The Nintendo Switch hype is nearing Half-Life 3 levels, but I still don’t believe Nintendo has received the proper credit for the
console tablet they’ve bestowed upon gaming humanity.
The Wii was a mainstream marketing mastermind (seniors were gaming!). The form factor would have made Steve Jobs proud (or pissed for ripping him off). It was underpowered (Mario Galaxy deserved HD damnit!) but it demolished the competition.
The Wii U however, was a mainstream marketing misfire. Nintendo tried to court the 100 million Wii owners while winning back the hardcore audience but failed on both accounts. The tablet felt cheap and half-baked. Portability within eye-sight of the console wasn’t useful enough. It was a misstep towards the future.
The Wii/Wii U success/failure has led to this moment. The Switch is now the ultimate evolution of their blue ocean strategy.
Nintendo went from ‘under-powered consoles’ to ‘greatest hand-held ever’ with one conference. Making gorgeous games on limited hardware didn’t make sense on the Wii U, but on a portable device? The trade-off is more than worth it, and downright genius. Seriously.
Comparing the Nintendo Switch to a PS4, XB1, or PC is now apples to oranges. Nintendo is out of the console business. They now have the greatest gaming tablet instead. A tablet that hooks up to a tv and swaps controllers as simple as 1-2-Switch! Other tablets will have more power, but they’ll never match the first-party games and ease of use.
Sure the launch lineup is thin, but having a proper Mario, evolved Zelda, deluxe Mario Kart, and Splatoon 2 within the first year will make a fabulous case for 2017 Christmas shoppers.
Critics love to count Nintendo out but they’ve revolutionized gaming yet again. Sure they stumble, but the most important creators don’t call them mistakes, they call them lessons.
Nintendo has learned plenty.