The Nintendo Switch is 3 years old at this point, and now that we're about half-way through its life according to Nintendo, I'd like to talk about some of the things Nintendo has learned from both its contemporaries with the Nintendo Switch. That being, Sony Interactive Entertainment, and Microsoft Corporation. We're not going to be talking about online multiplayer though because... well, NSO is still a work in progress to put it lightly.
1.) Better communication with developers - One of the biggest problems regarding the Wii U's development was that Nintendo didn't communicate with anybody when developing the console. Not just with third party developers, but their own first party teams were kept in the dark about the system as well. What resulted, was a bloated, dated, and convoluted system who's main selling point was barely utilized by most developers due to this lack of open communication to the software teams and third party partners. Post-launch wasn't much better, as third party developers had to be stuck with un-translated documentation, a slow, aging CPU, and an incompetent third party relations team.
With Nintendo Switch, Nintendo has taken a different approach. From the moment the console began development in earnest, Nintendo reached out its internal software teams, external subsidiaries/second parties, and third party publishers asking what a console handheld hybrid would need to work. This resulted in a far more modern system that's not only easier to develop for, but also has a much more focused vision than the bloated mess the Wii U was. Many of the Switch's specs and features were actually requested by developers. Capcom for instance, asked for 4GB of Ram instead of the planned 2 GB because they wanted to run the RE engine on it, Nintendo added it without hesitation. The method of which the Switch was developed is much more in line with how Sony developed the PlayStation 4 and 5.
2.) Going with a PC-based Tegra X1 - Rather than use aging PowerPC hardware or a Latte GPGPU, Nintendo instead approached Nvidia to supply its Tegra X1 processor for the Switch. This gave Nintendo access to both Nvidia's development tools, as well as an SoC based on Nvidia's PC graphics hardware. While it's based on the ARM architecture, it means that development for the Switch is virtually identical to that of the also PC-based PS4 and Xbox One, which means even with sacrifices, porting to Switch is way easier than any Nintendo system before it. This, combined with strong sales, means developers are more enthusiastic about the Switch than they ever were with the Wii U.
Some may have liked more power, but there's no denying that the Switch is an impressive piece of engineering.
3.) More proactive third party relations - Nintendo's approach to third party support in the past was that of a distant supervisor. Third parties were free to come to Nintendo if they want, but Nintendo normally wouldn't be actively asking you to bring your games to their platforms. Nintendo has always relied on its own first party titles to drive the install base of their systems, and while that's still true with the Switch, they've also taken a page from Sony and Microsoft's playbook, and have been more willing to go out and approach developers to bring their games to the system as well. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Rocket League were both requested by Nintendo themselves prior to the system's launch, as was Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age, which was personally requested by the late Satoru Iwata. Not only that, but Nintendo is now also striking exclusivity and marketing deals with developers and publishers as well. Many indie games launched first on Nintendo Switch as timed exclusives, and these days, it's not uncommon to see Nintendo promoting third party titles alongside their first party games in Switch marketing.
As a result, third party support and third party software sales have been the best Nintendo's had in years. While it's not likely to get every single release, you can more easily find big third party names on the Switch at this point in its life, than you could on the Wii U.
4.) More varied first party lineup - For better or worse, Nintendo's always been known as the "family oriented" one of the big three. While its biggest stars are indeed that, consoles like the GameCube and Wii U often went too far in that direction. With seemingly nothing but cute 2D Platformers and mascot characters, and not enough other types of games. But the Switch is a lot more balanced to appeal to all ages, and is much closer to the first party lineup of PlayStation than the Wii U was. Sure, all your usual Nintendo stars are here, but there's also fresh faces like ARMS, and Ring Fit Adventure. Unique, un-Nintendo games like Astral Chain and Metroid Prime 4 (coming soon). Even surprise returns of casual series like Clubhouse Games, and complete curveballs like the upcoming Famicom Detective Club remakes. No longer is it mostly just Casual games and mascot platformers like the Wii U, there's at least something for everyone to enjoy on the Switch.
5.) More global focus - Nintendo in the Wii U days, always seemed like it was purely a Japanese focused company with little interest in reaching out to western partners. The Wii U really felt like a console that was primarily made for the Japanese market, and even they didn't want it. But the Switch managed to strike a very even balance of western and eastern sensibilities. It's got the portability, and quirky colors to appeal to Japanese gamers, while western gamers can appreciate things like the Pro Controller and Album features. It's easy and cheap enough for Japanese studios to develop for, but its also familiar and easy to port to for western developers. The Switch feels like collaborative effort between the Kyoto, and Redmond parts of Nintendo, creating a console both sides can enjoy.