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Forums - Gaming Discussion - Nintendo's success with the Switch both a blessing and a curse?

After the Wii-U bombed it's amazing that Nintendo was able to come back so hard with the Switch. It probably could have beaten the ps4 this gen if it was launched at the same time as the ps4/Xone. The problem, however, is that next gen is just around the corner. Meaning the specs of the Switch will be even more dated next year and I wonder what kind of impact that will have on its sales and support from 3rd party developers. Nintendo could launch a more powerful next gen Switch, of course, but it will probably take a couple of years before they would be able to get next gen like hardware into a handheld device. 

So what you guys think. Will the Switch still sell like hotcakes when the next gen starts. And if not, should they continue down the path of a handheld device, even though they could only launch it halfway through the ps5/ Scarlett's life cycle?


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I wouldn't worry about the Switch at all in 2020.  I believe very much that it will be the #1 selling system again for the next year.  Next gen consoles typically take a year or two to start selling at a rapid pace.  There is also budget to take into consideration.  These new consoles are likely to cost $400-$500 and for that kind of money you can buy a PS4/Xbox 1/Switch with several games and many will still do that for a couple years.

Nintendo has never had to rely on 3rd party support to sell their systems.  Sony/Microsoft heavy reliance on 3rd party games is a detriment IMO as it does not create brand loyalty.  You can see that with the last few generations (Xbox 360 being "more popular" than the PS3, the PS4 being "more popular" than the Xbox 1) and Nintendo has never really suffered that (the Wii U was just a major misstep as a whole and had nothing to do with 3rd party support).

Nintendo with the Switch:

Yes, but I was not thinking in terms of the situation you bring up.

That's not true that they have to wait years to upgrade the Switch. The Switch uses the CPU core that premiered in the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, 5 years ago, so putting in any modern ARM core next year would get you 3-4x CPU performance in the same power budget. As for the GPU, sure, they might only be able to double the number of GPU cores (easy enough from 20nm to 7nm) because of thermal limits, but they can do what Apple did with the iPad Pro and give it a 4x memory bus width (Switch uses a minuscule 32-bit bus, while the iPad pro and laptop GTX 1650 / mobile RX 5500 use a 128-bit bus). Combine that with faster memory like LPDDR5 and they could have up to 8x more memory bandwidth. Increase the price by $100 USD and put a current mobile chip in it. We are asking for half the CPU cores and the same memory bandwidth of any modern mobile chip, minus all the modems and neural networks and DSP (i.e. we want 1/4 the silicon of a Snapdragon 865).

The RX 5500 has 224 GB/s memory bandwidth because of GDDR6. The Switch has only 22 GB/s or so because the bus width cuts it by 1/4 and the memory is half the speed of GDDR6 also, so 1/8 to 1/10 overall.

Last edited by Alistair - on 12 December 2019

I don't get the rhetoric behind the idea that Switch will stop selling in 2020 when PS5 and Xbox 2 come out. Nintendo Switch's library of games barely overlaps with either of those two console bases. The games that have made Switch successful aren't the same games that have made Playstation and Xbox successful. Switch doesn't even have a GTA, Red Dead, Call of Duty, Madden, etc. or the 3rd party games that really push PS and XB hardware...and it's doing just fine.

As long as Nintendo's 1st party keeps pumping out new quality titles, and Japanese developers continue to support it (as it's the best selling gaming device there now, outselling the PS4 which launched 3 years before it) along with the AAA 3rd party western game here or there in addition to all the indie content it'll be fine. Nintendo found an idea that I think can be their line of consoles/hybrid that they can just continue to iterate on and that comes down to how it was executed. If the Switch's execution was terrible (essentially the Wii U) I would be worried but we're nearly 3 years into its life and I see no sign of it slowing down anytime soon.

These are the conversations we had before Switch's launch and now we're even having them after its success. I think Nintendo's got it from here. Sony and Microsoft and even Google have expressed huge interest in game streaming, if Nintendo continues to not create powerful enough hardware for all developers, streaming is an option for them. I know that for me, if Nintendo just continued to make newer and more powerful Switches with quality of life improvements then I'd buy Switch 15 if it came down to it. The benefits of the Switch having a shared library rather than splitting up development studios also can't be understated.

The way I see it is, Nintendo has never sold less than 50M consoles across their handhelds and home consoles of the generation. Even with the poor sales of the Wii U and the casual market moving from DS to Smart Devices, Nintendo still managed to sell around 88M units of hardware and I would think they would be pleased with that level of success. Xbox One was just outsold by Switch, but by no means do I think the Xbox One was a failure not worthy of a successor. It's easy to get wrapped up in this kind of talk, I mean look at me writing a book here. But Nintendo will be fine.

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Exactly what big third party games from this gen have helped the Switch become a success? Doom? The Witcher 3? Wolfenstein 2?

Don't really see it becoming less appealing when it wont be able to get next gen games. Its barely gotten any current gen games….

How is the Switch going to stop selling exactly? It has a monopoly on the portable market for a start and the games it mainly gets aren't the AAA titles that rely on high specs it mainly has first party, indies and AA titles making up its library so the situation hardly changes at all for it.

The switch has room for a few price drop that should boost sales of the system when sales do final start slowing down. Beside now Nintendo on their own sell cycle .... Switch is only on its 3rd year. Don't expect any new hardware from Nintendo for at least 2-3 years.

Tommy Jean, CPA, CGA

yvanjean said:
The switch has room for a few price drop that should boost sales of the system when sales do final start slowing down. Beside now Nintendo on their own sell cycle .... Switch is only on its 3rd year. Don't expect any new hardware from Nintendo for at least 2-3 years.

The Switch APU is so inexpensive, honestly they could release a $150 Apple TV type box with a controller. Yeah if they want to, the Switch hardware has a few more years time in it. Personally I just want something better. Not as fast is fine, but I want modern competitive mobile performance like the iPad Pro or the Snapdragon 865 without all the added fluff (no NPU, DSP, or modem).

I don't think it would have beat out the PS4 if it launched at the same time, because the hardware either wouldn't be powerful enough or the system would be too expensive.

As for next gen, I don't think the graphical gap is going to matter all that much. The gap is already pretty drastic between the PS4 Pro/One X and the Switch. If someone isn't impressed enough with that gap to not get a Switch, I don't think it's going to matter.

And if you look at the games that are selling, the top 20 or so are Nintendo games. Those games still won't be available on the competition. Since devs will probably want to support the PS4 and One a little longer, and ports of those games are mostly possible, third party support won't completely dry up.

Nintendo also will likely develop another SKU, possibly with more power. And there is still some wiggle room on price to go, and at least one system selling franchise still to launch on the Switch in Animal Crossing.

The next gen systems will of course hurt sales somewhat, because people will always want the shiny new toy. But sales should be more than enough for Nintendo to hold on another 2 years, make a ton of money, and hold them over till 2022-23 when they launch their next big thing.