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Forums - Nintendo Discussion - Can we talk about how well calculated the Switch's first year was?

2017 was a massive year for Nintendo. After years of languishing behind with a failing Wii U and an aging Nintendo 3DS, the Big N made a massive comeback that very few saw coming with the release of the Nintendo Switch. The Switch exploded on to the scene on March 3rd launching with the long delayed The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which eventually won 2017 Game of the Year, and following it was a steady stream of other hit titles like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, Splatoon 2, Fire Emblem Warriors, Super Mario Odyssey, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2.

I think what doesn't get talked about enough though, was how well calculated Nintendo went about planning the Switch's debut year in terms of establishing what the Switch is and demonstrating its versitile appeal to developers and consumers. If you pay attention to each of Nintendo's own first party releases in 2017, you'll recognize that each game or pair of games were made to showcase a different use of the Switch's tech.

  • BotW and XBC2 showed how the Switch can make big AAA console experiences enjoyable on the go
  • 1-2 Switch showcased the features of the Joy-Con Controllers
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Snipperclips showcased Tabletop mode and the Joy-Con's out of the box 2-player support
  • Snipperclips also demonstrated how easy the Switch was to develop for
  • ARMS and Mario Odyssey show how the Joy-Con's motion controls and HD Rumble can be used in more traditional style games (while also supporting button controls)
  • Splatoon 2 showed the system's Local Wireless functionality

Almost all of Nintendo's releases for Switch that year were deliberately designed to show both consumers and third party developers what you can do with the Switch hardware. This had been Nintendo's playbook for attracting third parties to their hardware in the past, such as the Nintendo DS only taking off once it got Nintendogs, Mario Kart DS, and Brain Age, or the Wii being bundled with Wii Sports. But the Switch was arguably the best execution of that concept. Especially since third party support for the Switch was initially rather lukewarm. Understandably so coming off the Wii U flop and less-than-expected 3DS sales. But Nintendo also smartly leveraged the support they had at the time to give the Switch a unique appeal from other consoles. Securing big games like Rocket League and Minecraft. Ports of games like Skyrim and Doom 2016, exclusives like Octopath Traveler, and multi-platform AA titles like Puyo Puyo Tetris.

Considering how the Switch is now Nintendo's second best selling game platform of all time and how it managed to have some of the best third party support a Nintendo system has had in years, It's safe to say the gamble paid off.

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Not to mention at least one major release almost every month.

March: Zelda
April: Mario Kart
May: N/A
June: Arms
July: Splatoon 2
August: Mario + Rabbids
September: Pokken Tournament
October: Mario Odyssey
November: Doom (I know it was old, but this was the first "impossible port")
December: Xenoblade 2.

However, I think Splatoon 2 was to show the systems online capabilities, not local wireless functionality.

Doctor_MG said:

However, I think Splatoon 2 was to show the systems online capabilities, not local wireless functionality.

A lot of the initial promo material for Splatoon 2 focused on local wireless play and less on online. I also heard the whole reason Salmon Run exists was because the devs wanted a mode suitable for local multiplayer that didn't require 8 Switches.

It was legendary indeed

I knew I needed a Switch after a couple of months of it in the market. Having a blast ever since 

It was great, but after 2015 and 2016, it HAD to be.

Love and tolerate.

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There were some that argued essentially that the first year was actually too good.  They said that Switch had fired all of its big guns early on, and that Switch sales were going to fall off a cliff.  These people were of course, dead wrong, but it didn't stop them from making the argument nonetheless.

I bought it for Xenoblade 2. 150 physical games and 6 years later. I guess I got a couple other things for it.

Bite my shiny metal cockpit!

The 6 month stretch between September 20, 2019 & March 20, 2020 was also pretty nuts and very targeted towards handheld gamers.

Nintendo Switch Lite (handheld only model)

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (while 2D Zelda started on consoles, it has mostly been a handheld series since 3D Zelda started)

Dragon Quest XI S (one of the biggest 3rd party franchises in handheld-centric Japan)

Ring Fit Adventure

Luigi’s Mansion 3 (series started on consoles but had a major breakout on 3DS)

Pokémon Sword/Shield (undisputed king of handheld franchises)

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (no 2 handheld franchise)

With the exception of Ring Fit, late 2019/early 2020 was very focused on getting handheld gamers to migrate to Switch.

When the herd loses its way, the shepard must kill the bull that leads them astray.

I hadn't even touched the Xenoblade series before the sequel released on Switch. It's first trailer already putting in awe of the magnificent landscapes that were almost unimaginably gorgeous for something on Nintendo.
Of course, ai stayed for the other aspects.

But yeah, appart from the fact some of the line up in hindsight is more a 50/50 to my liking, it definitely got up to one of the best start for any console in the history of the industry !

Switch Friend Code : 3905-6122-2909 

IcaroRibeiro said:

It was legendary indeed

I knew I needed a Switch after a couple of months of it in the market. Having a blast ever since 

It was the BotW trailer that did it for me.  I was on the fence but I saw that trailer and wanted the best possible hardware for it.  I pre-ordered the Switch and BotW within minutes of watching the trailer.  Then I watched the trailer again.