well. Most of them don’t buy one, because as parents we have zero spare cash (mine was got using supermarket points earned over the course of two years, which got the price down to £120 which I was just about given permission to spend) but they want one. Which I have never really seen before.


#3

The simple answer is that it’s made for fans of Nintendo games. The slightly more complex answer is that it’s the first console to cater to all fans of Nintendo games. In previous generations you needed to buy two consoles (home and handheld) to experience the breadth of Nintendo software, but now you don’t. Obviously there are other aspects about the Switch that broadens it’s appeal, but the prospect of being able to play ALL Nintendo games for the next 4-6 years makes it an excellent value.

Also, I suspect many lapsed Nintendo fans (myself included) skipped the Wii U/3DS generation and are excited to hop back into the ecosystem.


#4

Same here in terms of cash. I sold off my Wii U and years of collected games that I wasn’t playing anymore to finance buying this machine. Still feeling the hole left in my life with Mario Kart missing. Hoping to get it again for Christmas as the new version looks sooooo good.


#5

Everyone who wants to buy Nintendo games.

Even the ones who had been turned off by the Wii U (which only had exciting sales numbers for the first few months of the hardware before a complete slump, with seasonal recoveries for Christmas each year - which may indicate it primarily sold as a gift rather than a personal purchase).

In Japan, Switch is top (from what I’ve seen reported). Worldwide, it seems like Nintendo are at least competitive with Sony. So this is something that’s being sold to people not as a big holiday gift but every month as a personal device for playing games.

It will be interesting to see if Nintendo continue to build pace (and eventually eclipse the PS4) or if we’re still in that period where they’re tapping into the “Nintendo fan” population (while Sony sell 150m consoles by tapping into a broader market for games - something the Wii also managed to do while showing that who we consider as a person who games had broadened) after this first couple of years on sale.


#6

A pretty solid analysis and I would have to agree. It is also telling that so many 3DS and Switch games are being ported over to the Switch, because both systems had some stand-out games, but the more that shifts over, the more those older systems become obsolete.

I am still curious to see if Nintendo leans into the Switch or if they try to run another Hand-Held only system.

Pokemon announced as going to Switch is pretty telling though, and once that game hits anyone on the fence who has grown up with Pokemon will cave. That franchise is why I owned an Advance, DS and 3DS.


#7

Seems like you and @Navster are of the same mind and your logic is sound. I am interested to see how the Switch performs year after year. It isn’t trying to be a better system the the PS4 or Xbox 1, it is intentionally trying to be different. It’s the only system I know that makes me excited to play 5-7 year old AAA games, because I can literally play them anywhere.


#8

I’d be willing to bet that in a year or two, once the cost to manufacture the Switch drops, Nintendo comes out with a “2DS” version of the Switch with stripped down features that is meant to be played primarily as a handheld. I’m thinking the design will have non-detachable controllers and retail for under $200 US to capture the kid market and get them off the 3DS platform.


#9

This makes perfect sense. Now that you’ve laid it out there and it’s in my mind I would be very surprised if a system like this isn’t in place by the time a Pokemon title comes out.


#10

It’s the ultimately accessible dedicated gaming device. It’s made for everyone (that wants to play video games), and actually manages to pull it off pretty well.

It’s a concept that other companies have tried… lots of gaming journalists have referred to it as a Vita 2.0, and it’s really similar to the NVidia Shield in concept (even shares some hardware), but with newer, smoother tech. I have a Shield, and when it works, it’s great, but like most Android/PC things, the experience is prone to breakdown for inexplicable reasons meaning you’ll spend more time troubleshooting than actually playing.

And of course, it has Nintendo’s might and hype pushing it along. Doesn’t hurt that the software has been knocking it out of the park, either. Zelda, Mario, Splatoon 2, a dozen wonderful indie ports… I’m really hard pressed to think of a better first year for any console or handheld.


#11

I see the Switch’s evolution going that way (maybe shave a fraction of an inch off the screen, shave the edges of the joycons, make them integrated, shrink the SoC process to get longer battery life also helped by no bluetooth joycons & less screen area to light) but also doing a SwitchXL for the new top model when the divide.

7" screen (hopefully 1080p) with the same die shrunk SoC for greater efficiency but slightly more battery (as the device is marginally bigger) and the option to run in base mode when portable (this is a Switch+ Boost mode). Maybe a base+ mode for games that push the SoC clock higher (die shrink = higher clocks, same thermal envelope) in the base so future games can make use of even nicer visuals when running out to a TV. I’d guess a design that maybe tapers on either side to provide the same mounting for joycons but it could go the other way and the XL comes with XL joycons for people who can’t hold those tiny thing (like me). Not sure if Nintendo would see keeping compatibility with existing slot-on accssories or offering a larger grip experience as more important (especially if the “classic” Switch was retired so it was either the smaller portable-only Switch or the XL you had to pick between in this theoretical period ~2 years from now).


#12

Even some of the 3rd party AAA games have been getting praise. I am actually excited to buy Doom for the Switch (I apologize to my PC Master race friends) and am not concerned about “Brand New” price tag attached to a game I could get off steam for $30.00 during a sale. Why? Because I will be able to play Doom anywhere, anytime, and I don’t have to sit down in front of my PC to do it.

Not everyone will share this opinion, but from some articles I have seen pop up recently, a few people do. Stuff like this will definitely keep sales numbers up too.


#13

I am having this issue with Skyrim currently. It’s an old game, I have played it before etc etc but but but I could play it whilst on the loo, or during my lunchbreak, or at 3am whilst rocking a baby. Well, that last one is a bit trickier, but you get the idea.


#14

I wonder if they’ll do that.

It makes the name of the thing totally meaningless as it can no longer switch to anything, and it creates a huge nightmare for compatibility. There are plenty of games out there that either require the joycons be removed or heavily suggest you do that, so I doubt they’ll ever make a version where they aren’t removable. At that point, the only thing you would be removing is the A/V out, and seeing as that doubles as the charger there’s almost no reason to yank that out either.

I can see Nintendo pulling a SwitchXL and eventually making this model cheaper, but I just don’t see how they can make a dumbed down version without walking straight into larger problems.


#15

I’m not saying that a redesign won’t dock at all or that it won’t be compatible with wireless controllers, just that it won’t be included in the box. Nintendo will provide a solid body console and power cord, and any additional accessories would be extra.

I’m not seeing a huge compatibility issue either, as the only game I can think of that requires detachable Joy Cons is 1-2 Switch, a game that hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. The remainder of the Switch library that I can think of either works fine or better in handheld mode.


#16

1-2 Switch and Snipperclips are the only game that absolutely need it that I know of, but there are plenty of other games where it’s highly suggested you detach them for motion purposes.

I could be wrong, and probably will be in the future, I guess I just don’t see that much savings involved in making them permanent or losing the dock. Then again, this is the same company that stopped including A/C adapters with their handhelds so anything is possible.


#17

Aren’t the icons on the back of Switch game boxes basically doing this for people already?

Detatched JoyCon controllers required means maybe it’s not ideal if you definitely want to play a Switch with a Pro Controller style (ie attached JoyCons or some theoretical lower-tier portable-first Switch).

The Snipperclips box art makes it clear that if you’ve got a Pro controller then it’s only a single-player game. And it even includes the detail that using the JoyCons detached (with Switch as screen or using a TV) requires each player have an individual JoyCon.

As Nintendo have a history of not being precious with the entire gimmick of a device (original 2DS being the most “well we’re building everything to a price so any cut is on the table”) then I can see “Switch 2Go” not including a dock and needing you to also buy a bluetooth controller (Pro or JoyCons) to work when docked (because the default controls are integrated as a cost-saving move).


#18

It’s less about savings than it’s about creating a robust design that can handle rough treatment by kids. Think of the 2DS design. Yes, it’s cheaper but it’s also rock solid when compared to the 3DS.

EDIT: I should also note that the ability to cast only one plastic body instead of three interlocking bodies reduces manufacturing costs significantly. Not to mention the ability to consolidate batteries, I/O devices, circuit boards, etc.


#19

The Switch’s versatility is fantastic for kids and adults alike. A lot of people nowadays are so busy and have so little downtime to sit down and play a dedicated hardcore console game from their living room or their PC (not all, of course, but a significant number). For these people, the Switch is a blessing. You can play it during lunch breaks, during non-driving commutes*, and anytime there’s some downtime. And yes, when you’re home, you can play it while someone else is using the TV.

I’m less concerned about the idea that older AAA games are being released vs newer more powerful games, but when you consider that the above type of gamer (busy, not that much time to dedicate to sit-down gaming), they may not have had the chance to pick up and play these games before. Now, they finally have this option. That’s amazing to me.


#20

This. Echo chambering this.