<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Nintendo has been sitting in Sony and Microsoft’s shadow for some time now. After the breakout success of the Wii, the company took a spectacular tumble in terms of popularity when the gears shifted to the Wii U. Learning from the Wii U’s mistakes, Nintendo’s newest creation, the Switch, has been doing remarkably well so far. But what does the future hold for the hybrid? That’s a question that should be answered in a few weeks at E3.</span>
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The Electronic Entertainment Expo is the biggest annual gaming convention in terms of press coverage. It has become synonymous with major announcements and surprises from developers and hardware manufacturers. Generally, publishers make announcements throughout the year, but E3 week is the single week when gaming enthusiasts everywhere turn their attention to one specific location. That’s why it’s always such an important event for the companies that partake in it. For Nintendo, this year is especially important.
With the Switch almost three months old, it’s beginning to settle down as Nintendo’s primary platform. But what’s so interesting about the system is not just its incredibly unique design, but also the situation surrounding it. It’s the successor to Nintendo’s least-popular home system, and it has also launched at the height of the lifetimes of rival platforms.
Not only that, but these other systems have just been supercharged by means of a move we’ve never seen before: mid-generation upgrades. Microsoft will be pulling the veil back on its turbo Xbox One, the Project Scorpio, at E3. While Sony already has its own premium system on the market, being the leading platform gives it the natural advantage of having the largest presence at the show. Basically, the point is that Nintendo has its work cut out for it this year.
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Many expected the company to drop the bomb at last year’s E3 with a proper reveal of the Switch at the big convention. But, Nintendo made a very ‘Nintendo-like’ decision and instead opted to perform that reveal by means of a simple trailer upload on YouTube at the end of October. No specific event, or even exact logical reason: it just sort of </span><i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>happened</span></i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>. Regardless, the company’s advertising efforts have obviously been spot-on because the system can’t stay on shelves to this day. The question is—how long will that continue to be the case?</span>
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<h3 style=”text-align: center;”><strong><span style=”color: #ff0000;”><em>The Switch is doing well, but it has some tough competition to take on.</em></span></strong></h3>
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>The Switch is enjoying the usual levels of hype associated with most new systems, but the real challenge comes </span><i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>after </span></i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>that hyped has cooled off and the ‘honeymoon period’ is over. What really matters is if the system will be seen as a true contender against PS4 and Xbox One, or if it will ultimately end up like the Wii U and be cared for almost entirely by just the core Nintendo fanbase. Due to the release of the Pro and Scorpio, the PS4 and Xbox One have basically gotten a life extension. On top of that, they’re also more powerful than the Switch </span><i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>and </span></i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>have solid partnerships with third-party developers. And of course, there’s also the fact that the combined install bases of those platforms are somewhere in the realm of 90+ million units worldwide. In short, the Switch has </span><i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>a lot </span></i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>of ground to cover, and Nintendo needs to </span><i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>prove </span></i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>that its system is capable of taking on that challenge.</span>
Because the Switch is still young, its future is still a mystery. It’s still far too early to properly determine what direction it will end up going in. At this year’s E3, Nintendo needs to give us that outlook: what should we be expecting from the Switch a year from now and beyond? Most systems are announced at or before E3 and then talked about more during the event. The Switch is already in 3 million households. Nintendo already has an install base that it needs to cater to. On top of that, the company also has to convince new consumers to think about picking up the Switch instead of a new Pro or Scorpio.
All of this is easier said than done. With the shortcomings of the Wii U still fresh in everyone’s mind, Nintendo has to emphasize that the Switch is indeed a better system. It has to emphasize that this system will have a solid future. Even if the Switch can’t match the competing platforms feature-for-feature, it should still be seen as a decent alternative. ‘Is the third-party support going to truly be better this time around?’ ‘Is the upcoming paid online service going to be as good as the others?’ ‘What should we expect to see next year?’ It’s questions such as those people will be asking prior to the Nintendo’s E3 2017 Direct next month.
Ultimately, the company’s primary objective is to establish the Switch as a true part of the console industry; an entry that should be taken seriously by developers and the community. Can the Big N do it? We’ll find out on June 13th.
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<h3 style=”text-align: center;”><strong><span style=”color: #ff0000;”><em>Nintendo needs to do nothing short of dropping some serious bombs at this year’s E3.</em></span></strong></h3>